NASHVILLE, April 27, 1864.
. . . To-morrow I start for Chattanooga and at once prepare for the coming campaign. I will have 20,000 less men than I calculated, from the Red River disaster1 and two divisions of McPherson, whose furlough won't expire. These furloughs have, as I feared, impaired if not lost us this campaign. When men get home they forget their comrades here, and though Governors are very patriotic in offers of troops their acts fall far short of their promises. Our armies are now weaker than at any former point of the war. My old corps has dwindled away to 10,000 though we had promises that all the regiments would come with two or three hundred recruits each, but the recruits seem to have pocketed the money and like selfish men staid at home.
I will begin with Schofield, 12,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry; Thomas, 40,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry; and McPherson, 20,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. Combined it is a big army and a good one, and it will take a strong opposition to stop us once in motion.
Dalton will be our first point, Kingston next, then Allatoona and then Atlanta. All the attacks of the enemy on Paducah, Fort Pillow and in North Carolina are to draw us off from our concentration. As soon as we move they will attempt to cut in behind and cut our roads and fight us in front. So we are forced to detach men to guard our railroads all the way from Louisville to Chattanooga. . . .
1 The failure of the Red River expedition under General Banks. See p. 285.
SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 288-9. A full copy of this letter can be found in the William T Sherman Family papers (SHR), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556, Folder CSHR 2/13