James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
equal than at any other time during the campaign. Sherman had been eager for battle ever since the beginning of his advance, an eagerness shared by his men. Johnstons continual avoidance of it, the proffered gage, increased their confidence, which had been high from the outset, and they went forward sure of victory, enduring with patience the privations and hardships of the march. All this while news of the operations in Virginia was furnished to both armies, the one hearing of Union victories in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania, the other that Lee has whipped Grant and General Lee beat Grant again.
On May 23 Sherman wrote from Kingston, I am already within fifty miles of Atlanta and have added one hundred miles to my railroad communications, every mile of which is liable to attack by cavalry. This despatch gives some idea of the labor attending the invasion of the enemys territory. The men needed not only marching and fighting qualities but the temper to endure with good grace the loss of many of the creature comforts of ordinary army life. Most of the baggage and tents had been left behind; a tent-fly was the shelter for brigade and division headquarters; but the food, consisting of meat, bread, coffee and sugar, was abundant and of good quality. All the supplies came over the single line of railroad running from Chattanooga to Atlanta, of which the track was torn up and the bridges burned by the Confederates, as they retreated. But the engineer corps in charge of the railway repairs were skilful and energetic, renewing bridges as if by magic, much to the amazement of Johnstons men, who under the illusion that their destruction would cause great delays were always startled to hear the whistle of the locomotive bringing up the supply trains in the rear of the Union Army.