Atlanta, Ga., October 16, 1864.
On the 2d, Sherman started with most of the army in pursuit of Hood, leaving General Slocum with the Twentieth Corps and about twelve hundred other troops, to take care of Atlanta. Hood's movement is a desperate one, but we are not anxious as to the result of it; we have rations to stand it longer than he can; forage is the only question, and that we are getting in considerable quantities from the country. If the enemy had obtained possession of Altoona Pass, we should probably have been obliged to evacuate.
Our latest news is that Sherman is at Resaca and Hood on the road near Dalton. We have received a few glorious despatches from Grant, and are most anxious to hear the result of his last movement. This post has been and is being most effectually fortified. The old rebel works bear no comparison to ours; with our corps, we could easily stand a siege by Hood's whole army.
The present campaign out here affords ample chance for speculation. I have not yet seen a man rash enough to try to explain Hood's intentions, or how he feeds his army. One thing is certain: if Sherman gets a fair chance at him so far away from his base, with no line of communications to fall back upon, he will smash him. We shall know very little of the political campaign this year, but we shall probably survive that.
Poor Dr. Heath! He was one of the best men I ever knew, — a pleasant, genial, kind-hearted companion, and as good a surgeon as I have ever seen in the army; his loss has been felt throughout the whole division. He fairly wore himself out in the service; this whole summer he has been surgeon of our division hospital and principal operator, in which position he worked himself to death. I hope we may get a good man in Heath's place. Crowninshield and Storrow will probably arrive here by the first through train.
SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 194-5