Friday, July 29, 2016

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: September 18, 1864

Atlanta, Ga., September 18, 1864.

Yours of the 9th was received to-day. Since my last letter, I have kept pretty busy with the affairs of the post, but nothing new or startling has occurred in my line of duty. Our corps, with the Fourth and the Fourteenth, occupy the works near the city. Howard with the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth, is at East Point, and Schofield with the grand Army of the Ohio, is at Decatur. Troops are in comfortable quarters and leaves of absence and furloughs are being liberally granted. There is just now a ten days' truce for sending families South and the exchange of prisoners.

Before the Chicago Convention, I told you my opinion of McClellan. I am willing to acknowledge that I have changed it greatly since his letter of acceptance. His letter, as you say, was patriotic, and would have suited me if it had refused the nomination; but when he closed by saying that he thought his views expressed those of the Convention, he changed, in my opinion, from being an honest, straightforward soldier, into a politician seeking office.

He knew, as well as we know, that a large part of the Convention was for peace and not for war carried on in any way, and as an honest man he had no business to say what he did. It has always been the boast of the Democratic party that whoever their candidate might be, he had to carry out the principles of the men who elected him. The peace men must have shown their hands plainly, and whatever McClellan may say now to disown their support, they will have a baneful influence upon him, if he is elected.

Colonel Coggswell is commanding this post in a manner which reflects great credit upon him; he stands high with Generals Thomas and Slocum; even Sherman has complimented him, and spoken of the appearance of our regiment. He is, I think, one of the best practical soldiers I know; his chances for promotion are very good; I hope, for the sake of the service, his and my own, that he may get it.

It is altogether a good thing for us that we are here in the city; as I said before, it is all owing to General Slocum. His firm and just rule is felt already throughout the corps; men who have shirked, and, to use an expressive word, “bummed” all through the campaign, are getting snubbed now, while those who have done their duty quietly and faithfully are being noticed.

Sherman is an entirely different style of man. He is a genius and a remarkable one, and is undoubtedly the longest headed, most persistent man, not even excepting Grant, there is in this country, but he is too great a man to be able to go into details. He cares nothing, apparently, for the discipline and military appearance of his troops, or at any rate, leaves that for his subordinates to see to; he cares nothing, either, for doing things through regular channels, but will give his orders helter-skelter, any how; this, of course, is an eccentricity of genius, but it is a very troublesome one at times.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 191-2

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