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4ciate forces, with taint sounds of artillery.
The distance, eighteen
Cheatham, S. D. Lee, and Stewart commanding miles, was too great for me to make in time to VOL. IX.-Doc. 1
DOCUMENTS AND NARRATIVES.
REPORT OF MAJOR-GENERAL SHERMAN.
Major-General H. W. Halleck, Chief of Staff,
his three corps, and Wheeler in command of his cavalry, which had been largely reënforced.
My cavalry consisted of two divisions; one was stationed at Decatur, under command of Brigadier-General Garrard; the other, commanded by Brigadier-General Kilpatrick, was posted near Sandtown, with a pontoon-bridge over the Chattahoochee, from which he could watch any movement of the enemy toward the west.
As soon as I became convinced that the enemy intended to assume the offensive, namely, September twenty-eighth, I sent Major-General Thomas, second in command, to Nashville, to organize the new troops expected to arrive, and to make preliminary preparations to meet such an event.
As heretofore reported, in the month of September the army of the Cumberland, Major-General Thomas commanding, held the city of At- About the first of October, some of the enelanta; the army of the Tennessee, Major-Gen- my's cavalry made their appearance on the west eral Howard commanding, was grouped about of the Chattahoochee, and one of his infantry East-Point; and the army of the Ohio, Major- corps was reported near Powder Springs; and I General Schofield commanding, held Decatur. received authentic intelligence that the rest of Many changes occurred in the composition of his infantry was crossing to the west of the these armies, in consequence of the expiration Chattahoochee. I at once made my orders that of the time of service of many of the regiments. Atlanta and the Chattahoochee Railroad bridge The opportunity was given to us to consolidate should be held by the Twentieth corps, Majorthe fragments, reclothe and equip the men, and General Slocum, and on the fourth of October make preparations for the future campaign. I put in motion the Fifteenth and Seventeenth also availed myself of the occasion to strengthen corps, and the Fourth, Fourteenth and Twentythe garrisons to our rear, to make our communi- third corps, to Smyrna camp-ground; and on cations more secure, and sent Wagner's division the fifth, moved to the strong position about of the Fourth corps, and Morgan's division of Kenesaw. The enemy's cavalry had, by a rapid the Fourteenth corps back to Chattanooga, and movement, got upon our railroad at Big Shanty, Corse's division of the Fifteenth corps to Rome. and broken the line of telegraph and railroad; Also a thorough reconnoissance was made of At- and with a division of infantry (French's) had lanta, and a new line of works begun, which re-moved against Allatoona, where were stored quired a smaller garrison to hold. about a million of rations. Its redoubts were garrisoned by three small regiments under Colonel Tourtellotte, Fourth Minnesota.
I had anticipated this movement, and had by signal and telegraph ordered General Corse to reënforce that post from Rome.
During this month, the enemy, whom we had left at Lovejoy's Station, moved westward toward the Chattahoochee, taking position facing us and covering the West-Point Railroad, about Palmetto Station. He also threw a pontoon bridge across the Chattahoochee, and sent cavalry detachments to the west, in the direction of Carrolton and Powder Springs. About the same time President Davis visited Macon and his army at Palmetto, and made harangues referring to an active campaign against us. Hood still remained in command of the confederate forces, with Cheatham, S. D. Lee, and Stewart commanding VOL. IX.-Doc. 1
General Corse had reached Allatoona with a brigade during the night of the fourth just in time to meet the attack by French's division on the morning of the fifth. In person I reached Kenesaw Mountain about ten A.M. of the fifth, and could see the smoke of battle and hear the faint sounds of artillery. The distance, eighteen miles, was too great for me to make in time to
share in the battle, but I directed the Twentythird corps, Brigadier-General Cox commanding, to move rapidly from the base of Kenesaw, due west, aiming to reach the road from Allatoona to Dallas, threatening the rear of the forces attacking Allatoona. I succeeded in getting a signal message to General Corse during his fight, notifying him of my presence. The defence of Allatoona by General Corse was admirably conduct ed, and the enemy repulsed with heavy slaughter. His description of the defence is so graphic, that it leaves nothing for me to add; and the movement of General Cox had the desired effect of causing the withdrawal of French's division rapidly in the direction of Dallas.
On the sixth and seventh, I pushed my cavalry well toward Burnt Hickory and Dallas, and discovered that the enemy had moved westward, and inferred that he would attempt to break our railroad again in the neighborhood of Kingston. Accordingly, on the morning of the eighth, I put the army in motion through Allatoona Pass to Kingston, reaching that point on the tenth. There I learned that the enemy had On the nineteenth, all the armies were grouped feigned on Rome, and was passing the Coosa about Gaylesville, in the rich valley of the ChatRiver on a pontoon-bridge about eleven miles be- tooga, abounding in corn and meat, and I deterlow Rome. I therefore, on the eleventh, moved mined to pause in my pursuit of the enemy, to to Rome, and pushed Garrard's cavalry and the watch his movements and live on the country. Twenty-third corps, under General Cox, across I hoped that Hood would turn toward Guntersthe Oostenaula, to threaten the flanks of the en-ville and Bridgeport. The army of the Tennesemy passing north. Garrard's cavalry drove a see was posted near Little River, with instruccavalry brigade of the enemy to and beyond the tions to feel forward in support of the cavalry, Narrows, leading into the valley of the Chat- which was ordered to watch Hood in the neightooga, capturing two field-pieces and taking some borhood of Wills's Valley, and to give me the carprisoners. The enemy had moved with great liest notice possible of his turning northward. rapidity, and made his appearance at Resaca; The army of the Ohio was posted at Cedar Bluff, and Hood had in person demanded its surrender. with orders to lay a pontoon across the Coosa, I had from Kingston reënforced Resaca by two and to feel forward to centre, and down in the regiments of the army of the Tennessee. I at direction of Blue Mountain. The army of the first intended to move the army into the Chat- Cumberland was held in reserve at Gaylesville; tooga valley, to interpose between the enemy and all the troops were instructed to draw heaviand his line of retreat down the Coosa, but fearly for supplies from the surrounding country. ed that General Hood would, in that event, turn In the mean time communications were opened eastward by Spring Place, and down the Federal to Rome, and a heavy force set to work in reRoad, and therefore moved against him at Re-pairing the damages done to our railroads. Atsaca. Colonel Weaver, at Resaca, afterward re- lanta was abundantly supplied with provisions, enforced by General Raum's brigade, had re- but forage was scarce; and General Slocum was pulsed the enemy from Resaca, but he had suc-instructed to send strong foraging parties out in ceeded in breaking the railroad from Tilton to the direction of South River, and collect all the Dalton, and as far north as the Tunnel. corn and fodder possible, and to put his own trains in good condition for further service.
of the Pass. The next day, the sixteenth, the armies moved directly toward La Fayette, with a view to cut off Hood's retreat. We found him intrenched in Ship's Gap, but the leading division (Wood's) of the Fifteenth corps rapidly carried the advanced posts held by two companies of a South-Carolina regiment, making them prisoners. The remaining eight companies escaped to the main body near Lafayette. The next morning we passed over into the valley of the Chattooga, the army of the Tennessee moving in pursuit by La Fayette and Alpine, toward Blue Pond; the army of the Cumberland by Summerville and Melville Post-Office to Gaylesville; and the army of the Ohio and Garrard's cavalry from Villanow, Dirttown Valley, and Goover's Gap to Gaylesville. Hood, however, was little encumbered with trains, and marched with great rapidity, and had succeeded in getting into the narrow gorge formed by the Lookout Range abutting against the Coosa River, in the neighborhood of Gadsden. He evidently wanted to avoid a fight.
Arriving at Resaca on the evening of the fourteenth, I determined to strike Hood in flank, or force him to battle, and directed the army of the Tennessee, General Howard, to move to Snake Creek Gap, which was held by the enemy, whilst General Stanley, with the Fourth and Fourteenth corps, moved by Tilton across the mountains to the rear of Snake Creek Gap, in the neighborhood of Villanow.
Hood's movements and strategy had demonstrated that he had an army capable of endangering at all times my communications, but unable to meet me in open fight. To follow him would simply amount to being decoyed away from Georgia, with little prospect of overtaking and overwhelming him. To remain on the defensive, would have been bad policy for an army of so great value as the one I then commanded; and I was forced to adopt a course more fruitful in results than the naked one of following him to the South-West. I had previously submitted to the
The army of the Tennessee found the enemy occupying our old lines in the Snake Creek Gap, and on the fifteenth skirmished for the purpose of holding him there until Stanley could get to his rear. But the enemy gave way about noon, Commander-in-Chief a general plan, which and was followed through the Gap, escaping beamounted substantially to the destruction of fore General Stanley had reached the further end Atlanta and the railroad back to Chattanooga,
and sallying forth from Atlanta through the to Chattanooga; and the Fourth corps above heart of Georgia, to capture one or more of the mentioned, with Kilpatrick's cavalry, were put great Atlantic seaports. This I renewed from in the most efficient condition possible for a long Gaylesville, modified somewhat by the change and difficult march. This operation consumed the time until the eleventh of November, when, every thing being ready, I ordered General Corse, who still remained at Rome, to destroy the bridges there, all foundries, mills, shops, warchouses, or other property that could be useful to an enemy, and to move to Kingston.
On the twenty-sixth of October, satisfied that Hood had moved westward from Gadsden across Sand Mountain, I detached the Fourth corps, Major-General Stanley, and ordered him to proceed to Chattanooga and report to Major-General Thomas at Nashville.
Subsequently, on the thirtieth of October, I also detached the Twenty-third corps, MajorGeneral Schofield, with the same destination; and delegated to Major-General Thomas full power over all the troops subject to my command, except the four corps with which I designed to move into Georgia. This gave him the two divisions under A. J. Smith, then in Missouri, but en route for Tennessee, the two corps named, and all the garrisons in Tennessee, as also all the cavalry of my military division, except one division under Brigadier-General Kilpatrick, which was ordered to rendezvous at Marietta.
Brevet Major-General Wilson had arrived from the army of the Potomac, to assume command of the cavalry of my army, and I dispatched him back to Nashville with all dismounted detachments, and orders as rapidly as possible to collect the cavalry serving in Kentucky and Tennessee, to mount, organize, and equip them, and report to Major-General Thomas for duty. These forces I judged would enable General Thomas to defend the railroad from Chattanooga back, in•cluding Nashville and Decatur, and give him an ariny with which he could successfully cope with Hood, should the latter cross the Tennessee northward.
At the same time the railroad in and about Atlanta, and between the Etowah and the Chattahoochee was ordered to be utterly destroyed. The garrisons from Kingston northward were also ordered to draw back to Chattanooga, taking with them all public property and all railroad stock, and to take up the rails from Resaca back, saving them, ready to be replaced whenever future interests should demand.
The railroad between the Etowah and the Oostenaula was left untouched, because I thought it more than probable we would find it necessary to reoccupy the country as far forward as the line of the Etowah.
Atlanta itself is only of strategic value as long as it is a railroad centre; and as all the railroads leading to it are destroyed, as well as all its foundries, machine-shops, warehouses, depots, etc., etc., it is of no more value than any other point in North-Georgia; whereas, the line of the Etowah, by reason of its rivers and natural features, possesses an importance which will always continue. From it all parts of Georgia and Alabama can be reached by armies marching with trains down the Coosa or the Chattahoochee valleys.
On the twelfth of November, my army stood detached and cut off from all communication with the rear. It was composed of four corps: the Fifteenth and Seventeenth, constituting the right wing, under Major-General O. O. Howard; the Fourteenth and Twentieth corps, constituting the left wing, under Major-General H. W. Slocum, of an aggregate strength of sixty thousand infantry, one cavalry division, in aggregate strength five thousand five hundred, under Brigadier-General Judson Kilpatrick, and the artillery reduced to the minimum, one gun per one thousand men.
The whole force was moved rapidly, and grouped about Atlanta on the fourteenth November.
By the first of November, Hood's army had moved from Gadsden, and made its appearance in the neighborhood of Decatur, where a feint was made; he then passed on to Tuscumbia, and laid a pontoon-bridge opposite Florence. I then began my preparations for the march through Georgia, having received the sanction of the Commander-in-Chief for carrying into effect my plan, the details of which were explained to all my corps commanders and heads of staff departments, with strict injunctions of secrecy. I had als communicated full details to General Thomas, and had informed him, I would not leave the neighborhood of Kingston until he felt perfectly confident that he was entirely prepared to cope In the mean time, Captain O. M. Poe had with Hood, should he carry into effect his threat thoroughly destroyed Atlanta, save its mere ened invasion of Tennessee and Kentucky. I dwelling-houses and churches, and the right estimated Hood's force at thirty-five thousand in-wing, with General Kilpatrick's cavalry, was put fantry, and ten thousand cavalry. in motion in the direction of Jonesboro and McDonough, with orders to make a strong feint on Macon, to cross the Ocmulgee about Planters' Mills, and rendezvous in the neighborhood of Gordon in seven days, exclusive of the day of march. On the same day, General Slocum moved with the Twentieth corps by Decatur and Stone Mountain, with orders to tear up the railroad from Social Circle to Madison, to burn the large and important railroad-bridge across the Oconee,
I moved the army of the Tennessee by slow and easy marches on the south of the Coosa back to the neighborhood of Smyrna campground; and the Fourteenth corps, General Jeff. C. Davis, to Kingston, whither I repaired in perSon on the second of November. From that point I directed all surplus artillery, all baggage not needed for my contemplated march, all the sick and wounded, refugees, etc., to be sent back