James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
war fell dead. His sudden loss, telegraphed Sherman, was a heavy blow to me.1 This misfortune, together with the Confederate claims of victory, undoubtedly accounted in some measure for the lack of comprehension of what had really been gained during the month of July; at all events a general impression seemed to prevail that Sherman had been checked before Atlanta. In point of fact Hoods army had been crippled and, after the third battle, he did not again attack Sherman for more than a month.
The general apathy and discouragement took form in certain quarters of a yearning for peace. The mercantile classes are longing for it, wrote Lowell. During July Horace Greeley thought that negotiations for peace should be opened and, commissioned by the President, made an effort in that direction. Lincoln was willing to make peace on the basis of the restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery. Two self-constituted envoys, hoping to stop the war, went on an irregular mission to Richmond and had an interview with Jefferson Davis. Both of these attempts were barren of result.2
Though the military situation was already sufficiently depressing, the North had not yet come to the end of its misfortunes. A promising attempt to capture Petersburg through blowing up a portion of the Confederate works, by a huge mine charged with powder, failed through the inefficiency of a corps commander and the incompetence and cowardice of a division general, who were unequal to their opportunity after the mine had properly done its work. The casualties were great, the blundering was indisputable. This affair intensified the dejection in the Army of the Potomac and in the country at large. I feel rather down in