NEAR HEAD OF ALLATOONA CREEK, Fourteen miles west of Marietta, Ga., June 4, 1864-8 a.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
My left is now well around, covering all roads from the south to the railroad about Acworth. My cavalry has been at Acworth, and occupies in force all the Allatoona Pass. I have ordered the railroad to be finished across the Etowah up to Allatoona bridge. General Blair is not yet at Rome, but is hourly expected, and I await him to push on to Marietta and the Chattahoochee.
It has been raining for three days, making roads bad and swelling all the small mountain creeks, which, however, are easily bridged, and run out very soon. It is still raining. As soon as I hear of General Blair, I will swing east by north over to the railroad, leaving Johnston to my right. He is in force, occupying blind and difficult ground, and we continue skirmishing along the whole front, each party inviting the other to attack.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
McCook has been to Acworth and reports all the enemy cavalry at Big Shanty but for a few pickets. He proposes to move his command there tomorrow and attack the cavalry at Big Shanty.
I moved my headquarters this morning to a point in front of the Burnt Church, on the road from Burnt Hickory to Marietta, about one mile due east of the Burnt Church. The probabilities now are that as soon as Blair is heard from, I will order McPherson over about Acworth, east of Allatoona Creek, moving him by the rear of Thomas. McPherson reports a good deal of sharpshooting by the enemy today along his front. The enemy along this part of the line fire from their rifle-pits.
Stoneman reports from Allatoona:
All has been quiet in this region for the past twenty-four hours, except some few shots on the Laughing Gal road last night. The Fifth Indiana Cavalry went into Acworth yesterday morning and found a small party of the enemy’s cavalry, which fled on their approach. I hope to have some rations for the men and corn for the horses at Carter’s Station to-day. I have sent the poorest horses over there to meet the forage. We are in communication with a portion of General Hooker’s infantry on your left and rear.
I should have written you yesterday evening had the party sent you in the morning returned in time to let me know the state of things on the road. The party started out at daylight yesterday morning, but was driven back with the loss of 1 man. It was then sent by another road. I have sent for our pack train to come up to-day, and hope it will get through safe. I repeated yesterday your instructions in regard to the railroad and telegraph. I think you could send a message to-day from Acworth to Washington; certainly from this point with a few hours spent in replacing on poles the wire.
Very respectfully, &c.,
GEORGE STONEMAN, Major-General
I had Dayton write the following orders:
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 17. In the Field, near Dallas, Ga., June 4, 1864.
The attention of the general commanding has been called to certain facts which had already attracted his own attention, and concerning which he orders:
I. In case of skirmish or battle the wounded must be brought off the field by musicians or non-combatants, distinguished by a badge of white cloth on the left arm. In no case, as long as firing continues, should an armed soldier abandon his comrades in battle to attend the wounded. (See paragraph 734, Army Regulations.)
II. Hospital are too far to the rear of their corps and divisions; they should be up as close as possible and covered by the shape of ground and not by distance. The surgeons in charge are responsible that slight wounds or shirking be not the cause of detaining armed men about their hospitals. Each attendant should have at all times about his person the written authority which justifies his presence at the hospital or in passing to and from the command to which the hospital belongs.
III. Shirking, skulking, and straggling in time of danger are such high, detestable crimes that the general commanding would hardly presume them possible were it not for his own observation and the report that at this moment soldiers are found loafing in the cabins to the rear as far back as Kingston. The only proper fate of such miscreants is that they be shot as common enemies to their profession and country, and all officers and patrols sent to arrest them will shoot them without mercy on the slightest impudence or resistance. By thus wandering to the rear they desert their fellows, who expose themselves in battle in the full faith that all on the rolls are present; and they expose themselves to capture and exchange as good soldiers, to which they have no title. It is hereby made the duty of every officer who finds such skulkers to deliver them to any provost guard, regardless of corps, to be employed in menial or hard work, such as repairing roads, digging drains, sinks, &c. Officers, if found skulking, will be subjected to the same penalties as enlisted men, viz, instant death or the harshest labor and treatment. Absentees not accounted for should always be mustered as deserters, to deprive them of the pay and bounties reserved for honest soldiers.
IV. All will be styled skulkers who are found to the rear, absent from their proper commands without written authority of their proper commander. Captains cannot give orders or passes beyond their regimental limits; colonels, beyond brigade limits; brigadiers beyond division limits, &c. The commanding generals of the three departments alone can order officers or detachments with or without wagons back to Kingston or other general depots.
V. If unarmed soldiers are found on horses or mules at a distance from their proper commands or trains any cavalry escort or patrol will make prisoners of the men and appropriate the horses and mules to the use of the cavalry. Orderlies to general officers on duty will be easily recognized by bearing official orders or receipts for the same, but each general officer shall provide his orderlies with an official detail, to be carried with him. Horses and mules sent for forage or to graze should be sent by detachments with arms and military organization, when they will always be respected.
VI. Brigade and regimental commanders are the proper officers to keep their officers and men at their places. The commanding general will, by his inspectors or in person, give this matter full attention, and when the time comes for reports on which to base claims for reward and promotions no officer having a loose, straggling command need expect any favor.
VII. The commanding generals of the three armies will make this order public, and at once organize guards and patrols to carry it into full effect.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp
I will move the army East to the railroad tomorrow.
SPECIAL HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., FIELD ORDERS, In the Field, on Little Allatoona Creek, Ga., Numbers 18. June 4, 1864
I. Tomorrow, June 5, unless the enemy display more force and activity than now, Major-General McPherson will send his wagons to Burnt Church, on the Allatoona road, by a road to the rear of Major-General Thomas’ road, and move with his command by both roads to a point north of and near Burnt Church, ready the next day to move to Acworth, leaving his wagons behind Allatoona Creek.
II. Major-General Thomas will refuse his right behind the creek on which Brown’s Mill is located, and will prepare to move across Allatoona Creek to a point of the railroad in front of Acworth, say Big Shanty.
III. Major-General Schofield will strengthen his position and so dispose of his wagons as to follow Major-General Thomas, and with his troops cover his movements and occupy the point on Allatoona Creek north and east of his present position.
IV. Allatoona will be the point of supply as soon as the railroad bridge can be completed. In the mean time, all trains and detachments at Kingston or Burnt Hickory will be directed to Allatoona, to which end Major-General Thomas will send his pontoons there, to be laid down until the pier and railroad bridge can be completed.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.
General Thomas is authorized by recent act of Congress, been authorized to raise an engineer regiment from the volunteer forces in the Army of the Cumberland that have served or are serving as pioneers, pontoniers, or engineers. Captain William E. Merrill, U. S. Engineers, chief engineer Department of the Cumberland, will organize this regiment.
I wrote a message to Thomas:
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, June 4, 1864: 9.30 p.m.
Major-General THOMAS, Commanding Army of the Cumberland:
Lieutenant Tucker, of your headquarters guard, just from Kingston, comes to know how the train can safely come to you via Euharlee, Stilesborough, Allatoona, and down the road till it meets you at some point on the road from Allatoona to Marietta, and you may instruct it to take that route. It need not even cross the Etowah at the Free Bridge, but come via the railroad bridge, provided you have a bridge of boats to send there. I regard the road hence to Allatoona safe now and thence to Kingston, the only difficulty being at the Etowah River. I think two of Garrard’s regiments could patrol the country south of the Etowah, and he should remain in Allatoona Pass until McPherson gets in front, which I expect the day after to-morrow. These rains will make the country very soft, but will affect the main roads less than the smaller side roads. Therefore, your large trains would do better to come around by Allatoona.
Colonel Wright should be at work on that railroad bridge. This rain will also delay Blair, though I have two staff officers at Rome to urge him forward. I am not certain that he is even yet at Rome. He was not yesterday. I am certain we should move our entire army over to the railroad about Acworth and Andersonville at once, for Joe Johnston is shrewd enough to see that we have begun such a movement, and will prepare the way.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding