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THROUGH GEORGIA AND THE CAROLINAS.
FROM CHATTANOOGA TO ATLANTA.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, ATLANTA, Ga., September 15, 1864. GENERAL-I have heretofore, from day to day, by telegraph, kept the War Department and the General-in-Chief advised of the progress of events; but now it becomes necessary to review the whole campaign which has resulted in the capture and occupation of the city of Atlanta.
On the 14th day of March, 1864, at Memphis, Tennessee, I received notice from General Grant at Nashville that he had been commissioned Lieutenant-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States, which would compel him to go East, and that I had been appointed to succeed him as commander of the Division of the Mississippi. He summoned me to Nashville for a con
ference, and I took my departure the same day, and reached Nashville, via Cairo, on the 17th, and accompanied him on his journey eastward as far as Cincinnati. We had a full and complete understanding of the policy and plans for the ensuing campaign, covering a vast area of country, my part of which extended from Chattanooga to Vicksburg. I returned to Nashville, and on the 25th began a tour of inspection, visiting Athens, Decatur, Huntsville, and Larkin's Ferry, Alabama; Chattanooga, Loudon, and Knoxville, Tennessee. During this visit I had interviews with MajorGeneral McPherson, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, at Huntsville; Major-General Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga; and MajorGeneral Schofield, commanding the Army of the Ohio, at Knoxville. We arranged in general terms the lines of communication to be guarded, the strength of the several columns and garrisons, and fixed the 1st day of May as the time when all things should be ready. Leaving these officers to complete the details of organization and preparation, I returned to Nashville on the 2d of April, and gave my personal attention to the question of supplies. I found the depots at Nashville abundantly supplied, and the railroads in very fair order, and that steps had already been taken to supply cars and locomotives to fill the new and increased demands of the service; but the impoverished condition of the inhabitants of East Tennessee, more especially in the region round about Chattanooga, had forced the commanding officers of posts to issue food to the people. I was compelled to stop this, for a simple calculation showed that a single railroad could not feed the armies and the people too, and of course the army had the preference; but I endeavored to point the people to new channels of supply. At first my orders operated very hardly, but the prolific
soil soon afforded early vegetation, and ox-wagons hauled meat and bread from Kentucky, so that no actual suffering resulted; and I trust that those who clamored at the cruelty and hardships of the day have already seen in the result a perfect justification of my course. At once the storehouses at Chattanooga began to fill, so that by the 1st of May a very respectable quantity of food and forage had been accumulated there; and from that day to this stores have been brought forward in wonderful abundance, with a surplus that has enabled me to feed the army well during the whole period of time, although the enemy has succeeded more than once in breaking our road for many miles at different points.
During the month of April I received from LieutenantGeneral Grant a map, with a letter of instructions, which is now at Nashville; but a copy will be procured, and made part of this report. Subsequently I received from him notice that he would move from his camps about Culpepper, Virginia, on the 5th of May, and he wanted me to do the same from Chattanooga. My troops were still dispersed, and the cavalry, so necessary to our success, was yet collecting horses at Nicholasville, Kentucky, and Columbus, Tennessee. On the 27th of April I put all the troops in motion towards Chattanooga, and on the next day went there in person. My aim and purpose was to make the Army of the Cumberland 50,000 men, that of the Tennessee 35,000, and that of the Ohio 15,000. These figures were approximated but never reached, the Army of the Tennessee failing to receive certain divisions that were still kept on the Mississippi, resulting from the unfavorable issue of the Red River expedition. But on the 1st of May the effective strength of the several armies for offensive purposes was about as follows:
ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND-MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS
ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE-MAJOR-GENERAL MCPHERSON
Grand aggregate number of troops
ARMY OF THE OHIO-MAJOR-GENERAL SCHOFIELD COMMANDING.
About these figures have been maintained during the campaign, the number of men joining from furlough and hospitals about compensating for the loss in battle and from sickness. These armies were grouped on the morning of May 6th as follows: That of the Cumberland at and near Ringgold; that of the Tennessee at Gordon's Mill, on the Chickamauga; and that of the Ohio near Red Clay, on the Georgia line, north of Dalton.
The enemy lay in and about Dalton, superior to me in cavalry (Wheeler's), and with three corps of infantry and artillery, viz., Hardee's, Hood's, and Polk's, the whole commanded by General Joseph Johnston, of the Confed