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XXVIII. Sherman's Atlanta campaign.

Gen. William T. Sherman, at the instance of Lt.-Gen. Grant, succeeded him in command of the military division of the Mississippi, embracing the four great departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Arkansas. Receiving the order at Memphis,1 he repaired at once to Nashville, where he met the Lt.-General, and accompanied him so far as CincinnatiGrant being then on his way to Washington to direct thenceforth our operations generally, but more especially those in Virginia. The plans of the superior were freely imparted to and discussed with his most trusted subordinate, ere they parted to enter respectively on their memorable campaigns against Richmond and Atlanta. Those campaigns were to be commenced simultaneously on the Rapidan and the Tennessee; and either movement to be pressed so vigorously, persistently, that neither of the Rebel main armies could spare troops to reenforce the other. When Sherman received2 his final instructions from Grant, it was settled that the campaign should open with May; and Gen. Sherman set forth3 accordingly from the Winter encampments of his forces around Chattanooga with an army barely short of 100,000 men4 of all arms, with 254 guns. It was far superior in every thing but cavalry to that which it confronted; Candy which, though estimated by Sherman at 55,000 to 60,000, probably numbered hardly more than 50,000.5 Johnston's army was organized in three corps, led by Hardee, Hood, and Polk. Sherman was from time to time reenforced, so as nearly to keep his original number good; but, as he advanced into Georgia, the necessity of maintaining his communications seriously reduced his force at the front.

The country between Chattanooga and Atlanta is different from, but even more difficult than, that which separates Washington from Richmond. Rugged mountains, deep, narrow ravines, thick, primitive woods, with occasional villages and more frequent clearings, or irregular patches of cultivation, all traversed by mainly narrow, ill-made roads, succeed each other for some 40 miles; then intervenes a like distance of comparatively open, facile country, traversed by two considerable rivers; then another rugged, difficult region of mountains and passes reaches nearly to the Chattahoochce;

1 March 14, 1864.

2 April 30.

3 May 6.


Army of the Cumberland--Gen. Thomas:
Army of the Tennessee--Gen. McPherson:
Army of the Ohio--Gen. Schofield:
Grand total98,797

5 Johnston reported his infantry at 40,900. Sherman estimated his cavalry (under Wheeler) at 10,000. Estimating his artillery at 3,100, his total force would be 54,000. It was occasionally swelled rather than strengthened by drafts of such Georgians not already in the service as passed for militia. The force which Sherman, after passing the Oostenaula, could show at the front, was probably about 70,000 to Johnston's 45,000.

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