Erasmus J. Allton Civil War Letters

[Transcription Note: Letter from O.O. Howard, Maj. Gen. Command, Army of Tenn. To E.J. Allton]

Head Quarters Department of the Tenn,

East Point, Ga. Sept 9th 1864.  Gen. field orders No. 16. 

It is with much pride gratitude and a sense of divine favor that I congratulate this noble army upon the successful termination of the campaign.  Your officers claim for you a wonderful record.  [F]or example, a march of 400 miles 13 distinct engagements 4000 prisoners and 20 stands of colors and three thousand of the enemys dead buried in your front.  Your movements upon the enemys flank have been bold and successful.  First Resacca, Second, upon Dallas, third upon Kenesaw Mt. fourth upon, Nickajack fifth, via Rosswell upon the Augusta R. R.  Sixth upon Ezra church to the south west of Atlanta and seventh, upon Jonesborough, and Macon R. R.  Atlanta was evacuated while you were fighting at Jonesborough. The country may never know with what patience labor and exposure you have tugged away at every natural and artificial obstacle that an enterprising and confident enemy could interpose.  The terrific battles you have fought may never be realized or credited.  Still a glad acclaim is already greeting you from the government and people, in view of the results you have helped to gain and I believe a sense of magnitude of the achievements of the last hundred days will not abate but increase with time and history.  Our rejoicing is tempered as it must always be by the soldiers sorrows at the loss of his companion in arms.  On every hillside, in every valley throughout your long and circuitous rout­ from Dallas to Jonesborough you have buried them, your trusted and beloved commander fell in your midst.  His name the name of McPherson carries with it a peculiar feeling of sorrow.  I trust the impress of his character is upon you all to excite to generous an[d] noble deeds.  To mourning friends and to all disabled in battle you extend a soldiers sympathy.  My first intimate acquaintance with you dates from the 28th of July.  I never beheld fiercer assaults than the enemy then made and I never saw troops more steady self possessed than your divisions that were then engaged.  I have learned that of obedience rapidity of movements and confidence in battle, the army of the Tennessee is not to be surpassed and it shall be my study that their fair record continues and purpose to assist you to move steadily forward and float the old flag in every proud city of the rebellion.

O. O. Howard
Maj. Gen. Command.
Army of Tenn,
E. J. A.