guage used I aimed to express emphatically how important General Grant, and I deemed the intersection of the Mississippi Central and the Vicksburg and Selma roads. We had worked for it so hard that I felt sensitive when I heard the enemy were gradually closing the gap. Be assured of my sincere respect, and if you will be most active whether successful or not, you may count on my personal and official support. This may not be a motive, but for the time being I represent the Great Valley, and I do think I appreciate the relative value of its parts.
Though far away here in Georgia thundering away at Atlanta my thoughts revert to Mississippi and that great valley, which appears to me the spinal column of America, that you will pardon me if at times I am sensitive as to the safety of its vital parts.
There is a seeming conflict of authority between General Canby's command and mine. Were I near I feel we would perfectly accord, but being so far away I will concede to him superior knowledge of the pressing necessities at local points. Therefore when he orders troops, comply with his orders, and report the troops not as transferred but as detached, and keep him advised of the tenor and purpose of any general instructions or orders from the commander of the Department of the Tennessee or from me. Our command is on the east bank and General Canby's on the west bank, but as we are off in Georgia and General Canby is near at hand, the War Department has wisely ordered that for the protection of the great interests, as it were, afloat on that river, General Canby's orders to local garrisons are good. If, as I hope will not be the case, an absolute conflict should arise, I think our commands to you would be superior, but if good sense and feeling prevail, I do not apprehend any real conflict, for the protection of the river and its commerce, which is common to our command, must always take precedence over any mere inland expedition.
You will have heard with pain and sorrow that General McPherson was killed day before yesterday, at the beginning of a battle brought on by Hood, who attacked our left as we were closing our lines on Atlanta. General McPherson had the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps in line, conforming to the enemy's works, and was moving Dodge's troops obliquely by the flank to the left to form, as it were, a shoulder. General McPherson was crossing one of those valleys by a road or wood path by, as it were, a diagonal, to reach the left flank of General Blair, doubtless to prepare a place for General Dodge, and he must have encountered the advanced line of the enemy's skirmishers, who preceded the column which had reached the rear of the line of General Blair. He was shot through the breast, high up from the right side. He fell dead from his horse but a few yards from the road or path. We soon got his body and sent it to the rear and to the North. He was a noble, gallant gentleman, and the best hope for a great soldier that I had in my minds's eye. You will find many a moist eye in Vicksburg when the news of his death reaches Vicksburg. General Logan is in command of the army in the field, but the President must name his successor. In the mean time execute his general orders, and in all matters of detail your own good sense must direct.
Butterfield is home sick. Ward Geary, and Williams command Hooker's divisions. All have done good fighting.
Your friend and servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,