Thursday, June 16, 1864

Big Shanty, Georgia

We have had a break in the rain. The general movement toward Kenesaw was continued today, when Lost Mountain was abandoned by the enemy. Our right naturally swung round, so as to threaten the railroad below Marietta, but Johnston had still further contracted and strengthened his lines, covering Marietta and all the roads below.

I wrote to General Halleck:

BIG SHANTY, GA., June 16, 1864: 9 p. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:

I have made the necessary orders through General McPherson to inquire well into the Sturgis matter; also to send as large a force again as he can to get on Forrest’s trail, and harass him and the country through which he passes. We must destroy him if possible.

Johnston is getting militia from the extreme south to man his extensive lines at Marietta and Atlanta, as well as along the Chattahoochee, which gives him his three corps for maneuvers, and a large force of cavalry, which he designs to use against our communications. It is important that the Gulf fleet, with a small land force, threaten Mobile and the country about saint Mark’s and the mouth of the Appalachicola. Could not the Secretary of the navy order this, and Canby spare a small force (one brigade) for this purpose?

General Thomas did not make the progress last night I expected. He found the enemy strongly intrenched on a line slightly advanced from a slight line connecting Lost Mountain and Kenesaw. I have been along it today, and am pressing up close. Shall study it, and am now inclined to feign on both flanks and assault the center. It may cost us dear but in results would surpass an attempt to pass around. The enemy has a strong position and covers his roads well, and the only weak part if his game is in having the Chattahoochee to his rear. If, by assaulting, I can break his line, I see no reason why it would not produce a decisive effect. I know that he shifts his troops about to meet our supposed attacks and thereby fatigues his men, and the woods will enable me to mask our movements.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

We must press on the enemy with our right.
The North Side of Lost Mountain is reported to be inaccessible. We will try to find a route of attack. I wrote to Schofield:

General SCHOFIELD:
Continue to work toward the lower Marietta road, aiming to reach nearly the same point that Thomas heads for, viz, Hurt’s, but with small detachment and skirmishers; keep all the time feeling over about Lost Mountain. It is not necessary to keep up connected lines. We are not on the defensive except as to our wagons and supplies, and should invite the enemy out. Send word to Stoneman and have him to feel well around Lost Mountain. The enemy has had no signal on it for some days, still I know they are sensitive about that flank. Get all your guns to the front where they can converge on some point of the enemy; knock away the obstructions and make a break. I will try the same at Thomas’ front.

Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

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