Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, July 29, 1864

July 29, 1864.

Since crossing Chattahoochee I have been too busy to write. We have had three pretty hard battles. The enemy attacked my centre as we were fairly across the Peachtree Creek, and got badly beaten. Next as we closed in on Atlanta he struck our extreme left and the fighting was desperate. He drove back a part of the left, but the men fought hard and when night closed our losses amounted to 3,500 and we found nearly 3,000 dead rebels. Making the usual allowance the enemy must have sustained a loss of 10,000. Yesterday I shifted the Army of the Tennessee to my extreme right and in getting into position it was again attacked and repulsed the attack. The fight was mostly with the 15th Corps. Logan commanded it. McPherson's death was a great loss to me. I depended much on him. In casting about for a successor I proposed Howard who is a man of mind and intellect. He is very honest, sincere and moral even to piety, but brave, having lost an arm already. But he was a junior Major General to Hooker who took offense and has gone away. I don't regret it; he is envious, imperious and braggart. Self prevailed with him and knowing him intimately I honestly preferred Howard. Yesterday's work justified my choice, for Howard's disposition and manner elicited the shouts of my old corps, and he at once stepped into the shoes of McPherson and myself. I have now Thomas, Schofield and Howard, all tried and approved soldiers. We are gradually drawing our lines close up to Atlanta, fortifying our front against the bold sallies, and I now have all the cavalry out against the roads between Atlanta and Macon. I am glad I beat Johnston, for he had the most exalted reputation with our old army as a strategist. Hood1 is a new man and a fighter and must be watched closer, as he is reckless of the lives of his men. It is wonderful with what faith they adhere to the belief that they whip us on all occasions though we have them now almost penned up in Atlanta. If no reinforcements come I think I will cut them off from all communication with the rest of the confederacy. . . .

1 On July 18 Sherman had learned that Hood had superseded Johnston in command of the Confederate forces in Atlanta.

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 303-4.  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 2/16

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