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Telegram of William T. Sherman to Ulysses S. Grant, October 9, 1864


Telegram of William T. Sherman to Ulysses S. Grant, October 9, 1864


William T. Sherman, a major-general for the United States Army during the Civil War, sent this telegram to the head of the United States Army, General Ulysses S. Grant. The letter was sent from just outside of Atlanta, on October 9, 1864. Sherman discussed the practical difficulties in holding such land in the Georgia region with major Confederate military leaders like John Hood, Nathan Forrest and Joseph Wheeler in the area. Sherman particularly reiterated his belief that it was necessary to destroy roads, houses and “make Georgia howl,” as that was the most efficient military strategy. Food was not a worry either, as the Union Army could forage the state when needed. Sherman believed that destroying property and roads was necessary as the manpower it would take to occupy them would have been extraordinary, and foraging from citizens was necessary to supply the army, not a personal action.  Many in the Confederacy objected to Sherman’s policies as illegitimate warfare.  The main photo is of soldiers in Allatoona. 


William T. Sherman


William T. Sherman, Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, eds. Jean V. Berlin and Brooks D. Simpson (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 731.







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Allatoona 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9th 1864 
Lt. Gen. Grant
City Point 

         It will be a physical impossibility to protect this road now that Hood, Forrest, Wheeler and the whole batch of Devils are turned loose without home or habitation. I think Hoods movements indicate a direction to the end of the Selma and Talladega road to Blue Mountain about sixty miles south west of Rome from which he will threaten Kingston, Bridgeport and Decatur and I propose we break up the road from Chattanooga and strike out with wagons for Milledgeville Millen and Savannah.

         Until we can repopulate Georgia it is useless to occupy it, but utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources. By attempting to hold the roads we will lose a thousand men monthly and will gain no result. I can make the march and make Georgia howl. We have over 8,000 cattle and 3,000,000 pounds of bread but no corn, but we can forage the interior of the state.

W.T. Sherman

M. Genl.


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allatoona pass.jpg


William T. Sherman, Telegram of William T. Sherman to Ulysses S. Grant, October 9, 1864, Civil War Era NC, accessed February 22, 2024,