Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 3,1864.
I am now going to let you into some of our mighty secrets, which, probably, when you receive this, will be no secrets at all.
We are going to abandon Atlanta, first utterly destroying every railroad building, store, and everything else that can be of any use to the rebels. The railroad from here as far north as Resaca will be entirely destroyed. Then, cutting loose from everything and everybody, Sherman is going to launch his army into Georgia.
We shall probably march in two or three columns to Savannah, destroying all railroads and government property at Macon and Augusta, and taking up all rails on our line of march. Isn't the idea of this campaign perfectly fascinating? We shall have only to “bust” through Joe Brown's militia and the cavalry, to take any of these inland cities. Of course, the taking of Savannah is only the preface to taking Charleston. Colonel Coggswell, with five regiments, has been ordered to prepare this place for destruction; he has given me the charge of about half of it. I have just submitted my proposition how to do it.
The proposed movement is the most perfectly concealed I have ever known one to be; scarcely an officer on the staff or anywhere else knows our destination or intention. There are all kinds of rumors which are told as facts, but they only more effectually conceal the real campaign. We shall be lost to the world for a month or six weeks; then shall suddenly emerge at some seaport, covered with dirt and glory. I like the idea of a water-base amazingly; no tearing up railroads in our rear, no firing into trains, and no running off the track. General Thomas will be left, with fifty thousand or sixty thousand men, to guard the line of the Tennessee. I suppose Hood will bother him considerably, but that is none of our business. If Hood chases us, we can whip him as we have done before, and we have the best of him in the way of supplies, as we shall eat up ahead of him. I feel perfectly confident of success, no matter what course the rebels take. General Slocum will have command of the two largest and best corps in the army, and will show himself the able man he is. Sherman will have a chance to compare him with his other army commanders.
SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 196-7