HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, Aug. 12, 1864.
SCHUYLER COLFAX, Esq.,
South Bend, Ind.
My Dear Sir:
John Sherman has sent me your letter of Aug. 2d, in which you intimate a wish that certain nine regiments of Indiana troops should be ordered where they can be furloughed so as to vote in the fall elections.
Of course it is impossible. I have not now troops enough to do what the case admits of without extra hazard, and to send away a single man would be an act of injustice to the remainder. I think you need not be concerned about the soldiers’ vote. They will vote, — it may not be in the coming election, — but you may rest assured the day will come when the soldiers will vote, and the only doubt is if they will permit the stay-at-homes to vote at all.
I hope you will be elected; but I do think the conscript-law is the only one that is wanted for the next few years, and if the President uses it freely he can checkmate the Copperheads, who are not in favor of being governed by Jeff Davis, but are afraid to go to the war. Their motives are transparent. Jeff Davis despises them more than you do, and if he prevails in this war he will deal with Copperheads with infinitely more severity than he will with men who fight for their country and for principle.
I am, etc.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 238-9