Thursday, May 5, 1864

I reply to the President:

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Chattanooga, May 5, 1864; 9 a. m.

A. LINCOLN, President of the United States, Washington, D. C.:

We have worked hard with the best talent of the country, and it is demonstrated that the railroad cannot supply the army and the people too. One or the other must quit, and the army don’t intend to, unless Joe Johnston makes us. The issues to citizens have been enormous, and the same weight of corn or oats would have saved thousands of the mules, whose carcasses now corduroy the roads, and which we need so much. We have paid back to Tennessee ten for one of provisions taken in war. I will not change my order, and I beg of you to be satisfied that the clamor is partly humbug, and for effect. To test it, I advise you to tell the bearers of the appeal to hurry to Kentucky and make up a caravan of cattle and wagons and come over the mountains by Cumberland Gap and Somerset, to relieve their suffering friends, on foot, as they used to do before a railroad was built. Tell them they have no time to lose. We can relieve all actual suffering by each company or regiment giving of their savings. Every man who is willing to fight and work gets a full ration, and all who won’t fight or work should go away, and we offer them free passage in the cars.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

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