This letter was written by a recently resigned Union officer, regiment unknown. He signed his letter with the initials “G. C. S.” and addressed it to his friend “Bedford,” also unfortunately unidentified although we learn from the letter then Bedford had recently been assigned to the staff of Union General John W. Slocum and was with him in Atlanta, Georgia. During the summer of 1864, Slocum commanded the District of Vicksburg and the XVII Corps of the Department of the Tennessee. When Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson was killed in action during the Atlanta Campaign, command of Army of the Tennessee opened up, and when Hooker did not get it he resigned his commission. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman the appointed Slocum to command the XX Corps, which earlier had been formed by merging the XI Corps and XII Corps into a single command. His former XII Corps soldiers cheered their previous commander’s return. When Atlanta fell to Sherman on September 2, 1864, Gen. Slocum and his corps were the first to enter the city. Slocum was occupation commander of Atlanta for ten weeks, during which time he tried to make the occupation as tolerable for civilians as he could.
There is some possibility that. “G. C. S.” was connected with the 72nd Ohio Infantry that occupied Vicksburg at the time but I could not find an officer with those initials. He may also have been connected with one of the USCT Regiments.
September 22, 1864
My dear Bedford,
Your highly esteemed favor of the 29th ult. came to hand today after my patience was quite exhausted with waiting to hear from you.
We have heard of the occupation of Atlanta and of Sherman’s order to citizens loyal and disloyal to vacate. There has always been too many of the latter class permitted to remain at our military posts but I question the policy of sending from their homes those who are loyal or who are willing in good faith to turn to the overtures of mercy and embrace the amnesty offered by Father Abraham. We all rejoice to hear that you are safely through the campaign so far.
My resignation was returned to me today “accepted” and in consequence, am now an American Citizen, not of A. D. [African Descent] unfortunately perhaps, but willing to take the risk of getting my rights with a fair complexion.
All your old friends are well and make frequent inquiry after you. I took tea last evening at Judge [Laurence S.] Houghton’s besides the daughter of the judge [Theodosia], Mrs. Cushing, and a Miss Grafton were present—a very nice party you will say. After tea several officers of the 72nd [Ohio?] came in. Miss Dona was much gratified when I told her you had wished to be most kindly remembered to her. I have not seen Miss Hazelett since you left.
How is General [Henry Warner] Slocum? The ladies here all say they never properly appreciated him until after he was gone & now they earnestly pray for his return. They want him to know it. I congratulate you upon having your fortunes cast with such an officer. General Dennis now commands the 2nd Division, 19th Army Corps—8,000 strong now [and] is at the mouth of the White River. Kuhn is A. A. A. G., Davis [is] C. S. Kuhn is about to lose Miss Williamson. She is now lying very low with typhoid fever and no hopes are entertained of her recovery.
Since you left I had quite an attack of chill & fever that prostrated me completely. Mrs. Wilson & family were very kind indeed. I still occupy the old room and use the same furniture every piece of which serves to remind me of my old chum.
Write a greater length & oftener. I shall be here until Christmas. My respects to the General & staff and believe me as ever, truly your friend, — G. C. S.