Sunday, July 31, 1864

Near Atlanta Georgia 8 p.m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
No change since my last. Weather has been intensely hot, and today it is raining hard. General Garrard’s cavalry is back. General Stoneman placed it at Flat Rock to cover his movement south. General Garrard reports the enemy’s cavalry all round him for two days, when he charged out and went to Latimar’s, where he heard that General Stoneman had passed Covington, so he got two full day’s start for Macon. I will not hear of him for some days. From rumors among the people, I think he struck the road, for it is reported broken at Jonesborough. Tomorrow night I will move General Schofield to the extreme right to draw the enemy out to East Point. His works are too strong for an assault, and we cannot spare the ammunition for a bombardment.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

General Thomas writes:

I have just returned from the right. General Howard’s troops only occupy the intrenchments made by Morgan and Ward, whereas he should have extended his line toward the railroad, throwing out as his intrenchments were completed. Morgan and Ward could then have supported his right as he extended his lines. I think Howard’s army will reach very nearly to the railroad when intrenched and thrown out as my troops are. Should Schofield move to the right he will surely reach the road; thus Morgan and Ward can be held in reserve and in support of the right flank as it progresses toward the railroad. The reconnaissance your ordered was made today by Morgan. He found the enemy covered by a strong infantry skirmish line with artillery on a road leading direct to East Point from a house on the Green’s Ferry road, about a mile from the rear of our right. The troops moved about a mile and a half on that road before encountering the enemy. Morgan returned to his camp toward night, as I did not see, it prudent to have him so far to Howard’s right. I think I understand the directions of all roads leading toward East Point from all points directly in our rear.

I Replied:
I have your dispatch, which is most satisfactory. I think General Schofield, supported by General Davis and Ward, will reach the railroad. At all events, it is our true move. General Garrard’s cavalry can occupy General Schofield’s lines, and General Stanley’s left, refused along Pea Vine, will make good flank, covering Buck Head and the Pace’s Ferry road. This will enable you with your main army to press on Atlanta, which General Howard advances his right and General Schofield extends, supported by General Davis and Ward, will make an army equal to Hood’s movable column.

I think I appreciate General Garrard’s good qualities, but he is so cautious that if forced to make a bold move to the relief of General McCook I doubt if he would attempt it. General Stoneman went with a full knowledge of his risk but General McCook will have reason to expect co-operation from about McDonough, and may be disappointed when he finds his brigade gone and a new road ahead closed by Wheeler. He has, however, a bold and well-appointed force and can fight his way back; still, for his sake, we must occupy the attention of the enemy as much as possible.

I have ordered General Garrard in on our left, and tomorrow night will let him fill with a skirmish line General Schofield’s position, and move all of General Schofield to the right of General Howard, and with the division of Generals Davis and Ward in reserve on the right to strike a blow beyond our new right flank when intrenched. Our right flank must be advanced in close and absolute contact with the enemy, and with General Schofield on that flank I think we can make him quit Atlanta, or so weaken his lines that we can break through somewhere, the same as our Kenesaw move. Study the road so that Generals Schofield and Howard may have a line close up to the enemy, as close as possible. I will send a regiment of cavalry down the west bank of the Chattahoochee to feel for General McCook. I must have a bolder commander for General Garrard’s cavalry and want General Thomas to name to me General Kilpatrick or some good brigadier for the command.

Thomas Replied:

I do not know of a better cavalry commander in my army than Garrard. He is an excellent administrative officer, and I have no doubt you will find on inquiry that his ordered from Stoneman were indefinite. Garrard is much more judicious than Kilpatrick, who can knock up his horses as rapidly as any man I know. I think if you will bear with Garrard you will find in a short time he will be the best cavalry commander you have.

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