Tuesday, June 21, 1864

BIG SHANTY, GEORGIA

June 21, 1864: 1 p.m.

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

This is the nineteenth day of rain, and the prospect of clear weather as far off as ever. The roads are impassable, and fields and woods become quagmires after a few wagons have crossed, yet we are at work all the time. The left flank is across Noonday and the right across Noyes’ Creek. The enemy hold Kenesaw, a conical mountain, with Marietta behind it, and has retired his flank to cover that town and his railroad. I am all ready to attack the moment weather and roads will permit troops and artillery to move with anything like life.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

I prefer not to attack Johnston until we can bring up our artillery. His troops have pulled back across part of our front and those units are moving forward. Hooker too is moving forward but he may be opposed. I communicated with Thomas:

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, 
Big Shanty, Ga., June 21, 1864.
General THOMAS:

In consequence of the continued rain and horrid state of the roads, you may order General Hooker not to move his lines to-day, or until we can move our army with some skill and rapidity from one point to another. Let Howard strengthen his position and get a coupleof batteries well covered in front of Williams. Also Palmer’s whole corps should be ready to move by the right flank. The railroad bridge at Tilton will be done today.

Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, 
June 21, 1864: 7 a. m.

Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

Your note of 11.30 p. m. yesterday was only received by me this morning. Before writing to you I had directed Hooker to attack the enemy’s left this morning, and I intend to support him with the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps if necessary. General Schofield also informed me that he had Hascall’s division so posted as to support Hooker if he needed him.

Very respectfully,
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, 
June 21, 1864-2 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Big Shanty:

General Howard’s center seems to be advancing and driving the enemy before them. I have only heard from General Hooker that his reconnaissance had gone within about two miles of Marietta, found the enemy’s pickets in force in his front, but the commanding officer thought he could drive them. Your note did not reach me in time to stop Hooker’s movement entirely.

Yours, respectfully,
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, Commanding

.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, 
In the Field, June 21, 1864
General THOMAS, Commanding Army of the Cumberland:

See that Howard is well supported by Palmer, and send word to Schofield. I would prefer not to engage Johnston in full force and position until we can go into action with artillery. I will see that McPherson occupies his front, and in case of sounds of heavy battle he will also attack. But I prefer that Hooker and Howard should get a good, strong position in sight of Marietta and the ridge on which the railroad is.

Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND, 
June 21, 1864: 5 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

I have just heard from General Howard that he has carried a hill about 700 yards in front of Wood’s left, and has fortified it strongly under the hottest kind of artillery fire from the enemy. Wood advanced a regiment still farther, forming a strong outpost, having driven the enemy from and now occupying his skirmishers’ pits. Your note of this morning having reached me before Hooker moved, his operations were suspended for today. Unless it rains again tonight, he will be able to move with better effect in the morning. Howard took some prisoners. Stanley reports that Whitaker was assaulted seven times between the time of his taking his hill yesterday and 10 at night. He estimates the enemy’s loss at not less than 200 killed and probably double that number wounded.

Very respectfully,
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, June 21, 1864
General THOMAS, Commanding Army of the Cumberland:

I saw these papers in the hands of your scout and read them hastily. I am gratified at the good progress of Howard, Wood, and Whitaker. Let them all hold fast to all we get, and be ready as soon as we can move with anything like life. Early tomorrow I will examine McPherson’s new lines, which he thinks well of and is tempted to advance his left. But Kenesaw so splits our lines that I feel much disposed to push your right, supported by Schofield and Stoneman’s cavalry, whilst McPherson engages attention to his front, but keeps ready to march by his right to re-enforce you with all his command, except what is necessary to cover this depot against Kenesaw, which I propose to slight.

The enemy is at work about Tilton, having torn up some rails and got a train off a mile above Tilton. The wires are again down since noon. The bridge was to have been done at 4 p.m., but I can hear nothing definite. Garrard is across Noonday on the Canton road, and about Bob McAfee’s. He was attacked, he says, by four divisions of cavalry and held his ground. I have an idea that Johnston is holding on to cover the return of his cavalry. I hardly think he will fight us on anything like equal terms with the Chattahoochee behind him.

After seeing McPherson’s lines in the morning I will come down to Williams’ and will examine the new positions of Wood, Stanley, and Hooker; but if anything happens, act promptly with your own troops, and advise me and your neighbor, Schofield, who has standing orders to conform to you. Roads terrific.

Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

McPherson came to me with a note from Garrard his cavalry commander who believes the rebel cavalry to be in force in his front and that they have not detached a division to raid our rear. I would like to keep their cavalry from wandering to our rear by putting pressure on at all times. I modified Garrards orders to hold his command in place.

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