NEAR ATLANTA, GA., August 3, 1864: 9 p.m
Major General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
We have had pretty lively times today generally, closing in, taking some 200 or 300 prisoners. Under the pressure I got two divisions across the head of Utoy Creek, well toward the railroad, McCook reports that on July 29 he broke the West Point road at Palmetto, and then crossed over to the Macon road, at Lovejoy’s, where he took up 2 miles of track, burned 2 trains, 100 bales of cotton, and 5 miles of telegraph. He fell upon the rebel wagons train and turned over wagons and killed 800 mules. He captured 72 officers and 350 men, but his progress eastward and north, according to the plan, was stopped by a surer force of cavalry and he turned toward Newman, where he was completely surrounded. He ordered two of his small brigades to make their way to the Chattahoochee while he held the enemy. About 500 of them are in, but the balance, about 1,000, are doubtless captured or killed. He then with 1,200 men charged through in column, riding down Ross’ brigade and capturing Ross, the commander; but he had to drop all prisoners and incumbrances to save his command. He crossed the Chattahoochee below Franklin and up by Dallas to Marietta. The plan was for him to meet General Stoneman at Lovejoy’s, but he did not meet him. Prisoners report that Yankee cavalry were shelling Macon on the 1st instant, so I think General Stoneman has a chance of rescuing those prisoners. It was a bold and rash adventure, but I sanctioned it, and hoped for its success from its very rashness.
I think that all Georgia is now in my front, and he may meet but little opposition and succeed in releasing those prisoners. The difficulty will then commence for them to reach me. My lines are very strong, and cover well all our bridges across Chattahoochee. I will use my cavalry hereafter to cover the railroad, and use infantry and artillery against Atlanta. A large part of Hood’s army is militia, that cannot be trusted in the open field, and I think we have crippled the three fighting corps now commanded by Stewart, Stephen D. Lee, and Hardee. It is even whispered that Hardee has resigned; but this is as yet but the story of deserters.
In order to make my campaign collusive I should have a large cavalry force. We find great difficulty in procuring horses. I understand there are 2,000 at Saint Louis. can I not have them? Recruits also should be sent to Nashville, and sent forward daily, and distributed as they come.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
J. M. Glass, scout, left the town of Atlanta this morning about 9 a.m; says that Roddey and Holmes have arrived with re-enforcements, said to number 10,000 men, principally dismounted cavalry. Three thousand militia arrived last night from below; saw this force marching through town this morning. One battalion, commanded by Yougblood, from Columbus, arrived about one week ago. Trains appear to be running regularly to and from Macon. Trains came in on that road last night and this morning. About 600 prisoners were sent off yesterday by railroad to Macon. General Bragg and Johnston are in the city; did hear anything said about Johnston resuming the command; understood they had nine or ten 64-ponders in position; think the principal strength of the enemy is on their left and left center.
Colonel Hill, provost-marshal-general, being intoxicated, could not get a pass to enable the scout to visit the lines. The enemy seems to be putting every man into the ranks they can get hold of. Colonel Hill said they were mounting some new 32-pounders Parrotts in front; did not learn at what part of the line, but understood they were placed in the forts. The enemy say they have captured General Stoneman and 500 of his command, a large portion of the number officers. Stoneman is said to have arrived in front of Macon and commanded shelling the town. The convalescents and militia opposed him, and kept him at bay until General Wheeler’s cavalry got in his rear. Stoneman fought his way back fifteen miles before he was taken. That part of his command not killed or captured is reported scattered, with cavalry after them. This information is from a telegram received by General Hood from Macon. McCook destroyed about one mile and a half of the railroad between Jonesborough and Griffin. The road is repaired, however, and trains are running as before.
Glass says he came out on south side of Augusta railroad and passed the works on our left. It is about half way between Atlanta and Decatur, and that there is only a small force opposite our left, composed of militia and a few cavalry. Saw one fort in front of McPherson’s old works; saw four guns in it-12 or 20 punsters.
There is no forage in the city whatever. stock is being fed on small patches of green corn in and around the town. they appear to have plently of subsistence on hand for present use; could not learn whether they had any supply on hand. Since Walker’s death, his old division has been cut up and put into Cleburne’s and Cheatham’s divisions. General Hood’s headquarters in is White hall street, near Rodgers’ tannery.
I have alerted Stanley on my far left to be prepared to take advantage if the enemy should shift troops tomorrow to counter our attack on their railroad west of town