NEAR ATLANTA, GEORGIA, July 27, 1864: 8.30 p.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
My two cavalry expeditions are off to make a wide circuit and reach the Macon road well to the southeast of Atlanta, and the Army of the Tennessee is shifted to the extreme right, reaching well toward the railroad, so that I think tomorrow must develop something. The cavalry will have to fight the enemy’s cavalry, and we can hold the infantry and artillery to Atlanta and force them to extend and choose between Atlanta and East Point. I don’t think the enemy can hold both.
All are well pleased with general Howard’s appointment but Generals Logan and Hooker. The former though he ought to have been allowed the command of the army in the field until the end of the campaign; but I explained to him that a permanent department commander had to be appointed at once, as discharges, furloughs, and much detailed business could alone be done by a department commander. General Hooker is offended because he thinks he is entitled to the command. I must be honest and say he is not qualified or suited to it. He talks of quitting. If General Thomas recommends, I shall not object. He is not indispensable to our success. He is welcome to my place of the President awards, but I cannot name him to so important a command as the Army of the Tennessee.
General Hooker has applied to be relieved of the command of the Twentieth Army Corps, assigning as a reason the appointment of General Howard, his junior, to command the Army of the Tennessee. General Thomas asks the following appointments: Generals D. S. Stanley to command the Fourth Corps, vice Howard, transferred; General H. W. Slocum to command the Twentieth Corps, vice Hooker, relieved at his own request. I approved these nominations, and ask orders by telegraph that General Slocum may be summoned from Vicksburg, where he now is.
All is well. The enemy to-day offered no serious opposition to the changes of today, and our skirmishing and artillery were just enough to make things interesting.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
I wrote Thomas:
Send me the papers about Hooker tonight, and make specific recommendations to fill the vacancies. Make Hooker resign his post as commander of the Twentieth Corps, that he cannot claim it and occasion delay in filling the vacancy.
Inclosed herewith I have the honor to transmit a copy of a communication this day received from Major-General Hooker, with my order in the case. Major-General Howard having been placed in command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee, I would recommend that Major General D. S. Stanley, commanding First Division of the Fourth Army Corps, be placed in command of the corps. Major-General Hooker having, at his own request, been relieved from the command of the Twentieth Army Corps, I would recommend that Major General H. W. Slocum be placed in command of that corps.
NEAR ATLANTA, GA., July 27, 1864
His Excellency President LINCOLN, Washington
Your dispatch of yesterday is received. I beg you will not regard me as fault finding, for I assert that I have been well sustained in every respect during my entire service. I did not suppose my dispatches go outside the offices at the War Department. I did not suppose you were troubled with such things. Hovey and Osterhaus are not worthy men, and had they been promoted on the eve of the Vicksburg campaign, it would have been natural and well accepted. Their promotion, coming to us when they had gone to the rear, had offended some because I could not unite in the same division five infantry and five cavalry regiments, and the other for temporary sickness.
You can see how ambitious aspirants for military fame regard these things. They come to me and point them out as evidences that I am wrong in encouraging them to a silent, patient discharge of duty. I assure you that every general of my army has spoken of it and referred to it as avoidance that promotion results from importunity and not from actual service. I have refrained from recommending any thus far in the campaign, as I thing we should reach some stage in the game before stopping to balance accounts or writing history. I assure you that I do think you have conscientiously acted throughout the war with marked skill in the matter of military appointments, and that as few mistakes have been made as could be expected. I will furnish all my army and division commanders with a copy of your dispatch, that they may feel reassured.
With great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
I wrote to Schofield:
he Army of the Tennessee is approaching the right flank, which is on the Turner’s Ferry road four miles from the Chattahoochee and about the same distance from Atlanta. I propose to extend on a ridge due south, so that by facing left the right of our line will be a strong threat to East Point. I took it for granted the enemy would shift to this flank, but gradually we can make him extend till he is out of Atlanta. Listen well for sounds of action on the part of the cavalry.
General Howard will have two corps in on the right intrenched, the other join reserve. Our cavalry is now out a day to-morrow the effect of these two moved will be left. I wish you to-morrow to let your skirmishers be bold, even to rashness, and show a good many men at open spaces. If your don’t occupy that brick house as an outpost burn it.