Sunday, December 8, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, October 11, 1864

ATLANTA, October 11, 1864.

We are all well. Forrest is threatening our road in Tennessee but I think ample steps are in progress to meet and defeat him. Should he temporarily destroy our road we are well prepared with accumulated supplies here, and our repairing facilities are so distributed that breaks can be speedily repaired. Should Hood's main army attempt our rear I think we can make him suffer. Georgia is now open to me and steps are being perfected at other and distant points that will increase the value of my position here.

The telegraph brings me word that Grant is not idle about Richmond. I know his perseverance and have no apprehensions that in the end he will [not] worry Lee out. Sheridan's success up the valley of the Shenandoah will again threaten Lee's line of supply which is by Gordonsville and Lynchburg, also that same road is being attacked at a point further west from another quarter. I am in advance of all the other columns and therefore should not be in a hurry, but if the enemy is restless I may go ahead. Our men are now well classified, well rested and ready to go wherever I lead.

The people of the South have made a big howl at my moving the families of Atlanta, but I would have been a silly fool to take a town at such cost and left it in the occupation of a helpless and hostile people. The War Department has simply been silent, has not committed itself one way or the other, so that the whole measure rests on me, but I am used to such things. Some of the correspondence between Hood and myself has been published, and the whole has been sent to Washington where at some day it will also be published and I think Gen'l Hood will have no reason to glorify. I have letters of thanks from the Mayor of Atlanta and Col. ____1 who was the Confederate officer appointed to receive the families and transport them to the south. Instead of robbing them, not an article was taken away, not even the negro servants who were willing to go away. And we even bought the provisions which I know to have been Confederate stores distributed to the people at the last moment and were really our captured property.

1 Blank in MS. The Memoirs (II, 545) show this officer to have been Col. Clare. His letter is there printed.

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 310-1.  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 2/18

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