Saturday, July 9, 1864

On the Chattahoochee River

Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, near Chattahoochee, July 9,1864

Dearest Ellen,
It is now more than two months since I left Chattanooga and I think during all this time I have but one letter from you. I fear you have been more ill than I had supposed but I hope that it in no manner resulted from uneasiness about me. I have been very well all the time but necessarily so employed that I could not write much. All my letters partake more of the Dispatch kind than any thing else & I have settled down so that I dislike to write a regular letter. Charley & Dayton have often written and I have no doubt you have followed us in our tedious and dangerous journey.

We are now on the Chattahoochee in plain view of the City of Atlanta 9 miles off. The enemy and the Chattahoochee lies between us, and intense heat prevails, but I think I shall succeed. At all events you know I never turn back. I see by the papers that too much stress was laid on the repulse of June 27. I was forced to make the effort, and it should have succeeded, but the officers & men have been so used to my avoiding excessive danger and forcing back the Enemy by strategy that they hate to assault, but to assault is sometimes necessary, for its effect on the Enemy. Had that assault succeeded, I would have then fought Johnston with the advantage on my side instead of his having all the benefit of forts, ground, creeks &c. As it was I did not give him rest, but forced him across the Chattahoochee which was the first great object. I have already got Schofield and Garrard across the River, and therefore can cross the Army when I choose.

I sent to General Webster my pay accounts for May, & after paying some small accounts he was to send a check for the Balance to you. He writes me he has done so. I want you to write to Professor Albert E. Church, U.S. Military Academy West Point & ask him what is my assessment towards the National Monument, that is being erected there in Memory of the West Point Graduates that have fallen in this war. It is about $27. When the exact figure is thus ascertained send him a check. Also subscribe for the United States Service Magazine of which Professor H. Coppee of Philadelphia is Editor. It is a monthly magazine and will be good authority. I see he proposes to publish in the August number a sketch of my life compiled by authority of a friend of mine. I wrote to Coppee to know what friend & he answered, Bowman. I dont know what data Bowman has, but of course I know he will deal in more Eulogy & generalisms than I would prefer, but cannot avoid it. I wish the letter of resignation I made in Louisiana embraced in any sketch of me, and I remember you said you had a Copy. If you have it still make a copy & send it to Bowman if you Know where he is, or to Professor Coppee who will see to it. If you cannot attend to these matters get Phil or some one else to do it for you.

The distant booming of cannon, & sharp rattle of musketry is now so familiar that it feels unnatural unless they are constant. The army is very large and extends from Roswell factory at the north to Sandtown, but my centre is directly in front of Atlanta. I will have to manoeuvre some hereabouts to drive the Enemy and to gain time to accumulate Stores by Rail to enable me to operate beyond Reach of the Railroad. Thus far our supplies have been ample. The country is high, mountainous, with splendid water & considerable forage in the nature of fields of growing wheat, oats & corn, but we sweep across it leaving it as bare as a desert. The People all flee before us. The task of feeding this vast host is a more difficult one than to fight.

I hope by this time you are well, and that the youngster is beginning to develop so you can make a guess what he is to be. I should like to have your opinion of him though it will be a prejudiced one. I should like Minnie and Lizzie & Tom to write more frequently. They must not expect me to write letters for theirs. They must understand my present family is numbered by hundreds of thousands all of whom look to me to provide for their wants. I shall not attempt an official account of this camp again until it approaches completion. Give my love to your father and all the young folks.

Yours Ever,
W.T. Sherman

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