TO PHILEMON B. EWING
Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississipi, In the Field, near Chattahoochee,
I really feel very uneasy about Ellen. She never before neglected to write as now. It is more than two months since she has written, and it is nearly if not quite a month since your last telegraph announced she was much better. I was very thankful to Mary Ewing and to Susan Stambaugh for their letters and I wish you to thank them for me. Still so much time has since elapsed that I feel more uneasy than ever. Our mails are pretty regular, and the telegraph is to my tent. I hear from all parts of the world daily, but can get nothing from Lancaster. If Ellen be really too unwell to write I wish you would see that some one tells me the truth for I really have enough care & responsibility here without the uneasiness naturally resulting from absolute silence at home.
As to this campaign I have now driven my adversary wholly across the Chattahoochee and have three Corps across ready to be followed by my whole army, when certain necessary preliminaries are complete. Atlanta is in full sight 9 miles off. I have brought one hundred thousand men from Chattanooga 120 miles and driven a well commanded & well organized army of 60,000, from the fortified positions at Dalton, Resacca, Cassville, Alatoona, Kenesaw, Smyrna and the Chattahoochee, taking his only Nitre country; his vast Iron works, & beds of ore, and lastly the most extensive cotton & woollen manufactories of Georgia.
We had sixty days of continual combat, with several pretty smart battles interspersed. I don’t believe there are ten men in the United States other than those here who appreciate & measure the vast labor of mind & body consumed in accomplishing these results. I may be at fault for discouraging flattering descriptions, however I prefer at the end, or rather at some pause in the Grand drama to paint a connected whole rather than scatter it piecemeal to satisfy the greedy curiosity of a gaping public. I think in crossing the Chattahoochee as I have, without the loss of a man, I have achieved really a creditable deed. Thomas told me he dreaded it more than any one thing ahead and when he learned that I had Schofield across, fortified and with two pontoon bridges laid, only 3 miles above where Johnston lay entrenched on this bank, he could not believe it. Johnston himself the moment he found it out, evacuated the permanent defenses of the Chattahoochee & burned all his bridges five in number.
I now have McPherson across at Roswell with a good bridge on the old pins; Schofield at the mouth of Soape Creek with two pontoon bridges; and Howard at Powers Ferry with two pontoon bridges. I have also accumulated provisions that will last the army till the 1st of August in Marietta & Allatoona Pass, both fortified positions. I only await the return of some cavalry sent down along the Chattahoochee, to pass the River & move against Atlanta. If I can take Atlanta without too large a sacrifice I may then allow my friends to claim for me the Rank of a General, for I have given daily direction to 200,000 men on distant fields with a full hundred thousand under my own eye.
Professor H. Coppee of Philadelphia is about to publish a sketch of my life in the August number of the U.S. Service Magazine, the composition of Bowmans. I have heretofore escaped this infliction but cannot escape this, and have asked him to make it as short as possible & to introduce into it my letter of resignation when in Louisiana. Ellen has the only copy I know of, and I wish you would see that Coppee gets a copy in time.
My health is good. I live out of doors under a tent fly, have good rations & ride a good deal. Indeed my Lines are always over ten miles long, and at this moment full twenty, but my office labors are not great as the details fall upon army commanders.
Give my best love to Mary and all the children. Tell Tom if I survive the war & save any war horses I will give one to him. My special respect to your father who I fear watches me with undue apprehension 8c solicitude.