On May 5, Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson sent a message to his troops in Chattanooga to encourage them for the new campaign. My great-grandfather was a 1st lieutenant in the Army of the Tennessee, and kept a copy of that inspiring and prescient circular:
We are about to enter upon one of the most important campaigns of the war and to measure our strength on the battle-field against a large and well commanded foe…Stand firmly by your posts…the successful issue of the battle may depend upon your individual bravery and the stubbornness with which you hold your position. –Maj. Gen. Jas. B. McPherson
On July 22, Atlanta still untaken, McPherson was meeting with Sherman when they heard cannon fire from an unexpected direction. McPherson rode out to investigate the source, taking only a few other officers with him. They rode into a party of the Fifth Confederate Tennessee regiment sneaking through the woods, in a break between the Union’s 16th and 17th Corps. McPherson wheeled his horse to try to escape but was shot by a Confederate corporal. The ball found his heart.”I have lost my bower,” General Sherman grieved. He wrote again in regret and sympathy to Miss Hoffman. Upon hearing of her fiance’s death, the lovely Miss Hoffman went into her room and remained there for a year. She never married.