Thursday, May 26, 1864

Near Dallas, Georgia

I had sent this letter to my brother before we left:

Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississippi,
Kingston, Georgia, May 22, 1864

Dear Brother,

I have daily telegraphed to General Halleck our progress, and have no doubt you have kept pace with our movement. Johnston had chosen Dalton as his place of Battle, but he had made all the Roads to it so difficult that I resolved to turn it, so I passed my army through a pass 20 miles South of Dalton and forced him to Battle at Resaca. That too was very strong, but we beat him at all points and as I had got a bridge across the Oostenaula below him and was gradually getting to his Rear he again abandoned his position on the right and I have been pushing my forces after him as fast as possible yet his knowledge of the country and the advantage of a good Railroad to his Rear enabled him to escape me, but I have now full possession of all the Rich country of the Etowah. We occupy Rome Kingston and Cassville. I have repaired the Railroads to these points and now have ordered the essential supplies forward to replenish our wagons, where I will make for Atlanta 59 miles from here, and about 50 miles from the advance.

Johnston has halted across the Etowah at a place called Allatoona where the Railroad and common Road passes through a span of the mountains making one of those formidable passes, which give an army on the defensive so much advantage but I propose to cross the Etowah here, and to go for Marietta via Dallas. Look at your map and you will see the move. We expect to cross the Etowah on the 23, when we will move straight on fighting when opposed. Of course our labors & difficulties increase as we progress, whereas our enemy gains strength by picking up his Road Guards & Detachments.

The failure of Banks doubles my labors as we counted on that Red River force partly here, & partly at Mobile, whereas the enemy now has before me all the army from that quarter. I hope Banks is now satisfied that the civil part of his office was not of more importance than the military. I repeat all efforts to form civil Governments, till all the armies of the South are beaten are absurd and actually embarrass us. They are a nuisance. Put forth the whole strength of the nation now, and if we cant whip the South, we must bow our necks in patient submission. A Division of our Territory by the old Lines is impossible. Grant surely is fighting hard enough, and I think this army will make its mark.

Your Brother,
W.T. Sherman

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