Wednesday, June 8, 1864

ACWORTH, GA., June 8, 1864: 1.30 p.m.

Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:

General Blair arrived today, with two divisions of the Seventeenth Corps, about 9,000 strong, having left about 1,500 men in the Allatoona Pass, to fortify and hold it. Colonel Wright, railroad superintendent, reports he will have the Etowah bridge done by the 12th instant. Tomorrow I will feel forward with cavalry, and follow up with infantry the moment the enemy develops his designs. If he fights at the Kenesaw Mountain I will turn it; but if he selects the line of the Chattahoochee then I must study the case a little more before I commit myself.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

I received a message from Secretary Stanton:

WAR DEPARTMENT, June 8, 1864: 2 p.m.

Major-General SHERMAN, Acworth, Ga.:

On Sunday General Hunter fought a battle with the rebels at Mount Crawford, sixteen miles from Staunton, and gained a complete victory. The rebel General W. E. Jones was killed on the field. Our forces occupy Staunton. The rebels are in the mountains between Staunton and Charlottesville. Dispatches from General Grant to this morning report no movements or change of position on either side. General Crittenden has at his own request been relieved from the Army of the Potomac. Do you want him? Mr. Lincoln was renominated by acclamation in the Baltimore Convention today.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War

I replied to Stanton:

ACWORTH, GA., June 8, 1864: 8 p.m.

Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
Am rejoiced at General Hunter’s success on that line. Staunton, Charlottesville, and Lynchburg are points of as much military importance as any in Virginia. I cannot give an active command to General Crittenden without displacing worthy incumbents, who started on the campaign, and are fairly entitled to see it out. I already have General Schurz and Milory on nominal duty, yet I wish Crittenden all honor and success, and will bear his case in mind should the accidents of war create a vacancy. General Hovey, of Indiana, is very discontented that he has not been made a major-general. He has tendered his resignation, and though I esteem him as a man, I shall recommend the acceptance of his resignation. All well here.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

My Engineer, Captain Poe reports from Allatoona:

ALLATOONA, GA., June 8, 1864.

GENERAL: To cover this pass and to guard the Etowah bridge four regiments of infantry and one battery of artillery have been detailed. At the southern end of the pass at least five redoubts will be necessary.
I would, therefore, respectfully suggest that another battery be ordered to remain here, and that rifled guns be prescribed, those now here being light 12s. One section of the rifled guns should go to Etowah bridge and the other four remain here. The guns and troops would then be distributed as follows: At Etowah bridge, one regiment of infantry, two light 12s, and two rifled guns. At Allatoona, three regiments infantry, four light 12s, and four rifled guns.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. M. POE, Captain, &c.

I wrote to Schofield:

Acworth, Ga., June 8, 1864
Major-General SCHOFIELD:

We will not be ready to move tomorrow. Please send a strong detachment of cavalry to reconnoiter down the Sandtown road, if possible, as far as the intersection of the Dallas and Marietta road. It would be well to send along a good section of artillery and a brigade of infantry, say as far as the branch of Allatoona Creek, near Rock Spring, or Hardshell Church. You are aware, I suppose, that General Blair has arrived, and that the railroad bridge over the Etowah will be done by Saturday or Sunday next.

I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

In the Field, Ga., June 8, 1864

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

General Hovey has applied for a leave of absence to await the action of the President upon his resignation. He expresses great dissatisfaction and unwillingness to serve longer with his present command. Can you not by some means give him an equivalent for the five regiments of cavalry sent to Nashville? They were assigned by General Grant to my department, but were otherwise disposed of by you, for good and sufficient reasons.

It would seem but just that an equivalent force be given me in place of those regiments, yet I do not ask it on my own account. I cannot spare General Hovey at this time, unless you can give me a competent division commander to take his place. This I am aware may be very difficult to do. The command in its present shape is far from being a desirable one, as it consists of only six new regiments, with an aggregate of about 3,000 men for duty. Will you please inform me what action you may take upon General Hovey’s resignation.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Major-General, Commanding

In the Field, Acworth, Ga., June 8, 1864

Major-General SCHOFIELD, Commanding, &c.:
I am just in receipt of yours of today relative to General Hovey’s resignation. I cannot consent to General Hovey’s resigning with an erroneous impression that he has been unfriendly dealt by. He raised in Indiana a command of five regiments of infantry and five of cavalry, and brought the five of infantry into the sphere of my authority, and as you were more in need of re-enforcements than either of the other army commanders I assigned them to you. It was with infinite difficulty, and then only on an emphatic order of the Secretary of War, that I could get the cavalry regiments. They would have served out their time in Indiana had I not importunately demanded their services as infantry, admitting the honest truth no amount of money on earth would mount a volunteer division, and that this Indiana cavalry should first serve a year on foot.

They did not even start from Indiana until after we had begun our battles. They are on our railroad and cannot now be spared. I have no other troops to replace them or to swell General Hovey’s command. I will give him time for reflection. He knows the facts, all the facts, and he ought not to complain of me. I have, as you know, always sought to do him honor. I now ask General Hovey’s to name anything he wants except that we shall break up another division to make his up to the standard. Whose division shall we break up? If he resigns we will have to break up his division and scatter it, the very thing he pledged not to allow. I cannot put cavalry and infantry into the same division, nor can I commit myself as to the time when the cavalry he raised in Indiana will be mounted or consolidated with infantry.

The mistake was in the conception of such an idea. It never was done and never can be done, even if Mr. Lincoln promised it. Divisions must be a unit, and five regiments of infantry and five regiments of cavalry will no more make a unit in a good whole than oil and water will commingle.

If General Hovey will allege some other reason for resignation than fancied injustice I will approve his resignation and consent to his leaving, giving an order in the same paragraph that his division be broke up and added to your other two.

I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

Acworth, June 8, 1864
Major-General McPHERSON, Commanding Army of the Tennessee:

We will not be ready to move our armies tomorrow. I wish you to send a strong reconnaissance forward on the main Marietta road as far as the Kenesaw Mountain, keeping to its north. It would be well to send along a section of artillery, and a good brigade should go in support, say as far as the Rocky Hill, or it may be Big Shanty. You may send back to Allatoona another battery if you think fit. I think Blair has still a disproportion.

I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-general, Commanding

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