TO ELLEN EWING SHERMAN
Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, near Atlanta July 29, 1864
Since crossing Chattahoochee I have been too busy to write—we have had three (3) pretty hard battles, the Enemy attacked my center as we were fairly across the Peachtree Creek, and got badly beaten. Next as we closed in on Atlanta he struck our extreme Left, and the fighting was desperate He drove back a part of the Left, but the men fought hard and when night closed our losses amounted to 3500 and we found nearly 3000 Dead Rebels. Making the usual allowance, the enemy must have sustained a loss of 10,000. Yesterday I shifted the Army of the Tennessee to my Extreme Right, and in getting into position it was again attacked & repulsed the attack. The fight was mostly with the 15th Corps. Logan commands it.
McPherson’s death was a great loss to me. I depended much on him. In casting about for a Successor, I preferred Howard, who is a man of mind and intellect. He is very honest, sincere & moral, even to piety, but brave having lost an arm already. He was a junior Major General to Hooker who took offense and has gone away. I don’t regret it. Hooker is envious, imperious, and braggart. Self prevailed with him and Knowing him intimately, I honestly preferred Howard. Yesterdays work justified my choice, for Howards dispositions and manner Elicited the shouts of my old Corps, and he at once stepped into the Shoes of McPherson and myself.
I have now Thomas, Schofield & Howard, all tried & approved soldiers. We are gradually drawing our lines close up to Atlanta, fortifying our front against their bold sallies, and I now have all the Cavalry out against the Roads between Atlanta & Macon. I am glad I beat Johnston for he had the most exalted reputation with our Old Army as a strategist. Hood1 is a new man and a fighter and must be watched closer, as he is reckless of the lives of his Men. It is wonderful with what faith they adhere to the belief that they whip us on all occasions though we have them now almost penned up in Atlanta. If no reinforcements come, I think I will cut them off from all communication with the rest of the Confederacy. Bowman has sent me the proof sheets of the August No. of the U.S. Service Magazine. The sketch is strong, but contains enough original material to give it the coloring of truth.
I enclose you a letter for you, which seems to be from the mother of your “Norah.” I also repeat that I prefer that Minnie should return to that School at Cincinnati, & Lizzie go along if willing. I prefer you should stay at Lancaster at whatever sacrifice of feeling or personal convenience till we can see daylight ahead in this war. But if you will go, better to Cincinnati than Notre Dame. There you have no better medical attendance than you will find within reach of Lancaster.
I don’t pretend to see a week ahead, and if I get killed which is not improbable at any moment, you will of course be compelled to live at Lancaster. Yesterday, a solid Canister Shot passed me Close & killed an orderly’s horse (Charley’s orderly) close behind me, in fact I daily pass death in the most familiar shape and you should base your calculations on that event. I got Minnie’s letter. It is plainly and well written and I feel satisfied she has made good progress at her new School, and do not wish her to change. I have cut out of a magazine two rough woodcuts of Grant & myself which approximate likenesses. Keep them as samples. Charley & I are both well and my staff remains unchanged except I have given Corse to Dodge to command one of his Divisions.
Give my love to all the children & the folks Generally. My poor Brother Jim. He was a good fellow, but John Barleycorn was too much for him.
W. T. Sherman