Tuesday, August 9, 1864

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi,
In the Field near Atlanta, August 9, 1864

Dearest Ellen,
I got your note of Aug. 4 today enclosing one for Charley which I have handed him. Tell Mrs. Hunter & Mrs. Griesy it is idle to attempt the exchange of Dr. Griesy. I have already lost Stoneman & near 2000 Cavalry in attempting to rescue the Prisoners at Macon. I get one hundred letters a day almost asking me to effect the exchange or release of these Prisoners. It is not in my power. The whole matter of Exchanges is in the hands of Colonel Hoffman, Commissioner at Washington. I am capturing & sending north hundreds of prisoners daily and have not intercourse with the enemy. I have not exchanged a single message, not even a flag of truce. I assented to the enemy sending a partial Flag to bury some dead, on a particular spot, but did not suspend the fire at any other. I have cannonaded Atlanta pretty heavily today, and our Lines are extended full ten miles, but still the enemy is beyond. They have either a larger force than we estimate or their Lines are well concealed by their Forts. They occupy a high ridge and we are on densely wooded hill sides & slopes. To assault their position would cost more lives than we can Spare, and to turn the position I would have to cut loose from our Base, which is rather a risky business in a country devoid of all manner of supplies.

I drew two months pay & send you it nearly all. I will not preach Economy any more, only will say that next months pay is due to Hill, & my servants here whom I have not paid for a long while. Though I eat nothing but rations my mess costs me $50 or $60 a month. I have given my consent to your moving to South Bend only take the whole family. There is no chance of my even getting north again & therefore you can choose a house utterly regardless of my movements. I regard the war as hardly begun, & see no chance of escaping unless in the Revolution of this Fall & Winter new Favorites arise. The People of the North always have slackened their efforts to reinforce our army when reinforcements are needed, & then break out when it is too late. I suppose such will be the case this year. The whole South is now armed & the whole North should be, every man that can carry a musket.

I have not yet seen Young Wagenhals, indeed the Cavalry is so far out on the flanks that I rarely see it.

Ever yours,
W. T. Sherman

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