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About this time several changes in important commands occurred, which should be noted. General Hooker, offended that General Howard was preferred to him as the successor of GenTwentieth corps, to which General Slocum was appointed; but he was at Vicksburg, and until he joined, the command of the corps devolved on General H. S. Williams, who handled it admirably. General Palmer also resigned the command of the Fourteenth corps, and General Jeff. C. Davis was appointed to his place. Major-General D. S. Stanley had succeeded General Howard in the command of the Fourth
had marched early for Turner's ferry, but many of the roads laid down on our maps did not exist at all, and General Morgan was delayed thereby. I rode back to make more particular inquiries as to this division, and had just reach-eral McPherson, resigned his command of the ed General Davis' headquarters at Proctor's creek when I heard musketry open heavily on the right. The enemy had come out of Atlanta by the Bell's ferry road, and formed his masses in the open fields behind a swell of ground, and after the artillery firing I have described, advanced in parallel lines directly against the Fifteenth corps, expecting to catch that flank in air. His advance was magnificent, but founded in an error that cost him sadly, for our men coolly and deliberately cut down his men, and spite of the efforts of the rebel officers, his ranks broke and fled. But they were rallied again and again, as often as six times at some points, and a few of the rebel officers and men reached our lines of rail piles only to be killed or hauled over as prisoners.
These assaults occurred from noon until about four P. M., when the enemy disappeared, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands; as many as six hundred and forty-two dead were counted and buried, and still others are known to have been buried which were not counted by the regularly detailed burial-parties.
General Logan on this occasion was conspicuous, as on the twenty-second, his corps being chiefly engaged; but General Howard had drawn from the other corps, Sixteenth and Seventeenth, certain reserves which were near at hand but not used. Our entire loss is reported less than six hundred, whereas that of the enemy in killed and wounded was not less than five thousand. Had General Davis' division come up on the Bull's ferry road as I calculated, at any time before four o'clock, what was simply a complete repulse would have been a disastrous rout to the enemy; but I cannot attribute the failure to want of energy or intelligence, and must charge it, like many other things in this campaign, to the peculiar, tangled nature of the forests and absence of roads that would admit the rapid movement of troops.
This affair terminated all efforts of the enemy to check our extension by the flank, which afterward proceeded with comparative ease, but he met our extensions to the south by rapid and well-constructed forts and rifle-pits, built between us and the railroad, to and below East Point, remaining perfectly on the defensive.
Finding that the right flank of the Army of the Tennessee did not reach, I was forced to shift General Schofield to that flank also, and afterward General Palmer's corps of General Thomas' army. General Schofield moved from the left on the first of August, and General Palmer's corps followed at once, taking a line below Utoy creek, and General Schofield prolonged it to a point near East Point. The enemy made no offensive opposition, but watched our movements and extended his lines and parapets accordingly.
From the second to the fifth we continued to extend to the right, demonstrating strongly on the left and along our whole line. General Reiley's brigade of General Cox's division, General Schofield's army, on the fifth, tried to break through the enemy's line about a mile below Utoy creek, but failed to carry the position, losing about four hundred men, who were caught in the entanglements and abatis; but the next day the position was turned by General Hascall, and General Schofield advanced his whole line close up to and facing the enemy below Utoy creek, Still he did not gain the desired foothold on either the West Point or Macon railroad. The enemy's line at that time must have been nearly fifteen miles long, extending from near Decatur to below East Point. This he was enabled to do by the use of a large force of State militia, and his position was so masked by the shape of the ground that we were unable to discover the weak parts.
I had become satisfied that, to reach the Macon road, and thereby control the supplies for Atlanta, I would have to move the whole army; but before beginning I ordered down from Chattanooga four four and a half inch rifled guns, to try their effect. These arrived on the tenth, and were put to work night and day, and did execution on the city, causing frequent fires, and creating confusion, yet the enemy seemed determined to hold his forts, even if the city should be destroyed. On the sixteenth of August I made my Orders, number fifty-seven, prescribing the mode and manner of executing the grand movement by the right flank, to begin on the eighteenth. This movement contemplated the withdrawal of the Twentieth corps, General Williams, to the intrenched position at the Chattahoochee bridge, and the march of the main army to the West Point railroad, near Fairburn, and afterward to the Macon road, at or near Jonesboro', with our wagons loaded with provisions for fifteen days. About the time of the publication of these orders I learned that Wheeler, with a large mounted force of the enemy, variously estimated from six thousand to ten thousand men, had passed around by the east and north, and had made his appearance on our lines of communication near Adairsville, and had succeeded in capturing nine hundred of our beef cattle, and had made a break of the rail
road near Calhoun. I could not have asked anything better, for I had provided well against such a contingency, and this detachment left me superior to the enemy in cavalry. I suspended the execution of my orders for the time being, and ordered General Kilpatrick to make up a well-appointed force of about five thousand cavalry, and to move from his camp about Sandtown during the night of the eighteenth to the West Point road, and break it good near Fairburn; thence to proceed across to the Macon road, and tear it up thoroughly; to avoid as far as possible the enemy's infantry, but to attack any cavalry he could find. I thought this cavalry would save the necessity of moving the main army across, and that in case of his success it would leave me in better position to take full advantage of the result.
field remaining in position. This was effected with the loss of but a single man in the Army of the Tennessee, wounded by a shell from the enemy. The third movement brought the Army of the Tennessee on the West Point railroad, above Fairburn, the Army of the Cumberland about Red Oak, and General Schofield closed in near Digs and Mins. I then ordered one day's work to be expended in destroying that road, and it was done with a will. Twelve and one half miles were destroyed, the ties burned, and the iron rails heated and tortured by the utmost ingenuity of old hands at the work. Several cuts were filled up with the trunks of trees, with logs, rock, and earth intermingled with loaded shells, prepared as torpedoes, to explode in case of an attempt to clear them out. Having personally inspected this work, and satisfied with its execution, I ordered the whole army to move the next day eastward by several roads. General Howard on the right toward Jonesboro', General Thomas, the centre, by Shoal Creek Church to Couch's, on the Decatur and Fayettville road, and General Schofield, on the left, about Morrow's mills. An inspection of the map will show the strategic advantages of this position. The railroad from Atlanta to Macon follows substantially the ridge or "divide" between the waters of Flint and Ocmulgee rivers, and from East Point to Jonesboro' makes a wide bend to the east. Therefore, the position I have described, which had been well studied on paper, was my first "objective." It gave me "interior lines," something our enemy had enjoyed too long, and I was anxious for once to get the inside track, and therefore my haste and desire to secure it.
General Kilpatrick got off at the time appointed, and broke the West Point road, and afterward reached the Macon road at Jonesboro', where he whipped Ross' cavalry and got possession of the railroad, which he held for five hours, damaging it considerably; but a brigade of the enemy's infantry which had been de- | spatched below Jonesboro' in cars was run back, and disembarked, and with Jackson's rebel cavalry, made it impossible for him to continue his work. He drew off to the east, and made a circuit, and struck the railroad about Lovejoy's station, but was again threatened by the enemy, who moved on shorter lines, when he charged through their cavalry, taking many prisoners, of whom he brought in seventy, and captured a four-gun battery, which he destroyed, except one gun, which he brought in. He estimated the damage done to the road as enough to interrupt its use for ten days, after which he The several columns moved punctually on the returned by a circuit north and east, reaching morning of the twenty-ninth. General Thomas, Decatur on the twenty-second. After an inter- on the centre, encountered little opposition or view with General Kilpatrick, I was satisfied difficulty save what resulted from the narrow that whatever damage he had done would not roads, and reached his position at Couch's early produce the result desired, and I renewed my in the afternoon. General Schofield, being orders for the movement of the whole army. closer to the enemy, who still clung to East This involved the necessity of raising the siege Point, moved cautiously on a small circle around of Atlanta, taking the field with our main force, that point, and came into position toward Roughand using it against the communications of At-and-Ready; and General Howard, having the lanta instead of against its intrenchments. All outer circle, had a greater distance to move. He the army commanders were at once notified to encountered cavalry, which he drove rapidly to send their surplus wagons, encumbrances of all the crossing of Shoal creek, where the enemy kinds, and sick, back to our intrenched position also had artillery. Here a short delay occurred, at the bridge, and that the movement would be- and some cannonading and skirmishing, but gin during the night of the twenty-fifth. Ac- General Howard started them again, and kept cordingly, all things being ready, the Fourth them moving, passed the Renfro place on the corps, General Stanley, drew out of its lines on Decatur road, which was the point indicated for our extreme left, and marched to a position be- him in the orders of that day, but he wisely and low Proctor's creek. The Twentieth corps, well kept on and pushed on toward Jonesboro', General Williams, moved back to the Chatta- saved the bridge across Flint river, and did not hoochee. This movement was made without halt until darkness compelled him, within half a loss, save a few things left in our camps by mile of Jonesboro'. Here he rested for the thoughtless officers or men. The night of the night, and on the morning of August thirty-first, twenty-sixth the movement continued, the Army finding himself in the presence of a heavy force of the Tennessee drawing out and moving rap- of the enemy, he deployed the Fifteenth corps idly by a circuit, well toward Sandtown and and disposed the Sixteenth and Seventeenth on across Camp creek, the Army of the Cum- its flanks. The men covered their front with the berland below Utoy creek, General Scho- usual parapet, and were soon prepared to act
offensively or defensively, as the case called
four P. M., General Davis was all ready, and assaulted the enemy's lines across open fields, carrying them very handsomely, and taking as prisoners the greater part of Govan's brigade, including its commander, with two four-gun batteries. Repeated orders were sent to Gen
I was that night with General Thomas at Couch's, and as soon as I learned that General Howard had passed Renfro's, I directed General Thomas to send to that place a division of General Jeff. C. Davis' corps, to move General Stan-erals Stanley and Schofield to hurry up, but the ley's corps in connection with General Schofield's toward Rough-and-Ready, and then to send forward due east a strong detachment of General Davis' corps to feel for the railroad. General Schofield was also ordered to move boldly forward and strike the railroad near Rough-andReady. These movements were progressing during the thirty-first, when the enemy came out of his works at Jonesboro' and attacked General Howard in position described. General Howard was admirably situated to receive him, and repulsed the attack thoroughly. The enemy attacked with Lee's and Hardee's corps, and after a contest of over two hours, withdrew, leaving over four hundred dead on the ground, and his wounded, of which about three hundred were left in Jonesboro', could not have been much less than two thousand five hundred. Hearing the sounds of battle at Jonesboro' about noon, orders were renewed to push the other movements on the left and centre, and about four P. M., the reports arrived simultaneously that General Howard had thoroughly repulsed the enemy at Jonesboro'; that General Schofield had reached the railroad a mile below Rough-and-Ready, and was working up the road, breaking it as he went; that General Stanley of General Thomas' army, had also got the road below General Schofield and was destroying its working south, and that General Baird of General Davis' corps had struck it still lower down within four miles of Jonesboro'.
difficult nature of the country and the absence of roads are the reasons assigned why these troops did not get well into position for attack before night rendered further operations impossible. Of course the next morning the enemy was gone, and had retreated south. About two o'clock that night the sounds of heavy explosions were heard in the direction of Atlanta, distant about twenty miles, with a succession of minor explosions, and what seemed like the rapid firing of cannon and musketry. These continued for about an hour, and again about four A. M. occurred another series of similar discharges, apparently nearer us, and these sounds could be accounted for on no other hypothesis than of a night attack on Atlanta by General Slocum or the blowing up of the enemy's maga zines. Nevertheless, at daybreak, on finding the enemy gone from his lines at Jonesboro', I ordered a general pursuit south, General Thomas following to the left of the railroad, General Howard on its right, and General Schofield keeping off about two miles to the east. We overtook the enemy again near Lovejoy's station, in a strong, intrenched position, with his flanks well protected behind a branch of Walnut creek to the right, and a confluent of the Flint river to his left. We pushed close up and reconnoitered the ground, and found he had evidently halted to cover his communication with the McDonough and Fayetteville roads.
cease, and the troops to be held in hand, ready for any movement that further information from Atlanta might warrant.
Rumors began to arrive through prisoners Orders were at once given for all the army to captured that Atlanta had been abandoned turn on Jonesboro', General Howard to keep the during the night of September first; that Hood enemy busy while General Thomas should move had blown up his ammunition-trains, which acdown from the north, with General Schofield on counted for the sounds so plainly heard by us, his left. I also ordered the troops as they and which were yet unexplained; that Stewart's moved down to continue the thorough destruc- corps was then retreating toward McDonough, tion of the railroad, because we had it then and and that the militia had gone off toward CovingI did not know but that events might divert our ton. It was then too late to interpose and preattention. General Garrard's cavalry was di- vent their escape, and I was satisfied with the rected to watch the roads to our rear, the north. substantial success already gained. AccordingGeneral Kilpatrick was sent south, down the westly I ordered the work of destroying railroad to bank of Flint, with instructions to attack or threaten the railroad below Jonesboro'. I expected the whole army would close down on Jonesboro' by noon of the first of September. General Davis' corps, having a shorter distance to travel, was on time, and deployed, facing south, his right in connection with General Howard, and his left on the railroad. General Stanley and General Schofield were coming down along the Rough-and-Ready road, and along the railroad, breaking it as they came. When General Davis joined to General Howard, General Blair's corps, on General Howard's left, was thrown in reserve, and was immediately sent well to the right below Jonesboro', to act against that flank along with General Kilpatrick's cavalry. About
General Jeff. C. Davis' corps had been left above Jonesboro', and General Garrard's cavalry was still further back, and the latter was ordered to send back to Atlanta and ascertain the exact truth and the real situation of affairs. But the same night, viz.: of September fourth, a courier arrived from General Slocum, reporting the fact that the enemy had evacuated Atlanta, blown up seven trains of cars, and had retreated on the McDonough road. General Slocum had entered and taken possession on the second of September.
The object of my movement against the rail
road was, therefore, already reached and concluded, and as it was idle to pursue our enemy in that wooded country with a view to his capture, I gave orders on the fourth for the Army to prepare to move back slowly to Atlanta. On the fifth we drew back to the vicinty of Jonesboro', five miles, where we remained a day. On the seventh we moved to Rough-and-Ready, seven miles, and the next day to the camps selected, viz.: the Army of the Cumberland_grouped round about Atlanta, the Army of the Tennessee about East Point, and that of the Ohio at Decatur, where the men now occupy clean and healthy camps.
most skilful, but a wonderfully ingenious, industrious, and zealous officer, and I can hardly do him justice. In like manner the officers charged with running the trains have succeeded to my entire satisfaction, and have worked in perfect harmony with the Quartermasters and Commissaries, bringing forward abundant supplies with such regularity that at no one time have we wanted for provisions, forage, ammunition, or stores of any essential kind.
Colonel L. C. Easton, Chief Quartermaster, and Colonel A. Beckwith, Chief Commissary, have also succeeded, in a manner surprising to all of us, in getting forward supplies. I doubt if ever an army was better supplied than this, and I commend them most highly for it, because I know that more solicitude was felt by the Lieutenant-General commanding, and by the military world at large, on this than on any other one problem involved in the success of the campaign.
I have not yet received full or satisfactory accounts of Wheeler's operations to our rear, further than that he broke the road about Calhoun and then made his appearance at Dalton, where Colonel Laïbold held him in check until General Steedman arrived from Chattanooga and drove him off. He then passed up into East Tennessee, and made quite a stay at Athens; Captain T. G. Baylor, Chief Ordnance Officer, but on the first show of pursuit, he kept on has in like manner kept the army well supplied north across the Little Tennessee; and crossing at all times with every kind of ammunition. To the Holston near Strawberry Plains, reached the Captain O. M. Poe, Chief Engineer, I am more Clinch near Clinton, and passed over toward Se- than ordinarily indebted for keeping me supquatchee and McMinnville. Thence he seems plied with maps and information of roads and to have gone to Murfreesboro and Lebanon, and topography, as well as in the more important across to Franklin. He may have committed branch of his duties in selecting lines and milidamage to the property of citizens, but has in-tary positions. My own personal staff has been jured us but little, the railroads being repaired small but select. about as fast as he broke them. From Franklin he has been pursued toward Florence, and out of the State by Generals Rousseau, Steedman, and Granger; but what amount of execution they have done to him is not yet reported. Our roads and telegraph are all repaired, and the cars run with regularity and speed. It is proper to remark in this place, that during the operation of this campaign, expeditions were sent out from Memphis and Vicksburg to check any movements of the enemy's forces in Mississippi upon our communications. The manner in which this object was accomplished reflects credit upon Generals A. J. Smith, Washburn, Slocum, and Mower; and, although General Sturgis' expedition was less successful than the others, it assisted us in the main object to be accomplished.
I must bear full and liberal testimony to the energetic and successful management of our railroads during the campaign. No matter when or where a break has been made, the repair train seemed on the spot, and the damage was repaired generally before I knew of the break. Bridges have been built with surprising rapidity, and the locomotive whistle was heard in our advanced camps almost before the echoes of the skirmish fire had ceased. Some of these bridges those of the Oostanula, the Etowah, and Chattahoochee-are fine, substantial structures, and were built in inconceivably short time, almost out of material improvised on the spot.
Colonel W. W. Wright, who has charge of the "construction and repairs," is not only a
Brigadier-General W. F. Barry, an officer of enlarged capacity and great experience, has filled the office of Chief of Artillery to perfection, and Lieutenant-Colonel E. D. Hittoe, Chief Medical Inspector, has done everything possible to give proper aid and direction to the operations of that important department. I have never seen the wounded removed from the field of battle, cared for, and afterward sent to proper hospitals in the rear with more promptness, system, care, and success, than during this whole campaign, covering over one hundred days of actual battle and skirmish.
My Aides-de-Camp, Major J. C. McCoy, Captain L. M. Dayton and Captain J. C. Audenried have been ever zealous and most efficient, carrying my orders day and night to distant points of our extended lines, with an intelligence and zeal that ensured the perfect working of ma chinery covering from ten to twenty-five miles of ground, when the least error in the delivery or explanation of an order would have produced confusion; whereas, in great measure owing to the intelligence of these officers, orders have been made so clear that these vast armies have moved side by side, sometimes crossing each other's tracks through a difficult country of over a hundred and thirty-eight miles in length, without confusion or trouble.
Captain Dayton has also fulfilled the duties of my Adjutant-General, making all orders and carrying on the official correspondence.
Three Inspectors-General completed my staff. Brigadier-General J. M. Corse, who has since been assigned the command of a division of the
Sixteenth corps, at the request of General
These officers, of singular energy and intelligence, have been of immense assistance to me in handling these large armies.
My three "armies in the field" were commanded by able officers, my equals in rank and experience. Major-General George H. Thomas, Major-General J. M. Schofield, and Major-General 0. O. Howard. With such commanders I had only to indicate the object desired, and they accomplished it. I cannot overestimate their services to the country, and must express my deep and heartfelt thanks that, coming together from different fields, with different interests, they have co-operated with a harmony that has been productive of the greatest amount of success and good feeling. A more harmonious army does not exist.
I now enclose their reports, and those of the corps, division, and brigade commanders, a perusal of which will fill up the sketch which I have endeavored to make. I also submit tabular statements of our losses in battle by wounds and sickness; also, lists of prisoners captured, sent to the rear, and exhanged; also, of the guns and materials of war captured, besides the important country, towns, and arsenals of the enemy that we now "occupy and hold." All of which is respectfully submitted. W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General Commanding.
Major-General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION,
IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GA., Sept. 9, 1864.
General J. B. Hood, Commanding Army of Tennessee, Confederate Army:
forts and men. You defended Atlanta on a line so close to town that every cannon shot and many musket-balls from our line of investment, that overshot their mark, went into the hab itations of women and children. General Hardee did the same at Jonesboro', and General Johnston did the same last summer at Jackson, Mississippi. I have not accused you of heartless cruelty, but merely instance these cases of very recent occurrence, and could go on and enumerate hundreds of others, and challenge any fair man to judge which of us has the heart of pity for the families of a brave people.
I say that it is kindness to these families of Atlanta to remove them now, at once, from the scenes that women and children should not be exposed to, and the "brave people” should scorn to commit their wives and children to the rude barbarians who thus, as you say, violate the laws of war, as illustrated in the pages of its dark history.
In the name of common sense I ask you not to appeal to a just God in such a sacrilegious manner. You, who in the midst of peace and prosperity, have plunged a nation into war, dark and cruel war, who dared and badgered us to battle, insulted our flag, seized our arsenals and forts that were left in the honorable custody of a peaceful ordnance sergeant, and seized and made prisoners of war, the very garrisons sent to protect your people against negroes and Indians.
Long before any overt act was committed by the, to you, hateful Lincoln Government, you tried to force Kentucky and Missouri into rebellion in spite of themselves, falsified the vote of Louisiana, turned loose your pirates to plunder unarmed ships, expelled Union families by thousands, burned their homes, and declared by an act of your Congress the confiscation of all debts due Northern men for goods had and received.
Talk thus to Marines, but not to me, who have seen these things, and who will this day make as much sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as the best-born Southron among you. GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge If we must be enemies let us be men, and fight the receipt of your letter of this date, at the it out as we propose to do, and not deal in such hands of Messrs. Ball & Crew, consenting to the hypocritical appeals to God and humanity. arrangements I had proposed to facilitate the God will judge us in due time, and he will proremoval south of the people of Atlanta, who pre-nounce whether it will be more humane to fight fer to go in that direction. I enclose you a copy of my orders, which will, I am satisfied, accomplish my purpose perfectly. You style the measure proposed "unprecedented," and appeal to the dark history of war for a parallel, as an act of "studied and ingenious cruelty." It is not unprecedented, for General Johnston himself, very wisely and properly removed the families all the way from Dalton down, and I see no reason why Atlanta should be excepted.
Nor is it necessary to appeal to the dark history of war, when recent and modern examples are so handy. You, yourself burned houses along your parapet, and I have seen to-day, fifty houses that you have rendered uninhabitable, because they have stood in the way of your
with a town full of women and the families of a
I am, very respectfully,
ETH. B. WADE, A. D. C.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Major-General W. T. Sherman, Commander Mil-