Sunday, August 28, 1864

NEAR WEST POINT RAILROAD, August 28, 1864: 4 p.m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
Army of the Tennessee is on the West Point railroad near Fairburn; Army of the Cumberland is on the same road at Red Oak; and that of the Ohio will be tonight at Camp Creek. Enemy has made no serious opposition to our movement.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

My plan is not opposed by Hood. He must not know our intentions. We will wreck the railroad to Montgomery so it will be unusable for a long time. Then we will hit the Macon road. I am far enough south of Atlanta that there are places to hit the road that are too numerous to defend. I worry that Slocum will be attacked.

I sent a message to General HOWARD:
General Thomas’ column is on the railroad at Red Oak also; communicate with him up the Newnan road. Do the job of tearing up, burning, and twisting in the most approved style. You can’t do too much of it. I don’t think the enemy yet understand our movement. They have made no effort to stop us, only cavalry holding the road. Schofield reports a force which he thinks may threaten him. In case of heavy battle up our way come up the Newnan road.
General Thomas is in position, his two corps crossing the railroad and facing Atlanta. General Schofield still remains about Mount Gilead Church. We will remain on the road tomorrow, and break it in the most thorough manner possible. General Thomas will work forward and break to you. I want you to do the best job of railroad destruction on record, using General Kilpatrick to cover you while at work, and to explore roads to the east and make such reconnaissance toward Campbellton as would be useful to us in the future; also fill up some cuts in the railroad with logs and trees covered with dirt, so we may rest perfectly satisfied as regards the use of this railroad during the remainder of this campaign. It is more important that each bar of iron should be heated and twisted than a great amount of imperfect work done, for it the iron can be used again in this wooded country ties can be easily supplied.

Thomas Reports:

Near Cook’s House, August 28, 1864

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
I have General Davis in position on commanding ground, his left resting on the railroad, his line extending south to within a mile of the Jonesborough road, from New Hope or Fairburn. I suppose it runs nearly east and west. General Morgan has a strong picket on that road, and General Davis’s right flank is completely covered by the breaks of the ground and General Morgan’s picket. General Stanley has been ordered to post his pickets on the north of the railroad, his left extending toward Mims’ house, and covering the road by which the troops marched. The trains are getting into position on the right and rear of our position. Major-General Howard is about a mile in rear of our right. Will we march tomorrow, or will we remain here to destroy the railroad? I had almost forgotten to report that General Morgan’s picket officer on the Jonesborough road reports that the woman living on that road at his picket-post says that a considerable body of rebel cavalry had passed there, and that they had informed her that the rebel army was moving toward Jonesborough.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding

In the Field, Red Oak, Ga., 6:45 p.m.

Major-General THOMAS, Commanding:
We will remain here tomorrow. I wish the railroad thoroughly destroyed as far forward as possible, and to the rear until you meet General Howard’s troops. Let the destruction be so thorough that not a rail or tie can be used again. My own experience demonstrates the proper method to be: To march a regiment to the road, stack arms, loosen two rails opposite the right and two opposite the left of the regiment, then to heave the whole track, rails and ties, over, breaking it all to pieces, then pile the ties in the nature of crib work and lay the rails over them, then by means of fence rails make a bonfire, and when the rails are red-hot in the middle let men give the rail a twist, which cannot be straightened without machinery. Also fill up some of the cuts with heavy logs and trunks of trees and branches and cover up and fill with dirt. Please given minute instructions on this subject tonight, and have the work commenced as early in the morning as possible, taking proper precaution also to guard against attack on either the working parties or the general position. General Howard has received similar instructions and General Schofield will be moved to your left front.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

I sent the same instructions on railroad destruction to all my commanders.

I write to General SLOCUM guarding the railroad Bridge:
Army of the Tennessee is on the West Point railroad near Fairburn, Cumberland at Red Oak, and Ohio will be on Camp Creek tonight. We will break it good and move on to the other at once. Keep me advised of all things of interest, if possible, via Campbellton, and when you feel strong at the bridge give a help to Marietta. Order as many stores to your position as possible.

Thomas forwarded this message from Slocum’s corp:

Your note of this morning is just received. General Slocum is absent from headquarters along the lines. The firing yesterday was at Turner’s Ferry. The enemy’s cavalry, with a section of artillery, appeared in front of Ward’s division and fired a few rounds, which were returned. After a slight skirmish with our infantry they retired, and all has been quiet since. They have made no demonstrations on Williams’ division at the railroad crossing, though their cavalry picket along the front of that division. On the 26th, Geary’s division, at Pace’s Ferry, had a sharp skirmish with cavalry (dismounted), but nothing since. The demonstration of yesterday amounted to nothing, merely reconnoitering to ascertain whether or not Turner’s Ferry was held by us. The enemy have cavalry on all the roads leading from the river to Atlanta. Our positions at each of the three ferries have been strengthened so as to be perfectly safe, and we have one brigade on the north side of the river at this point, which occupies a portion of the old rebel works, and completely protects the depot and trains here from any attack in the rear.

Colonel Minty has one regiment of cavalry up the river from here toward Roswell Factory and two regiments at Sandtown. The enemy’s cavalry hold Roswell. Their force there is supposed to be about 400. They scout down the river as far as Soap Creek. A patrol this moment returned reports the enemy in front of Ward’s division withdrawn. The patrolling party, starting from Turner’s Ferry, went out on the road to Atlanta three miles, took a road to the left, and came in to our lines again at this point. The general will, I presume, make a reconnaissance tomorrow morning. Is it your intention to keep open the communication by courier line to this point via Sandtown?

Schofield reports:

I occupy the works vacated by General Stanley, with my left resting at Mrs. Holbrook’s. The enemy made a demonstration upon Cox’s right about noon, but got back into his works as quickly as possible upon finding that we were in force. We then withdrew without annoyance. General Garrard is on my left, keeping pace with me and covering the trains. If I do not hear from you before morning, I will move out early on the road taken by Wood this evening until I connect substantially with General Thomas (preserving a front toward East Point) or until I receive your orders. My movement will have to be governed somewhat by the trains, for there is still a vast part of them in this valley.

You had better move your trains by the middle road of the three in front of Mount Gilead Church. It will come out at Red Oak where there are cleared fields on corn – this is the same by which General Thomas moved his trains, and they report it very good. Move your troops by Redwine’s across Camp Creek to Oliver’s house, and thence to General Stanley’s left, about a mile from Oliver’s house, leaving a strong left flank near the Oliver house. Instruct General Garrard to feel eastward from the Oliver house and to reconnoiter well to the east and north, reaching, if possible, the point marked on our map as Trimble’s Mill.

Today, Howard’s corp is destroying the Montgomery Road. Tomorrow they march for Jonesboro and the Macon Road:

Near Fairburn, Ga., August 28, 1864.

II. In pursuance of orders this command will move forward at 7 a. m. tomorrow on the direct route toward Jonesborough, crossing Pond Creek and Shoal Creek, aiming to reach the vicinity of Renfroe Place.

III. Brigadier General W. B. Hazen’s command will have the advance, and will be followed by the commands of Brigadier General William Howard and Major General P. Joseph Osterhaus, respectively.

IV. The same general disposition of trains as indicated in Special Field Orders, Numbers 88, of yesterday, will be observed.

V. Major-General Osterhaus will dispose a sufficient number of troops, with the wagons moving immediately in rear of the column, to protect them.

VI. The rule relating to straggling must be regarded strictly.

VII. Division commanders are hereby directed to act in compliance with instructions contained in Special Field Orders, Numbers 112, Department and Army of the Tennessee, herewith inclosed.

VIII. In accordance with instructions from department headquarters, the movements indicated in Special Field Orders, Numbers 89, extract II to VI, of this date, from these headquarters, are suspended, and will not be made until further orders.

IX. Brigadier General William Harrow, commanding Fourth Division, will forthwith throw out a strong line of pickets well to the east and north of the general supply train parked immediately in rear of department headquarters, in order to prevent any cavalry dash by the enemy upon them.
By order of Major General John A. Logan:
R. R. TOWNES, Assistant Adjutant-General

In the Field, Ga., August 28, 1864.

I. This command will move forward at 7 a. m. tomorrow. The Fourth Division, Brigadier General Giles A. Smith commanding, will have the advance, and will move promptly at the hour indicated, following the Left Wing of the Sixteenth Army Corps. The Third Division, Brigadier General C. R. Woods commanding, will follow immediately in rear of the Fourth.

II. Brigadier General Giles A. Smith, commanding Fourth Division, will cause one of the brigades of his command to report to Captain J. T. Conklin, chief quartermaster, Department and Army of the Tennessee, at 6 a. m. tomorrow, for the purpose of relieving a brigade of the Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, on duty as guard for train. General Smith will please report to these headquarters the brigade assigned to this duty.
By command of Major General F. P. Blair

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Saturday, August 27, 1864


Last night the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps, composing the Army of the Tennessee, drew out of their trenches, made a wide circuit, and came up on the extreme right of the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps of the Army of the Cumberland along Utoy Creek, facing south. The enemy seems to suspect something firing his artillery pretty freely. An artillery-shot, fired at random, killed one man and wounded another. Enemy prisoners report rumors that we are going to retreat altogether. Good.

General Slocum reports from the Chattahoochee:

I have the honor to report that I have today assumed the command of the Twentieth Corps. The corps is in position as directed, at Pace’s, Montgomery’s, and Turner’s Ferries, and intrenched. Yesterday afternoon Geary’s division, at Pace’s Ferry, had some sharp skirmishing with the enemy’s cavalry, capturing a few prisoners. My headquarters are near the railroad bridge.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. SLOCUM, Major-General, Commanding

General Howard reports from Near Widow Forsyth’s:

GENERAL: We had little difficulty in drawing out last night; some shelling. I heard of but one casualty, but we found the roads rough and the bottoms marshy, so that with great difficulty and delay we made the march. General Logan is now pretty well across Camp Creek, about due south from this place.

Logan reports that his corp is in position on a line of ridges extending across Wolf Creek, about three-quarters of a mile south of Aldrich’s house, fronting south-south-east. General Harrow forms the left, General Hazen the center, and General Osterhaus the right. The pickets of General Harrow extend to Camp Creek, and those of General Osterhaus connect with those of the Seventeenth Corps. The position is a good defensive one. Batteries are in position, and the men are engaged in throwing up works.

General Blair is crossing at William Campbell’s, about a mile farther to the right. Kilpatrick reports himself across Camp Creek and about a mile south of Enon Church. Logan’s position is 71. Have no word from Schofield as yet. A great portion of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps have been broken of their rest two nights. I would prefer not to march till tomorrow morning if this will do. My headquarters are on the Campbellton road, near Widow Forsyth’s, one mile east of Dry Pond.

General Garrard was on his way some little time ago to Utoy and probably are this has reported to you. For the safety of our rear against small squads of the enemy and to keep us informed about larger bodies I hope you will see General Garrard, for I do not think he now has a correct notion of the position of the different corps, though he may.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. O. HOWARD,Major-General

Howard Issues Orders for his march tomorrow:

1. While the general commanding assures the officer and men of this army of his appreciation of the very satisfactory manner in which the late delicate and important movements have been made, he desires to call the attention of corps, division, brigade, and regimental commanders, in our future movements in the face of the enemy, to the necessity of keeping the columns well closed up, and preventing straggling by proper rear guards.

2. The artillery especially requires notice, and chiefs of artillery will be held responsible that their batteries are kept constantly closed up, receiving the individual attention of their commanding officers wherever bad places in the roads shall be likely to occasion delay.

3. At the hour of retreat to-day there will be a roll-call in every regiment, battery, and detachment of this command, when every absentee will be accounted for and patrols sent out to pick up stragglers and men who have fallen by the way, weary from the march.

4. The attention of corps commanders is called to the orders, requiring the pioneers corps to accompany the advance of the column, in order thoroughly to repair the roads, and so complete their work that the command can move on without delay.

Further orders from Howard to prepare for the march to Jonesboro:

I. Major General John A. Logan, commanding Fifteenth Army Corps, will cause two bridges across each of the creeks, Camp and Wolf, to be immediately constructed at suitable points in his front.

II. Major General F. P. Blair, commanding Seventeenth Army Corps, will cause two bridges across each of the creeks, Camp and Wold, to be immediately constructed at suitable points in his front.

III. Brigadier General T. E. G. Ransom, commanding Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, will direct the pioneer corps of his command, in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Tiedemann, to report forthwith to Major-General Blair for temporary duty.

IV. In accordance with instructions from headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, this army will move to-morrow at 7 a. m., in two columns, to the vicinity of New Hope Church, situated between Fairburn and Red Oak. The right column will comprise the Seventeenth Corps, Major-General blair, followed by the Left Wing, Sixteenth Corps, Brigadier-General Ransom; the left column, the Fifteenth Corps, Major-General Logan, followed by the general train and a brigade from Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, as rear guard. The routes are being reconnoitered, and will be indicated before the hour of march. Corps and division commanders will familiarize themselves as much as possible with all the roads in their front. In addition to the permanent guard the Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, Brigadier-General Ransom commanding, will furnish a rear guard of one brigade for the general train.

VI. General Kilpatrick will move in such a manner as to cover the right, and, if possible, mask the movement so that the infantry will not be noticed.

VII. 1. Major-General Blair will, at the hour heretofore ordered, move forward with his command, followed by Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, Brigadier-General Ransom commanding, on the direct road in his front toward Sidling, or Shadna, on the West Point railroad 9th same heretofore noted as New Hope).

2. Major-General Logan will at the same hour move forward with the left column on the road in his immediate front, passing by our near Sewell’s, and pursuing a route to the left of that followed by Major-General Blair. He will construct a road to move on beyond Sewell’s, should no practicable route from that point be discovered. The command will go into position to the left of Fairburn, about one-third the distance between that point and Red Oak. The routes to be pursued and the positions to be occupied are indicated on the accompanying map.

Davis removed his Division from across Utoy creek. There was much skirmishing, but Davis does not believe that line to be held by more than skirmishers. He is to move to Mount Gilead Church at tonight.

Schofield plans to move his Army tomorrow after Thomas passes:

TPromptly at daylight the division trains will move out on the Sandtown road toward Patterson’s and join the corps train, leaving a few ambulances with the troops. The entire train will then move in rear of the troops and train of the Fourteenth Corps (not interfering with the latter) via Patterson’s and Mount Gilead to the valley of Camp Creek, in rear of General Stanley’s present position, where it will park until further orders.

As soon as the trains are out of the way and the Fourteenth Corps has withdrawn from its present position, General Hascall will draw back to his new line, covering the Campbellton road, and General Cox will simultaneously draw back to the Mount Gilead road and take position, covering that road, with his left near Mrs. Holbrook’s. When the trains reach their park at Camp Creek General Hascall will move down to Mount Gilead, passing General Cox, and will occupy the position now held by the Fourth Corps as soon as the latter has moved out. General Cox will prepare to throw back his left, so as to cover the road, as soon as General Hascall shall have passed. General Garrard’s cavalry division is to connect with the left and cover the rear of the infantry during the movement. Colonel Garrard will operate from the left of General thomas along the front of the Twenty-third Corps, observing the enemy until the corps, by its advance from Mount Gilead, shall again encounter the enemy’s pickets. Generals Cox and Hascall will keep their skirmish lines, with very strong supports, well out toward the enemy. Orders for further movements will be given during the day.

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Friday, August 26, 1864

NEAR EAST POINT, Georgia, August 26, 1864: 6:45 p.m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
I have moved the Twentieth Corps to the Chattahoochee bridge, where it is intrenched, and with the balance of the army am moving for Jonesborough on the Macon road. Last night we made the first move without trouble; tonight I make the second, and the third will place the army massed near Fairburn. If Hood attacks he must come out, which is all we ask. All well thus far.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

The Twentieth Corps left their trenches without molestation. Their new position along the Chattahoochee is being further fortified with abates to make it near impregnable. Once the troops were in place, the enemy felt their new position and attacked with skirmishers. General Slocum has arrived and will assume command of the corps tomorrow.

The signal corp reports no change in the enemy position:

Lieutenant Fish, of this detachment, was on the station at 7.30 a. m. and reports the following:
The enemy could be seen, gathered in groups, looking intently toward our late lines. At 10.15 a. m. a train of five freight-cars left Atlanta; they appeared to be loaded. At 11 a. m. a few straggling rebels could be seen rambling about the works lately held by the Twentieth Army Corps. These stragglers picked up a few of our men that straggled behind, probably from the Fourth Army Corps, as a portion of that corps were in that vicinity. At 11.30 a. m. a locomotive left Atlanta alone. At 1 p. m. I discovered a column of infantry moving toward the enemy’s left. I did not see the head of column; counted five stand of colors; a portion of the column was mounted infantry, about 300. At 3.15 p. m. a train of twelve box-cars, all empty, arrived in Atlanta. At 4.15 p. m. a train of three passenger and four freight cars arrived in Atlanta with a few passengers aboard. At 5.45 p. m. a train of fifteen freight-cars, a portion of which were cattle-cars, arrived in Atlanta; there were a few men in each car. At 6 p. m. a train of seventeen freight-cars, loaded with what few men in each car. At 6 p. m. a train of seventeenth freight-cars, loaded with what appeared to be army stores, left town; immediately following this freight train was a train of six passenger and two baggage cars, with two extra locomotives attached.

Lieutenant Weirick, of this detachment, reports the following:
All quiet and unchanged, with the exception of rebel skirmishers, who kept up a constant fire at our skirmishers on main lines of Fifteenth Army Corps. At 6 p. m. communicated movements to our right and front.

Captain Raum Reports on a new measure to protect our rear from cavalry raid:

I have directed Colonel Hall to survey a route for a road as near as possible along the railroad between Calhoun and Adairsville, crossing the Oothkaloga Cree railroad bridges. If this route proves practicable I propose opening a wagon road, and throwing two bridges across that creek, and then obstruct all fords on the creek east of the railroad. I have also directed him to erect a stockade for the accommodation of forty men at a point half way between the two block-houses, to which point roads converge from the country.

The enemy cavalry has been raiding our rear without much success. I had the engineers build octagonal block houses that can be defended by a few men and are difficult to assault. These protect the bridges. Cavalry can tear up track but it is easily repaired. Wheeler in in East Tennessee and we are trying to keep him boxed in there.

Here, in front of Atlanta, our second move to cut of Atlanta will be made tonight as the troops on the left of the line leave their positions and quietly move to the right:

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Thursday, August 25, 1864

Near Atlanta, Georgia

We start our movement tonight.

Our movement commences tonight. The Twentieth Corps is drawing back and taking post at the railroad-bridge. The Fourth Corps (Stanley) moved to his right rear, closing up with the Fourteenth Corps (Jeff. C. Davis) near Utoy Creek. Garrard’s cavalry, leaving their horses out of sight, has occupied the vacant trenches, so that the enemy will not detect the change.

General Dodge (commanding the Sixteenth Corps) wounded in the forehead, has gone to the rear, and his two divisions are distributed to the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps. I will miss Dodge. He was a capable commander and ran a successful spy operation.

The enemy are still in the same position:

Lieutenant Fish took his position on lookout station at 7.30 p. m. and reports the following:
At 10.05 a. m. a train of thirteen box and one passenger cars arrived in Atlanta. The doors were shut; could not tell if loaded or not; a few men in passenger-cars. At 5 p. m. a train of fifteen box-cars arrived in Atlanta with between 150 to 200 men on board. They appeared to have other freight besides the men. At 5.35 p. m. a train of three passenger, one baggage, and seven box cars arrived in town. Baggage-car well filled with what appeared to be trunks, and quite a number of passengers. At 6 p. m. a train of eighteen box-cars loaded quite heavy with men and freight left town. At 6.20 p. m. a train of four cattle-cars loaded with men and freight left town, also one box-car with two engines in front; the hind engine had no fire in.

Lieutenant Weirick reports:
Everything of the rebel lines in front of the Fifteenth Corps unchanged. From my own observation the rebel forts and lines as far as I can see appear unchanged. Very little sign of an evacuation. The men on the cars appeared unarmed, probably convalescents. The train of five cars and two engines were well filled with men sitting on top of some kind of freight. One of the engines appeared to be disabled. A fatigue party of forty men and an officer on horseback came from the rebel left and moved to their right a little before dark. The men had picks, shovels, and axes.

Wheelers cavalry is still looking for an opening to attack our railroads. Our forces to the rear are active in blocking his movements and intend to keep him from crossing the Tennessee. I must risk this move to destroy Hood’s last line of supply before he can damage my own. I will force Hood to come out and fight or abandon the city.

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Wednesday, August 24, 1864

NEAR ATLANTA, GA., August 24, 1864: 7.15 p .m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
Heavy fires in Atlanta all day, caused by our artillery. I will be all ready and will commence the movement round Atlanta by the south tomorrow night, and for some time you will hear little of me. I will keep open a courier line with Chattahoochee bridge by the way of Sandtown. The Twentieth Corps will hold the bridge, and I will move with the balance of the army, provisioned for twenty days.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

I rode down to the bridge today to see the lay of ground and the character of the redoubts there so that our movement when begun may proceed rapidly and safely. Our maps will be compiled, and as many roads laid down between Red Oak and Jonesborough as we can be sure of existence.

At the bridge, the works are not ready. It would be well to send pioneers to mark and begin the line for a bridge-head; also a cavalry company could go through the woods in every direction and order all the drift to get over the river. I came round by Turner’s Ferry and found men encamped everywhere; a battery belonging to General McCook. All had better move tomorrow, so that Generals Williams and Stanley will have the road clear. The telegraph superintendent may take up his line tomorrow after 9 o’clock.

My commanders will order down the pioneers and working parties with Lieutenant Ludlow, engineer department, and prepare the bridge-head before the troops come down; the two small redoubts here on this side are inefficient and of little account. It may be the troops will not have time to cover themselves and the bridge before Hood may strike them, as his first impression may and will be that our whole army is retiring.

My commanders are discussing the withdrawal and movement. This is a delicate move and must be done carefully to prevent flanks from becoming exposed. Howard writes that he conferred with General Thomas and learned from him that he intended to cover the movement of the Twentieth Corps with Fourth Corps near Proctor’s Creek, and then move the Fourth Corps at once in rear of Fourteenth. Howard has already made a new flank near Ezra Church and given orders to withdraw the Sixteenth and part of the Seventeenth into the new works in conjunction with General Thomas’ first movement. Howard prefers not to fight a battle in his current position but to withdraw into his new lines with a refused flank.

I approved the movement. Howard is to make the movement tomorrow night and next day according to his better knowledge of the ground. We must take due precaution that all the trains are covered or moved behind the Chattahoochee, under protection of the Twentieth Corps.

I will move my headquarters to Utoy Creek, near the left division of General Schofield somewhere below General Hascall. The telegraph wire will be taken down at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Dispatches must be made before then. Nothing from General Steedman, who is after Wheeler above the Hiwassee.

The Signal Corp reports the following:

At 11.30 a. m. I discovered a column of smoke rising from Atlanta. I examined it closely, but could not determine from what it originated. The fire emitted black smoke for a space of five minutes, then white smoke, something like steam. Heated air could be seen to rise in thick white clouds. It was still burning at dark. At 11.40 a. m. a train of eighteen box-cars left town; doors closed; could not tell if loaded or not. At 4.30 p. m. a train of eighteen box-cars and one passenger-car arrived, all empty. At 4.50 p. m. a train of our passenger and five box cars arrived; they appeared to be empty. At 6 p. m. a train of eight box-cars, loaded with boxes, bundles of clothing or bedding, and other articles, left town, also about thirty-five men on board. The six-gun fort in front of the Seventeenth Corps has part of the embrasures casemated. A battery in the Seventeenth Army Corps almost destroyed one of the casemates to-day; their firing was very good.

Lieutenant Weirick, of this detachment, reports from Captain De Gress’ battery:
I notice the following changes on the rebel lines in front of Fifteenth Army Corps: During the last twenty-four hours considerable timber has been cut in front of their main lines. They have extended and completed some of their advance skirmish pits and pitched some additional tents or flies in rear of main works, apparently officers’ quarters; otherwise their lines appear unchanged.

At 12 m. I received information from General O. O. Howard that it was currently reported that the rebel were evacuating Atlanta. I therefore proceeded to the lookout station and examined entirely the enemy’s lines, but could see nothing to justify the report. A large fire appeared in Atlanta that I could tell but very little about. The smoke appeared like that of burning grain. I then proceeded to Captain De Gress’ battery; while there I discovered considerable movements along the rebel line. They appeared to be fixing up their equipments; most of them moved back to a camp or new line in rear of the one in sight. At 5 p. m. I returned to the lookout on tree and discovered a few men leaving the rifle-pits in front of Twentieth Corps with their equipments; they appeared to be militia. At 6 p. m. I saw four old citizens, well dressed, come out on the big work in front of town. They appeared to be agitated and excited. It is evident from their motion and downcast appearance that there is some move about to take place. Two more large fires occurred, one in the evening and the other at about dark; appeared to be large buildings of some kind. From my observations this afternoon I am satisfied that the enemy are about to make a grand move of some sort. The rebels fired their big gun three times, once before dark and twice after. Very few pieces of artillery in sight.

Colonel Capron is to guard the trains to be moved across the Chattahoochie:
The trains of the Army of the Ohio will be sent to Turner’s Ferry tomorrow, to be placed under Capron’s charge; to act until further orders.

The enemy cavalry is still hanging about our rear. I am satisfied the enemy designs to make desperate attempts on our road. Cavalry usually do so little damage to a road that it can be repaired faster than they damage it. It is important to guard well the vital points, such as bridges and tunnels, and when the enemy scatters, as he is sure to do, pitch into his detachments.

During today and tomorrow morning our troops will send all the surplus men, horses, wagons, ammunition and baggage wagons, &c. and material not absolutely necessary for the success of the expedition, to Vining’s Station, on the other side of the Chattahoochee River, each unit will send a small force to the same place to guard such. Let every preparations for this movement be completed by tomorrow noon. Place a good and reliable division officer of the day, or commander of your division pickets, on duty tomorrow. A staff officer will be sent to you to point out the route of march for your division, and further instructions will be given in reference to the time and manner of withdrawing your pickets.

Efforts to keep our rail supply unimpeded are trying my patience:

In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., Numbers 60. 
August 24, 1864
It being represented by A. W. Smith, special agent of the Post-Office Department, that the mail cars are daily encumbered with about fifty men, detailed by divisions, brigades, and regiments, who profess to be after their mails, but are in reality engaged in traffic, it is ordered:

I. The special agent of the Post-Office Department will be bring the army mail to the nearest practicable point by rail to the army and there deliver the bags only to corps messengers, duly appointed by a corps order, approved by the army commander.

II. Each army corps commander will arrange to receive his mail of the agent of the Post-Office Department at the end of the railroad, and will have it brought to his headquarters and there distributed to divisions, brigades, and regiments, according to his own plan.

III. Army commanders, viz, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio, may send special messengers through to Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville and back, but these must confine their business to that defined in their written orders. The same privilege cannot be conceded to any others, because we have not the facilities of the army.

* * * * *
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

The division of the Twentieth Army Corps will be held in readiness to move tomorrow night, the 25th.

The First Division, with Colonel Harrison’s brigade, of the Third Division, to move to the Chattahoochee River at the railroad bridge; the Second Division to the river at Pace’s Ferry; the Second and Third Brigades of the Third Division to the river at Turner’s Ferry. Positions will be taken at each of these crossings for their protection. At daybreak to morrow morning each division commander will send all of his pioneers, with one regiment from each of his brigades, to the position he is to occupy, for the purpose of constructing intrenchments and abatis. General Ward and General Geary will each send a competent staff officer to locate their lines. Lieutenant Ludlow, engineer, will superintend the erection of the works at the railroad crossing. Major Reynolds, chief of artillery, will assign one battery to each General Ward’s and General Geary’s divisions, to march with them, and during the day tomorrow will select positions at the railroad crossing for the other four batteries, which will march with the First Division. The ordnance and regimental trains of the First and Third Divisions will start early tomorrow, and be parked on this side of the river at the crossings they are respectively to hold.

The trains of the Second Division will march simultaneously with the division, taking an interior road. The caissons of the batteries will accompany the ordnance trains of the division to which the battery is assigned. All trains must be out of the way, so that when the troops commence the march they will have a clear road.

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Tuesday, August 23, 1864

NEAR ATLANTA, GA., August 23, 1864: 11.30 p.m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
All well. Give currency to the idea that I am to remain quiet till events transpire in other quarters, and let the idea be printed, so as to reach Richmond in three days. You understand the effect.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

As near as I can make out the rebels have repaired the Macon road, and we must swing across it. I would like my army to move as soon as possible. Thomas requires more forage and can have enough corn by Thursday. Other forage can be had about Jonesboro. Inasmuch as we have postponed our movement till Thursday night I think it would be well for General Garrard to send out the brigade that did not go with General Kilpatrick out to Stone Mountain tomorrow, and let it break up another five miles of road to make a sure thing of that road.

HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 59. 
In the Field, near Atlanta, August 23, 1864.
In order to carry out the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 2, 1864, and the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury relative to trade and intercourse with States and parts of States in insurrection, and to make the operations of trade just and fair both as to the people and the merchant, the following general rules will be observed in this military division as near as the state of country will permit:

I. All trade is prohibited near armies in the field or moving columns of troops save that necessary to supply the wants of the troops themselves. Quartermasters and commissaries will take such supplies as are needed in the countries passed through, leaving receipts and taking the articles up on their returns. When cotton is found, and transportation is easy and does not interfere with the supplies to the army dependent upon the route, the quartermaster will ship the cotton to the quartermaster at Nashville or Memphis, who will deliver it to the agent of the Treasury Department. It will be treated as captured property of an enemy and invoiced accordingly. No claim of private interest in it will be entertained by the military authorities.

II. In departments and military districts embracing a country within our military control, the commanders of such departments and districts may permit a trade in articles, not contraband of war or damaging to the operations of the army at the front, through the properly appointed agents and sub-agents of the Treasury Department, to an extent proportionate to the necessities of the peaceful and worthy inhabitants of the localities described; but as trade and the benefits of civil government are conditions not only of fidelity of the people, but also of an ability to maintain peace and order in their district, county, or locality, commanding officers will give notice that all trade will cease where guerrillas are tolerated or encouraged, and, moreover, that in such districts and localities the army of detachments sent to maintain the peace must be maintained by the district or locality that tolerates or encourages such guerrillas.

III. All military officers will assist the agents of the Treasury Department in securing possession of all abandoned property and estates subject to confiscation under the law.

IV. The use of weapons for hunting purposes is too dangerous to be allowed at this time, and therefore the introduction of all arms and powder, percussion caps, bullets, shot, lead, or anything used in connection with fire-arms, is prohibited absolutely, save by the proper agents of the United States; and when the inhabitants require and can be trusted with such things for self-defense, or for aiding in maintaining the peace and safety of their families and property, commanding officers may issue the same out of the public stores in limited quantities.

V. Medicines and clothing, as well as salt, meats and provisions, being quasi-contraband of war according to the condition of the district or locality where offered for sale, will be regulated by local commanders in connection with the agents of the Treasury Department.

VI. In articles non-contraband, such as the clothing needed for women and children, groceries and imported articles, the trade should by left to the Treasury agents as matters too unimportant to be noticed by military men.

VII. When military officers can indicate a preference to the class of men allowed to trade they will always give preference to men who have served the Government as soldiers and are wounded or incapacitated from further service by such wounds or sickness. Men who manifest loyalty by oaths and nothing more are entitled to live, but not to ask favors of a Government that demands acts and personal sacrifice.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp

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Monday August, 22, 1864

NEAR ATLANTA, GEORGIA, August 22, 1864: 10 p.m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
General Kilpatrick is back. He had pretty hard fighting with a division of infantry and three brigades of cavalry. He broke the cavalry into disorder and captured a battery, which he destroyed, except one gun, which he brought in in addition to all his own. He also brought in 3 captured flags and 70 prisoners. He had possession of a large part of Ross’ brigade, but could not encumber himself with them. He destroyed 3 miles of the road about Jonesborough, and broke pieces for about 10 miles more, enough to disable the road for ten days. I expect I will have to swing across to that road in force to make the matter certain. General Kilpatrick destroyed 2 locomotives and trains. It has been very quiet with us here. Wheeler is about Athens, Tennessee, and General Steedman will move out against him from Chattanooga.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

I wrote General Steedman regarding Wheeler’s cavalry.
I have your dispatch today relative to attacking Wheeler. I am at General Thomas’ now, and he will see and approve this dispatch. If you have force sufficient send word to Loudon and Knoxville, by the west bank and most rapid way, stating the time and manner of your movement; then concentrate your command at Charleston; send a detachment rapidly up to Columbus to intrench there and picket the river fords. With the balance of your command move rapidly toward Tellico, and there turn on Wheeler, trying to break up his command into fragments, and capture his wagons, artillery, plunder, and all you can. If another plan suggests itself to you I don’t hold you to mine, but give it, as I have been up to that country.

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