James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  measure the power of resistance of the Army of Northern Virginia. 1  17     Sherman, whose headquarters had been at Chattanooga, began his advance on May 6. He was at the head of three armies: those of the Cumberland, the Tennessee and the Ohio, commanded respectively by Thomas, McPherson and Schofield and aggregating 99,000 men. Joseph E. Johnston was at Dalton, Georgia, strongly intrenched with a force of 53,000. The campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta, which now commenced, is remarkable for the vigor and pertinacity of the attack, the skill and obstinacy of the defence. Two giants met. Sherman’s greater number corresponded to the greater difficulty of his task. For the invasion of the enemy’s territory, with a constantly lengthening line of supply and a consequent dwindling of the main force through detachments necessary to protect this line, an army twice as great as the enemy’s was required for accomplishing the object of the campaign, which was the destruction or the surrender of the opposing host. Johnston had not as able lieutenants as Sherman, and did not win from them as great a measure of devotion, nor had he in other respects a personnel equal to that of the Union commander, whose army, moreover, had derived confidence for the future from its victory at Chattanooga. Taking everything into consideration, the conditions of the contest were about even. Sherman’s work became easier, as will be seen, when he had as antagonist a commander of inferior parts. But it cannot be maintained with any show of reason that Johnston could
Note 1. Authorities, O. R., XXXVI; IV; Humphreys; Gen. Meade, II; Charles H. Porter, Theodore Lyman, Hazard Stevens, Ropes, T. L. Livermore in Milt. Hist. Soc., IV; Wilson’s Dana; do. Under the Old Flag; do. W. F. Smith; do. Rawlins, M. S.; Alexander; T. L. Livermore; Longstreet; G. M. Dodge. [back]