Wednesday, June 15, 1864

Big Shanty, Georgia

We advanced our general lines, intending to attack at any weak point discovered between Kenesaw and Pine Mountain; but Pine Mountain was found to be abandoned, and Johnston has contracted his front somewhat, on a direct line, connecting Kenesaw with Lost Mountain. Thomas and Schofield thereby gained about two miles of the most difficult, country, and McPherson’s left laps well around the north end of Kenesaw. We captured a good many prisoners, among them a whole infantry regiment, the Fourteenth Alabama, three hundred and twenty strong.

I wrote to Schofield:

In the Field, Big Shanty, Ga., June 15, 1864

General SCHOFIELD, Mount Olive Church:

In further explanation of my orders of the day I will add: I will be with General McPherson up to near noon; after that with General Thomas’ troops near Howard’s left or Palmer’s right on the Burnt Hickory road. Of course, if an assault must be made on the enemy’s lines it devolves rightfully on the strongest army, and where it will do most good. A break sufficient for me to pass the head of two columns about midway between Kenesaw and Pine Mountain will be best, although, if possible, one near the Sandtown road would be very good. Of course the enemy is strongest on his right, and I doubt whether his left exceeds one division and some cavalry.

I infer from an intercepted dispatch that Jackson’s cavalry is sent, or will be today, on an errand to our rear. Now, if you can mask a column anywhere about Cox’s left as near the Sandtown road as possible, and post it under cover, and secure some hill that will enable you to approach nearer the enemy than you now are, it will be a great point gained. I prefer you should work in your own way, but try to draw to your extreme right flank as much of the enemy’s as you can first. A brigade passing over the barricade near Geary Davis’ house, had seen to the enemy, and deploying well off to your right toward Lost Mountain, taking all the cover possible, and moving about with considerable eccentricity, would have the desired effect; whilst the real column, as also that of Stoneman, should act as much under cover as possible. A couple of brigades could hold your lines against any probable attack.

Although I did not clearly see the ground yesterday I inferred that the skirmishing party you sent out the first day had crossed the main Allatoona Creek. The lodgment, unless made across east of Allatoona Creek, would not improve your present position, but it is manifest your lines where they now are do not threaten the enemy. He must regard them as precautionary or defensive, and therefore is at liberty to draw off from that quarter everything but skirmishing. To lessen the force in front of Thomas you should, before 2 p. m., force the enemy to strengthen that part of his line at the expense of his center. Of course the position at Hardshell Church is your chief aim, but as that may be, and is doubtless, impossible now, I prefer one anywhere about the head of one of the branches of Allatoona Creek, between Hardshell and Hurrt’s. I have just learned that Howard is in possession of Pine Hill. This makes our movement more easy and necessary.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

I wrote to Secretary Stanton regarding the situation with Forrest near Memphis. Forrest cannot be left unchallenged. I will have General AJ Smith lead the attack against him.

In the Field, Big Shanty, Ga., June 15, 1864

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Washington, D. C.:

I will have the matter of Sturgis critically examined, and, if he be at fault, he shall have no mercy at my hands. I cannot but believe he had troops enough. I know I would have been willing to attempt the same task with that force; but Forrest is the very devil, and I think he has got some of our troops under cover. I have two officers at Memphis that will fight all the time: A. J. Smith and Mower. The latter is a young brigadier of fine promise, and I commended him to your notice. I will order them to make up a force and go out and follow Forrest to the death, if it cost 10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury. There never will be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead.

We killed Bishop Polk yesterday, and have made good progress today, of which I will make a full report as soon as one of my aides comes from the extreme right flank. General Grant may rest easy that Joe Johnston will not trouble him, if I can help it by labor or thought.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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2 Responses to Wednesday, June 15, 1864

  1. David White says:

    You may want to clarify that the Alabama regiment that was captured was probably Malone’s Alabama Regiment that had previously been known as the 14th Alabama Battalion. It was not the “14th Regiment of Alabama Volunteers” that was fighting outside of Richmond, Virginia on this date with the Army of Northern Virginia, and never served in the Western theater of operations.

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