Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi
In the Field, near Marietta Georgia, June 26, 1864
Phil’s dispatch of the 11 is my last from Lancaster. I have a letter which you must have written just before the birth of our Child. I am anxious to hear more in detail. I have written but little because my thoughts & mind have been so intent on other matters. Johnston has fallen back several times abandoning long lines of intrenchments, but he still occupies a good position with Kenesaw Mountain as the apex of his triangle embracing Marietta. His wings fell back four miles one day and I thought he had gone but not so.
We have worked our way forward until we are in close contact, constant skirmishing & picket firing. He is afraid to come at us, and we have been cautious about dashing against his breastworks, that are so difficult to understand in this hilly & wooded Country. My Lines are ten miles long, and every change necessitating a larger amount of work. Still we are now all ready and I must attack direct or turn the position. Both will be attended with loss and difficulty but one or the other must be attempted. This is Sunday and I will write up all my letters and tomorrow will pitch in at some one or more points.
I am now 105 miles from Chattanooga, and all our provisions have to come over that single road which is almost daily broken somewhere, but thus far our supplies have been ample. We have devoured the land and our animals eat up the wheat & corn fields close. All the People retire before us, and desolation is behind. To realize what war is one should follow our tracks.
I am very anxious to hear from you and the youngsters. I suppose Tom feels the pride of having a younger brother to rule over and control. May the child grow up and possess the courage, confidence and Kindness of heart of our poor Willy. I would gladly surrender all the honors & fame of this life if I could see him once more in his loving confidence & faith in us, but we must now think of the living & prepare them for our exodus, which may be near at hand.
Though not conscious of danger at this moment I Know the country swarms with thousands who would shoot me, & thank their God, they had slain a monster, and yet I have been more kindly disposed to the People of the South than any general officer of the whole army.
W. T. Sherman, Major General