I wrote to my wife, Ellen:
TO ELLEN EWING SHERMAN
Head-Quarters Military Division of the Mississippi, Chattanooga, Tennessee May 4, 1864
I received today the enclosed paper, which I explain in the way I did the last, these three lots were a part of that trade, and I suppose we had made a Deed to Tom, and instead of taking a deed back which would have cost some dollars to record we took this paper, the effect of which is simply Tom may have sold, or can sell these lots, but is bound to account to you for the money. Your Leavenworth agent can see whether Tom has sold them. If so he is indebted to you the proceeds of sale, but if unsold you can claim a deed from him to you for them. Tear off your note to me, and send your Irish Lawyer the part in Toms handwriting and he can either procure of Tom the Money or the Deed. I am willing to concede to you more closeness in money matters than me. An Irish Yankee is the closest sort of one but if you can get rid of your Leavenworth Estate & not call on me for Cash to pay the balance I will be content.
The Illinois Farm is hid, and I want you to lay low about it for if it were discovered that I had ever been fool enough to buy land my Credit would be gone. Yet the immense cost of this war will strip all things of value that cannot be transported abroad. This is the real reason of the increased cost of every thing for your money is only half the value of Gold, and in the south, it takes about sixteen of paper to make one. At the Same rate three more years would extinguish all values. But I have no time to talk or think of such things now.
We are now moving. Thomas’ whole army is at Ringgold; Schofield is on his left near Red Clay, and McPherson is here, and moves out tomorrow. I will go to Ringgold tomorrow and will then be within Four miles of the enemy. We may have some of the most desperate fighting of the war, but it cannot be avoided deferred or modified. I will as heretofore do my best and trust to the troops. All my dispositions thus far are good.
I have written to you and all the children. I sent Minnie & Lizzie Bouquets collected on our Battle Field of last November, and if any ill fate attend me in this, they will remember me by that. The weather is beautiful, and the Army is in fine condition. I did expect to have back more of the furloughed veterans, but it takes more time for them to assemble from their homes than we military minds calculate.
Banks too instead of being near Mobile, where he would assist me, will be cooped up at Grand Ecorse. Poor Stone is again I see the Scape Goat. It was not his fault, but the fault of our People, who will insist on such heavy trains of wagons, and not providing against danger unless seen. Had I marched that Carelessly in Mississippi I should have met the same, but the enemy saw that they could not get at me without paying for it. Banks had more men than I did, four times as much cavalry, and did not need many wagons as he was at all times near his Boats. You saw that my part of the army did its share. Indeed they seem to have been the only true part of that army. Mower is one of my young pets.
Charley has not yet reported to me. Tomorrow I will be off & may not write for some time, but the telegraph will announce the result of our first Stops. My love to the Children, & let what fate befall us, believe me always true to you & mindful of your true affection.
W. T. Sherman