HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., July 24, 1864
Major General JOHN A. LOGAN, Commanding Army of the Tennessee:
I have pretty well surveyed the whole position, and by the aid of maps and my own observations think I understand the case pretty well. Our lines are now strong in front, and we encompass Atlanta from the railroad on the east to the railroad west. The enemy, having failed in his assault on your flank before it was covered by any defensible works, and having sustained most serious loss, will not again attempt it, but will await our action.
I now inclose you a map made by General Schofield’s engineers, which shows the road to your present right rear. I sent Captain Poe to see you this morning, but from what Captain Hickenlooper says I think I may have failed to convey to you my right meaning, which is this: The only object in placing the Army of the Tennessee on that flank was to reach and destroy the railroad from Atlanta toward Augusta. That is partially done, and the work of destruction should be continued as far as possible. I wish you to keep one division or more employed day and night in breaking and burning the road until General Garrard returns. I feel no doubt but that he has succeeded in breaking the bridges across the Yellow River and the Ulcofauhachee, but he may have to fight his way back, and to relieve him I wish you to push your skirmishers out from General Dodge’s front of General Blair’s left, as though you were going to push your way to the east of Atlanta toward the August road. To keep up this delusion, you should send a column cautiously down one of those roads or valleys, southeast, and engage the enemy outside his works, but not behind his trenches. As soon as General Garrard is back you can discontinue all such demonstration and prepare for your next move.
I proposed give you timely notice to send your wagons behind General Thomas and then to move your army behind the present to the extreme right, to reach, if possible, the Macon road, which you know to be the only road by which Atlanta can be supplied. This will leave General Schofield the left flank, which will be covered by the works he has constructed on his front, and he can use the abandoned trenches of the enemy to cover his left rear. You will no longer send your wagons by Roswell, but by Buck Head and Pace’s Ferry, and when you change you will draw from the railroad bridge, to which our cars now run, and at which point we are making a pier bridge & also two of pontoons. General Stoneman will surely be at Decatur today, and we will have two divisions of cavalry on our right viz, General McCook’s and General Rousseau’s.
Act with confidence. Know that the enemy cannot budge you from your present ground, and act offensively to show him that you dare him to the encounter. You can understand that being on the defensive he cannot afford to sally unless at great peril. General Schofield has so strengthened his front that I fell no uneasiness about that flank, and only study now to make the next move so quickly that we may reach East Point or vicinity with as little loss as possible.
My headquarters are now behind General Howard’s corps, General Newton’s division, on the main Marietta and Atlanta road, which crosses the Chattahoochee at Pace’s Ferry and passes through Buck Head. I am at a large white house near the enemy’s old line of entrenchments, a prolongation of the same which passes from where I saw you yesterday by General Schofield’s position. I have just heard that General Garrard is back.
Go on breaking that road good.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
Blair and Dodge request additional troops:
HEADQUARTERS LEFT WING, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Atlanta, Ga., July 24, 1864.
Captain L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp:
I respectfully request that the Third Brigade, Fourth Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, now at Decatur, Ala., be ordered to join this command. The two divisions, comprising four brigades present (two to each division), have lost in killed and wounded alone some 2,000 men, and the detaching two brigades, together with the loss from sickness, has reduced the command from 12,500 effective, which it started with, to some 6,000. One brigade 1,800 strong, is at Rome, Ga., and one at Decatur, Ala. If either brigade or both could join me it would give us a valuable addition to the army. There are also detached the First Alabama Cavalry at Rome and the Ninth Ohio Cavalry at Decatur, besides some three regiments of colored troops belonging to this command, which makes those absent and without the command-fully equal to the present. If it is possible, under the exigencies of the service, I trust the general commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi will order up a portion of my command.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE, Major-General.
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Before Atlanta, Ga., July 24, 1864.
Captain J. M. DAYTON, A. D. C. and A. A. A. G., Mil. Div. of the Mississippi:
I have the honor to represent for the information of the major-general commanding the Division of the Mississippi that this corps was reduced when I assumed command of it to about 10,000 effective men by leaving the strongest division at Vicksburg. Upon my arrival at Allatoona, I left one brigade and two batteries, numbering about 1,200 men, to guard the depots at that place. Since that time, in the various actions in which the corps has been engaged, it has lost about 3,000 men, leaving me an effective force of only some 6,000. Under these circumstances I would most respectfully request that that portion of this corps, which was left at Allatoona, and which is now stationed at Kenesaw Mountain, may be relieved by some other command and ordered to report to me for duty as soon as practicable.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK P. BLAIR, Jr., Major-General
I wrote to Garrard:
I am rejoined to hear that you are back safe and successful. General Rousseau has brought me 2,500 good cavalry, having been to Opelika and destroyed thirty miles of road between West Point and Montgomery. I will give you time to rest and then we must make quick work with Atlanta. I await your report with impatience, and in the mean time tender you the assurance of my great consideration.
The Demonstration at Decatur to distract the enemy is as follows:
General Woods’ division is ordered to move into Decatur at 5 o’clock this morning, and to directly return, destroying the line of the railroad for the purpose of keeping the enemy’s cavalry on our left flank, and at the same time securing a diversion while an attack is being made on the flank of General Thomas and protecting the return of General Garrard from his cavalry expedition. The skirmishers of this command will feel well out at daylight this morning. The skirmisher line will be careful to keep its right flank connected with General Blair’s pickets, and will be cautioned against any attempt of the enemy to break through to cut them off from the main line. In case the enemy should attack, General Woods is instructed to fall upon his flank and punish him. Brigadier General J. W. Fuller, commanding Fourth Division, will move two regiments from his right to the left of General Sweeny’s line, to occupy the position of Colonel Williamson’s brigade during its absence from the line.