HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., August 5, 1864.
I would like to have you to come and see me as early in the morning as convenient. If you think of resigning it is probably better it should be now, as I fear the intention lessens your interests in our operations. Should you agree with me in this, turn over the command to General Johnson, and then you can assign as a reason anything you prefer. I would suggest that you put it on the ground of a prior resolve as soon as the campaign was over, and it having settled down into a quasi siege, you request now to be relieved and to be permitted to go to Illinois; or, if you prefer it, the reason that you considered your rank superior to General Schofield's. To be honest, I must say the operations on that flank yesterday and to-day have not been satisfactory. Yet I will not say that there has been want of energy or skill, but events have not kept pace with my desires.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Before Atlanta, Ga., August 5, 1864--10.05 p. m.
GENERAL: I confess my surprise at the contents of your telegraphic note, this moment received.
Waiving any statement of what were my purposes and intentions in respect to quitting the service, I will frankly say that if I were in your place, at the head of an army, I would require of my subordinates the faithful and energetic performance of their respective duties, and if my plans failed of execution, I would ascertain the cause and punish the delinquent vigorously, as no man is to be regarded when contrasted with [the] great cause of the country.
I am not surprised that you are dissatisfied with the operations of the army of this flank on yesterday and to-day, for I am also dissatisfied, and think much more ought to have been done, and readily confess myself in some measure responsible. Still I do earnestly protest against your inference of a want of interest in our operations. On yesterday you were present, and I will not speak of what I said or did. To-day I exerted myself more, I think, than any officer on the field to carry out General Schofield's orders, until the afternoon, near night, I found that aside from Baird's handsome operation in the forenoon nothing would be accomplished. I am to blame, however, in this, that I have not done as you obviously intend doing in my case--hold some one responsible for the failures. I think I could select the proper objects of responsibility more accurately than you have done in selecting me. I am so well convinced that this campaign has been lengthened out by the negligence and inattention of officers, and will be hereafter lengthened and drawn out from the same cause, that I accept your intimation to me not as offensive (though I think unjust), but as a sign of a purpose on your part, in future, to inquire into the causes of our almost daily failures to meet your avowed expectations, and when the cause is discovered to apply the correction. If you will do this justly, without favor or affection, I will venture my life that you will be astonished at the result. I will accept your offer to relieve me, not upon the ground that your suspicion of a want of interest is well founded, nor that I am in any other than the