HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
KINGSTON, GA., May 20, 1864.
I have daily telegraphed to General Halleck our progress, and have no doubt you have kept pace with our movement. Johnston had chosen Dalton as his place of battle, but he had made all the roads to it so difficult that I resolved to turn it, so I passed my army through a pass twenty miles south of Dalton and forced him to battle at Resaca. That, too, was very strong, but we beat him at all points, and as I had got a bridge across the Oostenaula below him and was gradually getting to his rear, he again abandoned his position in the night and I have been pushing my force after him as fast as possible; yet his knowledge of the country and the advantage of a good railroad to his rear enabled him to escape me, but I now have full possession of all the rich country of the Etowah. We occupy Rome, Kingston, and Cassville. I have repaired the railroad to these points and now have ordered the essential supplies for ward to replenish our wagons, when I will make for Atlanta, fifty-nine miles from here and about fifty from the advance. Johnston has halted across the Etowah at a place called Allatoona, where the railroad and common road passes through a spur of the mountain, making one of those formidable passes which gives an army on the defensive so much advantage, but I propose to cross the Etowah here and to go for Marietta via Dallas. Look at your map and you will see the move. We expect to cross the Etowah on the 23d, when we will move straight on fighting when opposed. Of course our laboring and difficulties increase as we progress, whereas our enemy gains strength by picking up his rear guard and detachments.
Put forth the whole strength of the nation now, and if we can't whip the South we must bow our necks in patient submission. A division of our territory by the old lines is impossible. Grant surely is fighting hard enough, and I think this army will make its mark.
W. T. SHERMAN
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 234-5