General William T. Sherman addresses the defenders of Atlanta

"I gave notice . . . as early as the 4th of September, to General Halleck, in a letter concluding with these words:

If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, not a popularity-seeking. If they want peace, they and their relatives must stop the war. I knew of course, that such a measure would be strongly criticized, but made up my mind to do it with the absolute certainly of justness, and that time would sanction its wisdom. I knew that the people of the South would read in this measure two important conclusions: one, that we were in earnest; and the other, if they were sincere in their common and popular clamor "to die in
last ditch," that the opportunity would soon come. . . ."