Meanwhile Back at the Ranch
Sherman is deservedly pleased with himself right about now. As he put it in a letter to a friend “I have brought this army to the Banks of the Chattahoochee 130 miles (yes, as measured on the Interstate) and no part of it has been a day without ample supplies of food, ammunition, clothing and all that is essential”. (Thank you good people of Georgia, and welcome to the realization that war truly is hell). Sherman is one of the early practitioners of total war – that civilians must be made to realize the cost of war as well as soldiers. If the civilian population is not threatened (and remember, up until this time Georgia had been far from the front lines. Yes there had been shortages, but no real want) then there is not the urgency to call a halt to this nonsense.
Inside Atlanta, people are starting to worry. More realistically, people are starting to get frantic. The press insists that Sherman is winning only because he’s “not fighting fairly”, by flanking instead of standing up and slugging it out like a “real” general. This is starting to have a rather hollow ring to it as the guns get closer and closer, and the citizens of Atlanta can hear distinct battle sounds.
On 17 July, Sherman sends his army forward and reaches Peach Tree Creek, while a branch of his cavalry cuts the railroad lines east of the city. Told you the railroads were important. At this time, rumors are spreading that General Johnston is going to be replaced.