Will Fisher to his mother
Still in the “ditches” before Atlanta
July 2, 1864

My ever Dear Mother,

I wrote a somewhat lengthy letter yesterday but as my leisure still continues I will improve it for fear it may not be so always. I like to write well enough when I feel well but when there is no convenience for writing it comes tough. Well, I hardly know what will interest you most that I can write about, it is so monotonous here, but I will do the best I can.
It is a very pleasant day after the rain of yesterday, the sun to be sure is “quite heatey” but there is a splendid breeze which I appreciate very highly.
The “thunder of war” is comparatively quiet, only an occasional gun to let each other know that we will still stay about here. One very noticeable fact I observed last Sabbath, and that was when Gen. Sherman suspended all operations within the limits of my observation at least, even the shelling of the city. I know your views on this subject and for this reason I speak of it, and I can assure you it coincides with mine exactly, although I used to argue on the opposite side sometimes, but now I have tested my own mind on the subject most effectually by examining my feelings carefully upon occasions when we were engaged in some enterprise which appeared to me perfectly avoidable. Gen. Sherman has certainly shown a good deal of respect for the Sabbath, so far as I could observe, except at Resaca, and in this case the battle was begun on Saturday and renewed, not begun although at the same time Sherman made the first step toward renewing it, but the Rebels were assuming the defensive altogether, consequently it would not be supposed that they would attack.
I am well aware that you folks at home do not, nor cannot realize one sixteenth part of the magnitude or importance of this long, long, long campaign, therefore I propose to give you a little insight if possible into the operations since we took an active part.
The Army of the Cumberland proper, consists of the 14th Corps under Gen. Palmer, the 4th under Gen. Howard, the 23rd under Gen. Schoenfeld, and the 20th under Hooker. These 4 Corps, being under the immediate command of Maj. Gen. Thomas, but still under the general supervision of Gen. Sherman. Then, under McPherson, we had the 15th Corps under Gen. Logan and the 16th under Gen. Dodge, making six corps of infantry with their respective portions of artillery at the rate of two batteries of six guns each, to each div. of inft. I suppose there was about 135,000 muskets when we started, over and above cavalry and artillery which would probably swell the numbers to 170,000 men.
We have not seen much of the cavalry operations, so I have nothing to say about them, only that I don’t think much of them since old “Kill-cavalry” (Kilpatrick) got wounded. The commencement of the campaign found us facing the enemy on their impregnable stronghold at Tunnel Hill and Buzzard’s Roost which consists of two ridges running parallel with each other only 4 or 5 miles distant.
In the first or northern of these ridges was their fortifications with their camps in the ravine in the rear entirely protected. The approaches to these fortifications were considered and in fact are impossible. Well, here we of this department, amused them while McPherson by a rapid movement passed around to the West, some 15 miles through Snake Creek Gap, down 15 miles to the rear of the Rebel army, quietly taking a position commanding the railway.
That night the rest of the army, except the 4 corps left in the front to amuse them, were all marched through the gap to a line extending north and south from the Oostanaula River northward. This dilemma the Rebs “couldn’t see” therefore they backed down from Dalton and Tunnel Hill to Resaca, forming their line with its left resting on the river. Here we found two days fighting with the result on Sabbath that you already know of. Here they left during the night of the 15th and we followed them up till we struck their rear guard at Cassville and Kingston. One day was sufficient to start them out of this, they crossing the Etowah River that night.
After the rest we had at Cassville, we crossed this last river colliding with them again at Allatoona on the 25th of May. I omit giving distances because I am ignorant of those that are true, suffice it to say that in all we have advanced some 130 miles since we started. At Allatoona we flanked them on the left, and here follows a series of successive flankings and advances which were so much the same and were not particularly interesting to you that I will not attempt to give a description of our adventures at Kenesaw Mountain and all the successive positions from which we drove them. We have had five engagements besides innumerable skirmishes &c.
Our regt and brig are of course very much reduced in numbers, but I think we have had re-enforcements enough to keep our numbers good, the 17th Corps under Gen. Frank Blair coming to us at Kenesaw beside scattering regts. that have come from time to time.
We all rather thought we stop for the hot spell at Chattahoochee, but that did not seem to be the case. Probably some important movement is now going on that will come to light in time and until it does, we can tell nothing about it. I think the cavalry under Kilpatrick have started for Macon and Andersonville where they now have the Union prisoners from Bell Isle and the “Hotel de Libbie” at Richmond. Our brig. this summer has four regts. viz: 5 Ct. Vols., 46th Pa., 141st and 123 NY. There is 3 brigs. in the div., was only two last summer. We have got a brig. from the old 11th Corps.
I suppose that the people are beginning to feel anxious about the draft. I earnestly hope that it will pass off without any “row.” I sometimes feel a little apprehensive that there is some secret organization or plot among the “Knights of the Golden Circle," Vallandingham’s friends, and the Copperheads in general that will embarrass our cause greatly and be a most deep and damning disgrace for us. I see it hinted there is quite a body of them secretly armed in the northwestern states including NY and Pa.
I can hardly contain myself when I think of that black traitor who occupies the gubernatorial chair in my own Empire State. I can hardly forgive anyone who assisted in electing him before, but should I know of anyone claiming to be a friend of mine being guilty of supporting him again, I will forever disown him or her. “The state laws must be respected,” and all such bosh. I wish a mob would snatch him from the executive office at Albany and with a millstone suspended to his neck sink him in the Hudson.
But I must stop and go and draw a days rations of fresh beef. To do this we have to go “in range” that is out of the protection of our works.
Wednesday, July 3rd, 3 PM
I will try to drive this pen a little more today, although the heat is almost insufferable. I am thinking you folks would consider writing as out of the question if you were subject to so much heat and would probably postpone it till the cool of the night, but we have no light here only the light of day and I tell you there is not much time between sunrise and sunset but what it is warm.
I can hear some quite heavy cannonading today on the extreme right, judge it to be Schofield’s Corps which was shifted from the left to the right. I think something will soon throw Atlanta into our hands. A 100 pdr. rifled gun was mounted near here last night. This will be apt to batter their works for them some.
It is the most quiet day in our front we have had for a long time, hardly a gun on the skirmish line. I have just got up a big slime, viz: knocked the ink “galley west” but you must excuse me for I have to hold it in my lap.
I fear the drought is going to be quite a big thing among the farmers in the North, but I hope they will be happily disappointed in reference to the crops and that they will turn out better than is expected.
How does Uncle Zina’s meadows harvest this summer? They always are so good. I wish some of them would correspond with me that could keep me posted in regard to such matters, which are of great interest to me. I had a letter from Cousin Fan in which she spoke of several little affairs, so small in fact that she saw fit to make sort of an apology, and I have not had a more interesting letter from anyone since I came in service excepting from you and it was just because she thought of little things that I wanted to know that the rest don’t think of. Among the things that she told me was that uncle Nat’s “Dolly” had a little colt, and about the old dog “Major” and the “Sam cat.”
I often wonder if my old kitten is still living. I never dream of home but what the cat and all the little things have their place in the picture. Everything at home and at places where I have lived out, is as vivid in my mind as though it were but yesterday, and it interests me to know the great changes that must take place in two years. It will soon be two years since we left home, and I do most earnestly hope that I shall be given as much courage to sustain me through another long year, if the war should continue so long.
It would be useless to attempt to describe how my very heart yearns to visit home and see you all once more.
I got a letter from Lem night before last, but you have probably later news from him than I for he is probably home by this time. I knew of this some time ago but he did not want I should say anything so he could surprise the folks. If anything has happened that he is not there yet, you must not say anything till he comes. I believe we could employ ourselves pretty well if I was there with him but such is not the case. But when I do come how glad Aunt Sarah will be to see him, and I know for Lem it will be the most intense pleasure he ever enjoyed.
You may wonder what is the cause of all the grease and dirt on the paper which makes the writing so dim, but my hands sweat so that it makes it all dim to touch. You see the paper got a little mussed in the mail but it is first rate. If you send any small commercial note be sure and not double it any but let it remain flat and straight.
My boots which I had last winter I yet wear and they will probably last a month or two longer at least but if Mr. Culver is not busy now he would rather make them than when he is more hurried. I want them made of the same material and the same way only have the tops well nailed, be sure and have the heel plates on.
There is another fellow here in the co. who wants a pair just like mine, he will pay a good price for them. Make them same size that he made my old ones. I shall not want them till we get in camp anyway and perhaps not till fall.
We cannot tell when we will be paid, not till we stop. I will draw $20.00 per month which will be some better than 13.
Give my love to all the folks, and write soon to your own affect. boy.

Will G. Fisher