To William T. Sherman

                                                     Office U.S. Military Telegraph,
Major General Sherman       War Department,
Chattanooga, Tenn.               Washington, D.C., May 4. 1864.

I have an imploring appeal in behalf of the citizens who say your order No. 8 will compel them to go North of Nashville. This is in no sense, an order; nor is it even a request that you will do any thing which in the least, shall be a drawback upon your military operations, but any thing you can do consistently with those operations, for those suffering people, I shall be glad of

A. LINCOLN

Sherman’s General Orders No. 8, April 19, 1864, read in part: “Provisions will no longer be issued to citizens at military posts south of Nashville. When citizens cannot procure provisions in the country there is no alternative but they must remove to the rear. . . . It is idle for us to be pushing forward subsistence stores if they are lavished and expended on any persons except they belong to the army proper.”

On May 5, 1864, Sherman replied to Lincoln’s telegram: “We have worked hard with the best talent of the country & it is demonstrated that the railroad cannot supply the army & the people too. one or the other must quit & the army don’t intend to unless Joe Johnston makes us. The issues to citizens have been enormous & the same weight of corn or oats would have saved thousands of the mules whose carcasses now corduroy the roads and which we need so much. We have paid back to East Tenn. ten for one of provisions taken in war. I will not change my order and I beg of you to be satisfied that the clamor is partly a humbug & for effect, & to test it I advise you to tell the bearers of the appeal to hurry to Kentucky & make up a caravan of cattle & wagons & to come over by Cumberland Gap and Somerset to relieve their suffering friends on foot as they used to do before a railroad was built. Tell them they have no time to lose. We can relieve all actual suffering by each company or regiment giving of their savings. Every man who is willing to fight and work gets all rations & all who won’t fight or work should go away and we offer them free transportation.”

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