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A SAD CONDITION.
out as we propose to-day, and not deal in such hypocritical appeals to God and humanity. God will judge us in due time; and Ile will pronounce whother it be more humane to tight with a town full of women and the families of “ brave people” at our back, or to remove them, in time, to places of safety among their own friends and people.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, (Signed)
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General Commanding."
This policy, at the first blush, did seem cruel, and the fact that the enemy committed acts of barbarity, was no justification for Sherman's committing similar acts. It is, therefore, but right that he should be heard in his own defense. So heavily did this order fall on the innocent women and children, that the Mayor begged him, in the name of mercy, to revoke it. Among other things, he says:
“Many poor women are in an advanced state of pregnancy; others, having young children, whose husbands, for the greater part, are either in the army, prisoners, or dead. Some say, 'I have such a one sick at my house; who will wait on them when I am gone?' Others
• What are we to do? we have no houses to go to, and no means to buy, build, or rent any; no parents, relatives, or friends to go to.' Another says: 'I will try and take this or that article of property ; but such and such things I must leave behind, though I need them much.' We reply to them: "General Sherinan will carry your property to Rough and Ready, and then General Hood will take it thence on;' and they will reply to that: “But I want to leave the railroad at such a place, and cannot get conveyance from thence on.'
“We only refer to a few facts to illustrate, in part, how this measure will operate in practice. As you advanced, the people north of us fell back, and before your arrival here a large portion of the people here had retired South; so that the country south of this is already crowded, and without sufficient houses to accommodate the people, and we are informed that many are now staying in churches and other out
SHERMAN'S REPLY TO THE MAYOR.
buildings. This being so, how is it possible for the people still here (mostly women and children) to find shelter, and how can they live through the Winter in the woods—no shel. ter or subsistence—in the midst of strangers who know them not, and without the power to assist them much if they were willing to do so.
" This is but a feeble picture of the consequences of this measure. You know, the woe, the horror and the suffering cannot be described by words. Imagination can only conceive of it, and we ask you to take these things into consideration. We know your mind and țime are continually occupied with the duties of your command, which almost deters us from asking your attention to the matter, but thought it might be that you had not considered the subject in all of its awful consequences, and that, on reflection, you, we hope, would not make this people an exception to all mankind; for we know of no such instance ever having occurred-surely not in the United States. And what has this helpless people done, that they should be driven from their homes, to wander as strangers, outcasts and exiles, and to subsist op charity?'
Sherman felt the truth of all this, and saw that his course might be deemed harsh in the sight of the world, so, to clear himself from an unjust charge, and place the reason of his conduct on record for the future historian, he wrote the following letter :
* ATLANTA, Ga., Sep. 12, 1864. JAMES M. CALHOUN, Mayor, E. E. Rawson, and S. C. WELLs, representing
the City Council of Ajanta : GENTLEMEN :-I bave your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition,
orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta, I have read it carefully, and give full credit to yonr statements of the distress that will be occasioned by it, and yet shall not revoke my order, simply because my orders are not designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggles, in which millions, yea hundreds of millions, of good peopie outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have Peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war
A NOBLE DEFENSE.
that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we ' must deteat the rebel armies that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution, which all must respect and obey. To defeat these armies we must pre
way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.
Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, and that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter, and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce, or agriculture here for the maintenance of families, and, sooner or later, want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scene of the past month ? Of course, I do not apprehend any such thing at this moment, but
do not suppose that this army will be here till the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what I propose to do; but I assert that my military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible. You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will.
War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war on our country, deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you, to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on till we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war.
The United States does and must assert its authority wherever it has power; if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I know that such is not the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the National Government, and instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army, become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as has swept the South into rebellion; but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a Government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.
You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm, as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable; and the only way the people of Atlanta cen lope once more to live in peace and quiet at kome, is to stop this war, which can alone be done by admitting that it began in error, and is perpetuated in pride. We don't want your negroes or your horses, or your houses or your land, or anything you have; but we do want, and will have a just obedience to the Laws of the United States. That we will have, and it it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it. You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement, and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better for you.
I repeat, then, that, by the orginal compact of government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished, and never will be; that the South began war by seizing forts, Arsenals, mints,