Tuesday July 5, 1864

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

On the 3rd we pursued the enemy by all the roads south till we found him in an intrenched position which had been prepared in advance, its salient on the main Marietta and Atlanta road about five miles south of Marietta, and the wings behind the Nickajack and Rottenwood Creeks. During the 4th General Thomas pressed the salient, and McPherson and Schofield moved against Nickajack by pressing close and threatening the Chattahoochee at Sandtown and below.

Johnston again retreated in the night and now has his main force and wagons across the Chattahoochee, with Hardee’s corps on this side, strongly intrenched in a sort of tete-de-pont on a ridge of hills beginning at the railroad bridge and extending down the river to the mouth of the Nickajack. We have worked hard, and now Thomas’ left is on the Chattahoochee, three miles above the railroad bridge at Pace’s Ferry. Stoneman has been most active with the cavalry about Sweet Water, and is now on the Chattahoochee about Sandtown, and Garrard started this morning for Roswell Factory. I have no report from him yet.

I am now far ahead of my railroad and telegraph, and want them to catch up, and may be here some days. Atlanta is in plain view, nine miles distant. We have had continual skirmishing, but our losses are small, while we have inflicted more to the enemy. Our prisoners taken in the last two days will not fall short of 2,000. The extent of the enemy’s parallels already taken is wonderful, and much of the same sort confronts us yet, and is seen beyond the Chattahoochee.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

WAR DEPARTMENT, July 5, 1864-3.45 p.m.

Major-General SHERMAN, Marietta, Ga.:

The President has issued his proclamation declaring martial law in the State of Kentucky. News just received of a naval battle off Cherbourg between the pirate Alabama and the United States war steamer Kearsarge. After a close engagement of one hour and forty minutes the Alabama was sunk. Semmes and his officers and part of the crew found shelter in a British yacht. No one killed on the Kearsarge.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War

Schofield reports that there is no room for his troops on the right. I will move him to the left in position to cross the Chattahoochee upstream.

July 5, 1864-7 p.m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

I have had no opportunity to use my troops today. General McPherson’s having been quite as many as could be brought into action on this side of Nickajack, consequently I have not moved my column beyond Watson’s house. I will confer with General McPherson tonight and see what can be done in the morning in case the enemy remain on this side of the river. I understand he is behind strong works along the Nickajack, covering Turner’s Ferry, and presume McPherson will not be able to force a crossing this evening. If I do not hear from you tonight I will move down at daylight in the morning and co-operate with McPherson.

Very respectfully,
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Major-General

In the Field, near Chattahoochee, July 5, 1864
Major-General SCHOFIELD:

Move your entire command, except Stoneman’s cavalry, to Ruff’s Station, en route for position on our left, which will be either about Roswell Factory or the mouth of Rottenwood Creek. Ruff’s Station is five miles south of Marietta, on the railroad, and I think there is a plain road from where you now are. Notify General McPherson of your departure and report to me by letter or in person on arrival.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General Commanding

McPherson sends me maps:

Near Gordon’s, on Turner’s Ferry Road, Ga.,
July 5, 1864-9 p.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

I send you herewith sketch of the position of the Army of the Tennessee tonight. Early this forenoon Gresham’s division, of Blair’s command, charged and carried a line of rebel rifle-pits on the Turner’s Ferry road, and then pressed forward until about 6 p.m. they gained a position on Nickajack Creek, within about 500 yards of rebel intrenchments on the Chattahoochee. Leggett’s division moved down to Howell’s Ferry, on the Chattahoochee; drove the enemy away on the opposite side of the river, where they were erecting rifle-pits; left a brigade there and four 24-pounder howitzers (brass), and then moved up the river toward the mouth of Nickajack Creek, and connected with Gresham. We have had some pretty lively skirmishing and a good deal of artillery firing. The enemy appear to have strong works north of the Chattahoochee, but if they remain where they are tomorrow I think we can punish them severely, as I am getting batteries into position tonight.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON, Major-General


In the Field, three miles from Railroad Bridge,
July 5, 1864-8 p.m.
Major-General McPHERSON:

I have ordered Schofield over to this road, in rear of the center, preparatory to moving him over to about the mouth of Rottenwood or Roswell Factory according to reports I may receive from General Garrard. I was in hopes you would get control of the ridge commanding Turner’s Ferry before the enemy could get across, but I think it is now too late unless you have gained the ridge described as lying along the Chattahoochee above the mouth of Nickajack. Do not attempt it except it be certain of success or unless you know that some part of Johnston’s army or material is not yet across.

My information is that Hood’s and Polk corps are across and that Hardee remains on this side occupying a line of intrenchments from the bridge down to Nickajack. I rather think that the enemy will preserve this order of things until we develop our game. Stoneman will continue to threaten the river between Nickajack and Sweet Water, and you may co-operate and again any substantial advantage you can, but be prepared to move wherever events may call. Hooker should be up nearer to Palmer. Howard’s left is on the Chattahoochee about Pace’s Ferry, where the enemy had a pontoon bridge, which is cut loose and is swung to their bank. I understand he has two pontoon bridges at the railroad bridge. That bridge is still good, and was being very actively used today in passing trains. We have the road to within about two miles of the bridge, including Vining’s Station, where Johnston was last night.

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

Garrard reports that his cavalry found Roswell Factory about 20 miles upstream to be abandoned. The bridge there is burnt but Garrard reports the ford is passable.

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