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In Their Own Words

July 07, 1864

Wisconsin Soldier in Sight of Atlanta

Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers wrote to his wife that Sherman’s forces were now within two miles of the Chattahoochee River:

“I am sitting at a table under a fresh, green oak bower in front of our fly, as comfortable as one can be in this almost insufferable heat. We came here yesterday afternoon to encamp In the shady woods, with notice that we would be allowed a few days rest. We are about two miles from the Chattahoochee River, on a high ridge, and can see several church spires of the Gate City [Atlanta] from our camp. The enemy has strong fortifications on the north bank of the river and occupies them. I believe, however, that the larger portion of his army is on the south side, and that the works on this side are intended rather as a defense for the crossing. The rest here will do us good; we have had a severe campaign in hot weather Since we first met the enemy at Buzzard Roost two months ago, we have been marching and fighting all the time, and even when we have been in camp, It was so near the enemy’s line as to be under constant annoyance from picket firing and constantly on the alert ready for action, so that the rest ought to be a few weeks rather than a few days. The army has six months’ pay due now, and it ought to be paid, but of course if military exigencies will not permit it, it can be dispensed with.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page