measured by military consequences alone.
Political considerations were also involved, and added much to the interest of that campaign.
The Northern Democrats had pronounced the management of the war a failure; and declared against its being continued; and the presidential election, soon to occur, was to turn upon the question of immediate peace or continued war. In all the earlier part of the year 1864, the press had been publishing to the Northern
people most exaggerated ideas of the military value of Atlanta
, and that it was to be taken, and that its capture would terminate the war. If Sherman
had been foiled, these teachings would have caused great exaggeration of the consequences of his failure, which would have strengthened the peace party greatly; so much, perhaps, as to have enabled it to carry the presidential election, which would have brought the war to an immediate close.
The proofs that I intended to defend Atlanta
, seen by General Bragg
and recognized by General Hood
are: that under my orders the work of strengthening its defenses, begun several weeks before, was going on vigorously; that I had just brought heavy rifled cannon from Mobile
, to mount on the intrenchments; the communication made on the subject to General Hood
, and the fact that my family was residing in the town; the removal of the machinery and workmen of the military shops, and prohibition to accumulate large supplies in the town, alleged by General Bragg
to be evidence of the intention not to defend it, were measures of common prudence, and no more indicated that it was to be