HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Resaca, May 14, 1864
General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.
GENERAL: By the flank movement on Resaca we have forced Johnston to evacuate Dalton, and we are on his flank and rear, but the parallelism of the valleys and mountains does not give us all the advantage of an open country, but I will press him all that is possible. Weather fine order. All is working well and as fast as possible. I have announced in orders Mr. Stanton’s dispatch as to the victory at Spotsylvania. Let us keep the ball rolling.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
LAY’S FERRY, May 14, 1864; 9 a.m.
GENERAL: I placed a force at Gideon’s Ferry and Calhoun Ferry and arrived here and reconnoitered, finding the enemy intrenched on the other side, but in light force I should judge. Captain Merrill has arrived, stating he has not seen Colonel Buell nor could he hear anything of him. We have sent out parties to hunt him. I just received a report from Major Wolfley at Calhoun Ferry that the enemy are there intrenched, and have opened a battery on him. Colonel Murray has sent him more men and two pieces of artillery to make all demonstration possible. The only way to get over here will to be fill our pontoons with men in Snake Creek and float across the Oostenaula, making a lodgment below the rebel works, and I have directed a force to be sent down to the mouth of Rock Creek, and will keep quiet while the pontoons are getting here and in readiness. Captain Merrill says the thing is practicable so far as he has been able to discover, and he will go to works at once on the arrival of Buell unless your order to the contrary.
HDQRS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Resaca, May 14, 1864
Your note is received. You exactly conceive my project. The pontoon instead of going direct to Lay’s from the gap, came this way, but it must now be near you. Keep it out of sight till the last moment. Get all things ready under cover for our bridge and make a lodgment by means of all the other boats; there are enough for three bridges. General Sweeny’s division is also on its way, and I want it today (or tonight will do) across the Oostenaula in a strong defensive position out from the river about a mile on the best ground that can be found, and roads cut to the bridges. As soon as one bridge is done, the other should also be made there, if possible. I will send more infantry if necessary. General Sweeny has three batteries. Show him this. He has orders from General McPherson, and will command. You direct the cavalry until I give further orders.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, May 14, 1864.
General MCPHERSON, Commanding Army of the Tennessee;
GENERAL: As I wrote you last night I intended to cross the Oostenaula south by our left, but Schofield has swung round so far to the north or left that time will be lost. The pontoons will be in an hour or so at a point on Snake Creek its mouth, with Captain Merrill, U. S. Engineers, in charge. Send one division immediately with the necessary artillery to effect a lodgment on the other side under direction of your engineer, and as the day develops send other divisions in order, so as to march out from the Oostenaula from about Lay’s Ferry on Rome, keeping the right. You may begin the march at once and follow it up as fast as it is demonstrated that Johnston has retreated in fact. He left nothing at Dalton, and moves in too much order for a retreat.
Therefore be duly cautions, but prompt to engage. If a part of your command gets into Resaca withdraw it to Thomas, who will continue to follow substantially the railroad to Kingston. A division of cavalry, under Corse, has already gone down along the Oostenaula to hold all the crossing places. I will send General Thomas from Villanow by Dirt Town and Dry Creek to cross the Oostenaula above Rome. All this cavalry will be on your right. Howard and Stoneman were last night close on the rear guard about Swampy.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
I am ordering Garrard to break the railroad north of Kingston:
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Near Resaca, May 14, 1864; 8 a. m.
General GARRARD, Commanding Division of Cavalry:
GENERAL: You will move your whole command down the valley toward Rome in one or two columns by Dirt Town or Dry Creek. If you can possibly cross Oostenaula make a strike for the railroad anywhere north of Kingston. Do this in your own way, but do it thoroughly and well. I will commence crossing McPherson about Lay’s Ferry near the mouth of Snake Creek today; he will move on the Rome road; communicate with him but do not wait for him. If it be impossible to cross the Oostenaula with even a raiding force, then threaten Rome, and the Coosa below Rome, that the enemy may not receive provisions, forage, or re-enforcements from that direction.
Make your own arrangements as to wagons and artillery; the less wheels you have, the better; but I leave to you: only act with the utmost possible energy and celerity. Johnston is retreating and is encumbered with wagons. I think he is making for Allatoona, but it is not positively demonstrated yet. The breaking of the railroad north of Kingston is desirable on any hypothesis.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
The war department sends approval:
WAR DEPARTMENT, May 14, 1864; 10 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Headquarters, Resaca:
Your telegram with the gratifying intelligence of the evacuation of Dalton has just been received. You will, for yourself and gallant command, accepts the thanks of the Department for what I hope is the harbinger of still greater success. Our last date from General Grant is 6.30 o’clock last evening. The enemy had fallen back about four miles, and was holding a position that had not yet been attacked. After eight days’ hard fighting our troops required rest. General Butler is operating against Fort Darling, and had at 10 this morning achieved considerable success. An unofficial report states that General Crook had destroyed supplies, and that Sheridan had destroyed Lee’s depot at Beaver Dan and broken the Gordonsville railroad. Your dispatches are promptly forwarded to General Grant, and the victorious shout of your army strengthens the hearts of the Army of the Potomac.
We are sending forward re-enforcements to Grant.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War
General Palmer’s & Schofield’s corps have been engaged with Johnston’s army strongly defending their retreat. The position in front of Palmer’s corps and General Schofield’s right Schofield reports cannot be carried, as they have to advance across wide, clear fields against the enemy’s breast-works, against the upper edge of the fields. They hold their own, however. General Howard is moving in on Schofield’s left, and I am in hopes we will be enabled to take the enemy in flank. General Cox has carried one line of rifle pits in his front and two redoubts. We have taken but few prisoners. They all report, however that Johnston’s entire army is here in the intrenchments, having sent back all their baggage and wagons, and have nothing with them but ambulances.
NEAR RESACA, GA., May 14, 1864; 8 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
We have had hard fighting all day. Johnston purely on the defensive. The place has small detached redoubts, and an immense amount of rifle trenches. We have closed the enemy well in, gaining ground slowly but securely all day. The country is very rough and woody. I will renew the attack at all points tomorrow, and continue till Johnston retreats, and then shall follow. General Sweeny’s division, Sixteenth Corps, with a pontoon train, tried to cross the Oostenaula at Lay’s Ferry, below Calhoun, but was stoutly opposed by a heavy force in the dense timber on the opposite bank. General Howard’s corps followed the enemy down from Dalton, and his right now joins to our main line, and my forces are all united, the line extending from the Oostenaula above to below the town. General Stoneman’s cavalry division is on the east of the river, and General Garrard’s division of cavalry is sent around by the right to cross the Oostenaula, above Rome, if possible, and break the railroad north of Kingston.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General