Near Atlanta Georgia
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 7, 1864.
Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding, &c.:
Your progress,instead of appearing slow,has received the universal commendation of all loyal citizens, as well as of the President, War Department, and all persons whose commendation you would care for. The enemy detaching a portion of his force to secure the crops of the Shenandoah Valley,and raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania to call attention from them, has called me here to organize our forces to drive the enemy south. I came from the Monocacy yesterday afternoon, after having put all our forces in motion after the enemy, and after having put Sheridan in command, who I know will push the enemy to the very death. I will telegraph you in future more frequently than heretofore.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Atlanta, August 7, 1864: 8 p.m.
Lieutenant-General GRANT, Washington:
I was gratified to learn you were satisfied with my progress. Get the War Department to send us recruits daily as they are made, for we can teach them more in our camp in one day than they can get at a rendezvous in a month. Also tell Mr. Lincoln that he must not make the least concession in the matter of the September draft. It is right, and popular with the army, and the army is worth considering. I am glad you have given General Sheridan the command of the forces to defend Washington. He will worry Early to death. Let us give those southern fellows all the fighting they want, and when they are tired we can tell them we are just warming to the work. Any signs of let up on our parts is sure to be falsely constructed, and for this reason I always remind them that the siege of Troy lasted six years, and Atlanta is a more valuable town than Troy. We must manifest the character of dogged courage and perseverance of our race.
Don’t stay in Washington longer than is necessary to give impulse to events, and get out of it. It is the center of intrigue.
I would like to have General Mower made a major-general. He is a read fighter.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
NEAR ATLANTA, GA., August 7, 1864: 8 p.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
Have received today the dispatches of the Secretary of War and Lieutenant-General Grant, which are very satisfactory. We keep hammering away here all the time, and there is no peace inside or outside of Atlanta. Today General Schofield got round the flank of the line assaulted yesterday by General Reilly’s brigade, turned it,and gained the ground where the assault was, with all our dead and wounded. We continued to press on that flank, and brought on a noisy but not a bloody battle. We drove the enemy behind his main breast-works,which cover the railroad from Atlanta to East Point. We captured a good many of the skirmishers, which are of their best troops, for the militia hug the breast-works close. I do not think it prudent to extend more to the right, but will push forward daily by parallels, and make the inside of Atlanta too hot to be endured. I have sent to Chattanooga for two 30-pounder Parrotts, with which we can pick out almost any house in the town. I am too impatient for a siege, but I do not know but here is as good to fight it out than farther inland. One thing is certain, whether we get inside of Atlanta or not, it will be a used-up community by the time we are done with it.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., August 7, 1864
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.:
In order that you may have a proper understanding of the recent cavalry operations from this army that terminated somewhat unsuccessfully, I will explain. On the 25th of July I had driven the enemy to his inner intrenchments of Atlanta, and had by Garrard’s division of cavalry broken the road leading to Augusta about the branches of the Ocumulgee, forty miles east, and had by McPherson’s army taken up two sections of rails of about five miles each, near Stone Mountain and Decatur. I then proposed to throw the Army of the Tennessee rapidly moved by the right,so as to approach the only remaining railroad left to the enemy, leading due south for six miles, and then branching to Macon on the one hand and West Point, on the Chattahoochee, on the other. To accomplish this I placed General Stoneman with his own division of cavalry, 2,300 strong,and Garrard’s division, about 3,500,on my left near Decatur, and on the right General McCook with a small division of about 1,300 and a part of Harrison’s,just received under Rousseau, from the raid to Opelika. This force was about 1,700. Both expeditions started punctually on the 27th,and acted under my written orders, No. 42, a copy of which is inclosed.
The day before starting General Stoneman addressed me a note, a copy of which is inclosed, asking leave, after fulfilling his orders, to push on and release our prisoners to be confined at Macon and Andersonville. I gave my consent in a letter, a copy of which is also inclosed. Nothing but the natural and intense desire to accomplish an end so inviting to one’s feelings would have drawn me to commit a military mistake, at such a crisis, as that of dividing and risking my cavalry, so necessary to the success of my campaign. Stoneman ordered Garrard to move to Flat Rock, doubtless to attract the attention of the enemy, while he passed him and on to McDonough and the railroad about Lovejoy’s,where he would have met McCook, but for some reason he did no to McDonough, but to Convington, and down on the east side of Ocmulgee to Clinton, when he sent detachments that burned the Oconee bridge, seventeen locomotives, over 100 cars, tore down telegraph wire,and damaged the railroad east of Macon considerably. He attempted to get into Macon; shelled the town,but fell back to Clinton. Finding the enemy gathering into large a force, he seems to have turned back, but the roads were obstructed, and he fought till his ammunition was exhausted, and he seems to have give up. He told his brigade commanders, Adams and Capron,he would with 700 men engage the attention of the enemy, which they might escape. Adams has come in with his brigade, 900 strong; Capron is not in,and I think the bulk of his command were captured. About forty stragglers of it have got in. I have no doubt Stoneman surrendered in the manner and at the time described by the Macon paper I sent you yesterday. Garrard remained at Flat Rock until the 29th, and hearing nothing of Stoneman he came in without loss or serious opposition.
McCook crossed the Chattahoochee at Rivertown, below Campbellton, by a pontoon bridge, which he sent back, intending to come in by a circuit east and north. At 2 p.m. of the 28th he left the banks of the Chattahoochee and struck the West Point branch at Magnolia Station, which he burned and tore up track. He then by a rapid night march pushed for Fayetteville, where he found the roads and by-ways full of army wagons belonging to the army in Atlanta, embracing the headquarters teams of all the generals. All were burned good, and about 800 mules sabered. He then pushed on for the railroad at Lovejoy’s, where he destroyed full two miles of track, the depot, a lot of cotton and stores, and carried off five miles of telegraph wire. Up to that time he had not encountered any opposition, for Stoneman’s and Garrard’s movements out from Decatur had attracted the enemy’s cavalry. Having, as he supposed, broken the road enough, and supposing his best way back was by Newman, he turned in that direction. He had 73 offices and 350 men prisoners, mounted on all sorts of horses and mules; still he reached Newman, where the enemy began to gather about him and oppose him. He thinks two brigades of dismounted cavalry, acting as infantry, had been stopped en route from Mississippi for Atlanta by the break he had made in the railroad and happened there. These, in addition to two divisions of cavalry, headed him off whichever way he turned. He fought hard for five hours,until he exhausted his artillery ammunition, when he chopped up the wheels, spiked and plugged the guns. He then kept Harrison’s brigade, and directed the smaller ones, commanded by General Croxton and Colonel Torrey, to cut out. He continued to fight until near night, when he dashed through an infantry line, reached the Chattahoochee, crossed his men, and go in. Harrison is a prisoner, I think. Of Croxton I can hear nothing. But nearly all the men not killed and wounded are in. McCook left his prisoners free, and his wounded in charge of his surgeons. His management was all that could be expected throughout.
With great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General