Saturday, November 30, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, June 26, 1864

IN THE FIELD, NEAR MARIETTA, Geo., June 26,1864.

. . . I have written but little because my thoughts and mind have been so intent on other matters. Johnston has fallen back several times abandoning long lines of intrenchments, but he still occupies a good position with Kenesaw Mountain as the apex of his triangle embracing Marietta. His wings fell back four miles one day and I thought he had gone, but not so.

We have worked our way forward until we are in close contact — constant skirmishing and picket firing. He is afraid to come at us, and we have been cautious about dashing against his breastworks, that are so difficult to undertake in this hilly and wooded country.

My lines are ten miles long, and every change necessitates a large amount of work. Still we are now all ready and I must attack direct or turn the position. Both will be attended with loss and difficulty, but one or the other must be attempted.

This is Sunday and I will write up all my letters, and to-morrow will pitch in at some one or more points.

I am now 105 miles from Chattanooga, and all our provisions have come over that single road, which is almost daily broken somewhere, but thus far our supplies have been ample. We have devoured the land and our animals eat up the wheat and corn field close. All the people retire before us and desolation is behind. To realize what war is one should follow our tracks. . . .

Though not conscious of danger at this moment, I know the country swarms with thousands who would shoot me, and thank their God they had slain a monster; and yet I have been more kindly disposed to the people of the South than any general officer of the whole army.

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 297-8.  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 2/15

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