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In Their Own Words

June 08, 1864

Letter from Confederate Soldier During Atlanta Campaign

Charles Olmstead, a member of the 54th Georgia serving under Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, wrote to wife. Though his letter did not mention the week of rain, it did testify to a temporary lull in major battles. It also showed unfounded optimism about the future of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign:

“I have very little to write of military movements today as our brigade has been quietly at rest for two days and three nights in the position from which I last wrote you. The rest of the army, however, has gradually passed us, moving to the right, until finally Hardee’s corps is now on the left again… . This morning we were suddenly thrown in advance some mile or two, but I have no idea that it means anything more than a little piece of precaution. I do not think that the enemy will attack us here. In fact, the opinion is gaining ground among our troops that Sherman does not mean to fight at all, but that he will at once begin a retrograde movement. This is based on the belief that his communications will soon be interfered with by General Forrest. It is thought, too, that he will soon be called upon to furnish reinforcements to General Grant, who is being so handsomely used up by General Lee.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 298.