Sunday, September 18, 1864

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Atlanta

Dr. T. S. Bell, Louisville:
Gen. Whitaker has handed me your kind letter of September 12, with the parcel of newspapers with the Sept. no. of the U.S. Service Magazine. I have read the resolutions at the Court House Meeting and fear you have piled up the praise a little too high. I fear Elevation as a fall would be the harder, but if the Draft ordered for tomorrow be made thoroughly it does seem that with present advantages we should make big strides to that end, for which I know the loudest Peace men of the land do not yearn with more solicitude than you and I. I have met many confederates who want Peace, on the terms of Vallandigham of Southern independence. I have asked them fairly if they could have the impudence to ask us to give up Memphis, and Vicksburg, and New Orleans, and the Forts of the Seashore, and Louisville and Nashville and Chattanooga and Atlanta and hundreds of other places that we have paid for with human lives. The uniform answer is that Southern Independence without these points would be a mere sham. But not one dared to ask us to give up these places as it would be an insult to Common decency and Common sense.

No. We must have a Country Embracing all these & more too, and the only question is who is to govern it. We offer them a fair share, but not the weight of the feather more than they are entitled to. When this only question of sovereignty is settled by war, and nothing else can settle it, all else is easy, and may be dispatched by congresses, committees, caucuses or any other of the devices of civilians. I am always glad to hear of the Steadfastness of our Kentucky Friends, and that they are not led astray by false issues. If our Country is not good & great enough to command universal love & veneration let us make it so, instead of pulling it to pieces which would make us the despised and hated of all People. Don’t fear that I shall falter in my energies, for you know that I began war with my fellow countrymen with pain & sorrow. But when it could not be avoided, I began in earnest, and have only warmed to the work. Months & years are as nothing in the Past, and we must not measure a Cause by Time. The end we seek will justify a century of labor and toil and when the enemies of our country, be they at home or abroad see that we can and will persevere to the end, they will shrink from the encounter, and like Beelzebub of old go forth and Seek congenial space elsewhere, to work out their devilish anarchy.

I will gladly help Colonel Barry, who is young and sure of advancement if he perseveres as he has so well begun, and your little Nephew Harper must come and see me and for his Mother’s and your sake I will cheerfully notice and encourage him. I have a big family and it takes nearly all my time to feed & clothe them.
With great respect,
W. T. Sherman, Major General

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Atlanta

Dear Minnie,
I have your letter from Notre Dame telling me you are again at your studies and that Lizzie is with you. I am very glad of it and you can always steal a little time to tell me all about your present studies. I have much to occupy my time as even you can understand, and neither you or Lizzie must expect me to be even on the score of Letters. You will hear so much about Atlanta and the Battles that I need not speak of them to you, but I hope some day we will all sit round the Fire when I can tell you all many stories about the Battles. Atlanta is a town which once had 20,000 people, with large foundries and work shops, but these are all gone and nothing remains but the dwelling houses, which are empty. There is a Depot as large as that at Indianapolis or Cincinati with some large locomotive buildings. My Engineer officer Captain Poe has just brought me some daguerreotypes of the Locomotive House and of the track when the Rebels burned up seven trains of cars on leaving. I send them to you for they are very pretty pictures, and after awhile I will send you more. Give one to Lizzie and keep one yourself.

Tell Sister Angela, that it is hard to have you away off in the North part of Indiana where there is no chance of my ever seeing you till you are out of school, for it is off away from all Roads, that I can have any chance to travel. But time slips along very fast and your few years of school will soon be over and by that time the war may be over and we may then have a home.

Give my love to Agnes and Elly & to Cousin Tom. I suppose the latter is almost a young Gent. Tell Lizzie I will Soon write to her also.
Your loving father,
W. T. Sherman

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