Thursday, July 14, 1864

NEAR CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER, GA., July 14, 1864: 10 p. m.

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

All is well. I have now accumulated stores at Allatoona and Marietta, both fortified and garrisoned points. I have also three points at which to cross the Chattahoochee in my possession, and only await General Stoneman’s return from a trip down the river to cross the army in force and move on Atlanta. Stoneman is now out two days, and had orders to be back on the fourth or fifth day, at farthest. Rousseau should reach Opelika about July 17.

Before regulations are made for the States to send recruiting officers into the rebel States, I must express my opinion that it is the height of folly. I cannot permit it here, and I will not have a set of fellows here hanging about on any such pretenses. We have no means to transport and feed them. The Sanitary and Christian Commissions are enough to eradicate all traces of Christianity out of our minds, much less a set of unscrupulous State agents in search of recruits. All these dodges and make-shifts but render us ridiculous in our own estimation. I must protect my army, and I say beforehand, I have no means to transport recruiting parties south of Nashville, or to feed them, if they come here in spite of me.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

In the Field, near Chattahoochee River, Numbers 35. 
July 14, 1864.

Preliminary steps having already begun, the following general plan will be observed and adhered to:

I. Major-General Thomas will prepare to cross his army at Powers’ and Pace’s Ferries, and take position out from the Chattahoochee River, until he controls the country from Island Creek to Kyle’s Bridge, over Nancy’s Creek, but will not move the whole of General Palmer’s and General Hooker’s corps across until he hears that General Stoneman is back from his present expedition. He will endeavor to provide General Stoneman enough pontoon boats, balks, and cheeses to make one bridge. He will dispose of General McCook’s cavalry and detachments of his own infantry to watch the Chattahoochee about the old railroad crossing.

II. As soon as General Stoneman returns he will dispose his cavalry to watch the Chattahoochee at Turner’s Ferry and about the mouth of Nickajack, connecting by patrols with General McCook, and will, if possible, procure enough pontoons to make a bridge ready on the first chance to cross the river about Howell’s or Sandtown, and break the Atlanta and West Point railroad and telegraph.

III. Major-General Schofield, after having well secured his crossing-place at Phillips’, will move out toward Cross Keys until he controls the ridge between Island and Nancy’s Creeks and the road represented as leading from Roswell to Buck Head.

IV. Major-General Blair will immediately, on the return of Major-General Stoneman, move rapidly to Roswell and join his army. Major-General McPherson will then move his command out, either by the Cross Keys road or the old Hightower trail, until he is abreast of Major-General Schofield. General Garrard, with his cavalry, will scout from McAfee’s Bridge toward Pinckneyville, and if no enemy is there in force will picket McAfee’s Bridge and take post on General McPherson’s left, about Buchannan’s.

V. The whole army will thus form a concave line behind Nancy’s Creek, extending from Kyle’s Bridge to Buchannan’s, but no attempt will be made to form a line of battle. Each army will form a unit and connect with its neighbor by a line of pickets. Should the enemy assume the offensive at any point, which is not expected until we reach below Peach Tree Creek, the neighboring army will at once assist the one attacked. All preliminary steps may at once be made, but no corps need move to any great distance from the river until advised that General Stoneman is back.

VI. Major-General Thomas will study well the country toward Decatur via Buck Head, Major-General Schofield to a point of the railroad four miles northeast of Decatur, and Major-General McPherson and General Garrard that toward Stone Mountain. Each army should leave behind the Chattahoochee river, at its bridge or at Marietta, all wagons or incumbrances not absolutely needed for battle. A week’s work after crossing the Chattahoochee should determine the first object aimed at, viz, the possession of the Atlanta and Augusta road east of Decatur, or of Atlanta itself.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp

I see to my supply depot at Marietta:

In the Field, near Chattahoochee River, July 14, 1864.

I have ordered three regiments at Marietta and a brigade at Kenesaw. This brigade will come to Marietta in case of danger to the depot, but Kenesaw is selected on account of its security and proximity, and troops are more easily disciplined in camp than in a town. Although you are chiefly needed as a town guard and to handle stores, you should not neglect the military duties. Always be prepared for a dash of cavalry. Occupy the court-house and barricade and loophole the doors and windows; also make a good ladder to the roof, and make the balustrade bullet-proof, so that a party of men on its roof could sweep the streets. Other houses should also be selected and prepared near the railroad depot. A few hours’ work will convert any good brick or some house into a citadel. Arms and ammunition should always be kept handy, and pickets kept well out to give notice. All citizens of whom you entertain the least suspicion should be sent North, no matter the seeming hardships. The safety of our depot must not depend upon the pleasure and convenience of citizens. Should any one be caught molesting our road, telegraph wires, or our stores, he should be disposed of finally and summarily, especially if disguised in the garb of a citizen.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding


Brigadier General JOHN E. SMITH:
I regard Allatoona of the first importance in our future plans. It is a second Chattanooga; its front and rear are susceptible of easy defense and its flanks are strong. The post properly extends from the Etowah to Allatoona Depot, and flanks the Pumpkin Vine and Allatoona Creeks, embracing a space wherein can be accumulated supplies that would make a raid to our rear less to be feared, giving us the means of living till repairs could be made. I want you to study it in all its bearings. As long as our army is in front, in good order, of course nothing could threaten Allatoona, and then its garrison should scour the country for miles around, especially up the Pumpkin Vine and Euharlee Creeks and in the direction of Noonday and Canton. Everything in the nature of grain, forage, and vegetables should be collected. No suspicious citizens should be allowed near the railroad or in the country. The safety of this army must not be imperiled by citizens. If you entertain a bare suspicious against any facile send it to the North. Any loafer or suspicious person seen at any time should be imprisoned and sent off. If guerrillas trouble the road or wires between Kingston and Acworth, they should be shot without mercy. Rowland’s Springs, Laughing Gal, Canton, and Dallas should receive sudden and unexpected visits by night by parties about 200 strong. I will soon be in motion again and will feel more confidence that I know you are at Allatoona.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

In the Field, near Chattahoochee River, July 14, 1864

Commanding Officer of the Troops ordered from Allatoona to Kenesaw:
The position at Kenesaw is selected on account of its peculiar strength. The main part of your force should be held at some good camp near its base, with a strong picket and lookout on the eastern hill and the one known as Brushy Hill, occupied by General Leggett, during our operations before Marietta. The point known as the tan-yards, or it may be the water station, appeared to me the best point for your camp. The chief object is to guard the railroad as far down as Marietta and to protect our stores in Marietta.

There are three regiments in Marietta to load and unload cars and to guard the place, and, should the depot become threatened, you will make the proper disposition to cover it. I don’t want troops quartered in a town because the universal experience is that they lose in discipline and efficiency. Keep your regiments in good camps, with regular guard mountings and evening parades. When you send out patrols and expedition give clear written instructions, and caution your men not to straggle about and get picket up in detail. As long as our main army is here or in front no enemy will threaten you but small squads of enemy cavalry are sent on errands of mischief.

Send frequent patrols down to Lost Mountain and Powder Springs; also up toward Loughing Gal and Canton. Show no mercy to guerrillas or persons threatening our road or telegraph. Remove to the rear all suspicious persons and families, and bear in mind that the safety of this army is not be imperiled by any citizens, no matter how hard their friends may plead. I understand you have four regiments besides the Thirty-third Indiana, which should join General Blair as he passes Marietta en route for Roswell tomorrow or next day. Instruct your men not to fear cavalry. Infantry can take to the bushes and hills so quickly that they are safe against any odds of cavalry, and by waylaying the road at known points can defeat cavalry by firing from ambush.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

McPherson Reports from Roswell:
The bridge is finished, and the Fifteenth Army Corps will cross the river this afternoon and be in position by night, on the left and a little in advance of General Dodge. Nothing new here.

My Reply:
General Blair reports a movement of cavalry on our right down the river on the other side all last night, drawn there doubtless by Stoneman’s and Rousseau’s movement. Let General Garrard feel out strong and disturb those that are left.

McPherson Asks:
Would it not be a good move for Garrard to cross his division at McAfee’s Bridge, push one of his brigades out toward Cross Keys? He could engage the cavalry there; send his other brigade rapidly via Lawrenceville down to Covington on the railroad, and burn the bridge across Yellow River and other streams in the vicinity, and do all the damage they can. The distance is forty miles.

My Reply:
The bridge over Yellow River is too well guarded by men and redoubts to be carried by our cavalry, but General Garrard might dash at the road east of the Stone Mountain. See him. It is useless to attempt anything unless he be willing, for until our infantry is out as far as the railroad he may encounter most of Wheeler’s cavalry. I have no doubt most of Johnston’s cavalry is gone to the south toward West Point, drawn there by Generals Stoneman and Rousseau. A dash at the road would develop the truth, but to be certain, the infantry should be out as far as the head of Nancy’s Creek. I hope to hear of General Stoneman tonight.

Moore, a scout whom we sent out on the 13th at daylight, has just returned, and makes the following statement:
He left Atlanta at 3 p. m. yesterday. He came out of Atlanta, returning by the Peach Tree road. About a mile from the town on this road the rebels were busily engaged in constructing four separate forts on the separate hills. The inhabitants of Atlanta are still leaving, going farther south, and the town is pretty well cleaned out. All the valuable property, such as machinery and army stores, has been removed, and he heard toward Augusta. Moore says only a small supply of subsistence is kept in Atlanta, only so much as could be readily moved in case of a retreat. Moore says General Bragg arrived from Richmond on Tuesday evening and a brigade of four regiments from Pollard, Ala. Moore says that it was reported in the rebel camps that this brigade, who told him they were from Pollard, Ala., and had never been with Kirby Smith. Moore says in returning he came out by the Peach Tree road till he struck the Turner’s Ferry road, which he took and went to the extreme left of the rebel infantry line. This point is a small church in sight of the ferry. General Manigault’s brigade is on the extreme left; thence to Campbellton the river is watched by squads of cavalry. From the left of the rebel line Moore returned to Buck Head, where he found Wheeler’s cavalry, and thence into our lines through General Dodge’s command, to whom he reported. Moore brings an Atlanta paper of yesterday.

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