NEAR LOVEJOY’S STATION, Twenty-six miles south of Atlanta, Georgia
September 3, 1864:6 a.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
As already reported, the army drew from about Atlanta, and on the 30th had made a good break of the West Point road and reached a good position from which to strike the Macon railroad, the right (General Howard’s) near Jonesborough the left (General Schofield’s) near Rough and Ready, and the center (General Thomas) at Couch’s. General Howard found the enemy in force at Jonesborough, and intrenched his troops, the salient within half a mile of the railroad. The enemy attacked him at 3 p.m., and was easily repulsed, leaving his dead and wounded. Finding strong opposition on the right, I advanced the left and center rapidly to the railroad, made a good lodgment, and broke it all the way from Rough and Ready down to Howard’s left, near Jonesborough and by the same movement I interposed my whole army between Atlanta and the part of the enemy intrenched in and around Jonesborough. We made a general attack on the enemy at Jonesborough on September 1, the Fourteenth Corps, General Jeff. C. Davis, carrying the works handsomely, with 10 guns and about 1,000 prisoners. In the night the enemy retreated south, and we have followed him to another of his well-chosen and hastily constructed lines, near Lovejoy’s. Hood, at Atlanta, finding me on his road, the only one that could supply him, and between him and a considerable part of his army, blew up his magazines in Atlanta and left in the night- time, when the Twentieth Corps, General Slocum, took possession of the place.
So Atlanta is ours, and fairly won. I shall not push much farther on this raid, but in a day or so will move to Atlanta and give my men some rest. Since May 5 we have been in one constant battle or skirmish, and need rest. Our losses will not exceed 1,200 and we have possession of over 300 rebel dead, 250 wounded, and over 1,500 well prisoners.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
TO ELLEN EWING SHERMAN
Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field 26 miles South of Atlanta,
My movement has been perfectly successful, and the Corps I left at the Bridge are now in Atlanta which was abandonned by the Enemy the moment I made a good lodgment on the Macon Road. We have had severe fighting at Jonesboro, where we beat Hardee’s corps bad. We now confront the Rebel Army and we are studying their position. I am very well. You doubtless hear of us through the papers oftener than I can write.
We are in a country rich in corn and our supplies are ample.
W. T. Sherman
General Slocum, occupying Atlanta Writes Halleck:
Sherman, with his entire army, except this corps, is near Jonesborough, on the Macon road. Hood’s army is south of him, except the troops left in Atlanta, consisting of militia and about one division of old troops. These troops, when they evacuated this place, took the McDonough road, and will probably effect a junction with their main army. Sherman has captured 2 batteries and 2,000 prisoners. The enemy on, evacuating destroyed 7 locomotives and 81 cars, loaded with ammunition, small-arms, and stores, and left here 14 pieces of artillery, most of them uninjured and a large number of small-arms. We have taken 200 prisoners, and deserters are constantly coming into our lines. We have on hand a good supply of ammunition, subsistence stores, and clothing. I earnestly hope that paymasters may be sent here as soon as possible, as some of my command have not been paid for eight months.
I write to Slocum:
Move all the stores forward from Allatoona and Marietta to Atlanta. Take possession of all good buildings for Government purposes, and see they are not used as quarters. Advise the people to quit now. There can be no trade or commerce now until the war is over. Let Union families go to the North with their effects, and secesh families move on. All cotton is tainted with treason, and no title in it will be respected. It must all go to Nashville as United States property, and pretended claimants may collect testimony for the pursuit of the proceeds of sale after they reach the U. S. Treasury in money.
Thomas Sent These orders for General Davis, guarding the rear:
The major-general commanding directs that tomorrow you send back to Atlanta all wagons of your corps not absolutely required to transport the stores now on hand. These wagons will be loaded with the captured arms in your possession and the cotton captured in Jonesborough. Your sick and wounded who are able to travel will be, sent back at the same time, and the whole guarded by a brigade to be detailed by yourself. The prisoners now in your hands you will send to Atlanta in charge of this brigade. You will direct the trains and commanding officer of the brigade to report to Major-General Slocum, commanding at Atlanta, and remain there until further orders. Direct your ordnance officer to retain charge of the captured arms until he can turn them over properly to the chief of ordnance of the department. All prisoners now at these headquarters will this a.m. be sent to be forwarded with the others.
These orders were sent to Slocum:
The major-general commanding directs that you assume command at Atlanta and the fortifications around the place, and move up from the Chattahoochee your entire corps, with the exception of one brigade, which you will leave at the railroad bridge. The guard at Pace’s Ferry will be withdrawn. You will direct the proper officers to take charge of and account for such property as may be found there, have the town thoroughly policed, and permit no one to take quarters there, except upon the orders of General Sherman, General Thomas, or yourself. You will direct Colonel Wright to repair the railroad into the town. The troops will be disposed in the fortifications for defense.
I have the following information to report which I am confident is accurate. On the 1st of September Lee’s corps left Jonesborough at daylight and moved toward Atlanta, and camped for the night near the Atlanta and McDonough road where the road from Jonesborough, on which they marched, struck it. On the morning of the 2nd they turned, toward McDonough. On the 1st, in the morning, Stewart’s corps moved out of Atlanta to within sight of the Chattahoochee River and halted. In the mean time the militia were hurried out of Atlanta toward McDonough, but a few miles out took an easterly road. In the afternoon Stewart’s corps returned to Atlanta and at night moved down the McDonough road, leaving Loring’s division as rear guard and to destroy property. Quarles’ brigade, Loring’s division, the rear guard, did not leave until daylight.
Hood remained in Atlanta till daylight on the 2d, and passed eight miles east of here on the Atlanta and Griffin road at 11 a.m. yesterday. It was impossible to make many captures, as all the roads to the east were strongly guarded. I have only few prisoners, but Hardee’s, Stewart’s, and Lee’s corps, and the militia are represented. Yesterday I sent one company to Atlanta, it returned today.
Kilpatrick Reports from the south:
Captain Brink has returned, bringing me information desired in reference to our army. I had a scout last night inside the enemy’s lines. Portions of Armstrong’s and Ross’ commands, mounted and dismounted, watch the enemy’s left flank directly opposite me. The enemy, so far as I can learn, unless he has moved during the night, is intrenched about Lovejoy’s Station his lines crossing the Jonesborough road and extending to this point. Several car-loads of wounded passed down the road yesterday. Did not stop at but passed through Griffin. Scouts report the enemy’s wagon trains to be moving toward Griffin, many of them loaded with green corn. At 2 p.m. yesterday large trains were passing through Fayette Station. As soon as the enemy is forced back beyond Lovejoy’s Station I will cross and press in toward Griffin, communicating with our army to the left.
Prisoners report that Lee’s corps joined Hardee yesterday afternoon, and that Stewart was at McDonough at 4 o’clock. If this is true both are probably here now. The enemy’s line has been considerably extended eastward since last evening, and is probably beyond my reach. It appears to run along a high ridge immediately in front of the McDonough road and behind Walnut Creek. I am feeling well to the left with skirmishers to see if I can reach the enemy’s left on the McDonough road.
SPECIAL ORDERS: HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Lovejoy’s Station, Ga. Numbers 63. September 3, 1864
I. Army commanders will, during today, send to Jonesborough all sick and wounded men, all empty wagons, and prisoners of war, also all surplus wheels not needed for a five days’ stay in front, ready to start to-morrow morning at 6 o’clock from Jonesborough for Atlanta. Each army will send a regiment to escort these wagons, and General Thomas will send an experienced colonel to conduct the train into Atlanta, there to await further orders.
II. The army will be prepared to move back tomorrow or next day, the Army of the Cumberland to Atlanta and Chattahoochee bridge, the Army of the Tennessee to East Point, and the Army of the Ohio to Decatur. Major-General Thomas will have General Garrard’s cavalry ready to act as the rear guard.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp
Howard Gives Orders to His Army:
SPECIAL HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT FIELD ORDERS, AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Numbers 116. Near Lovejoy’s Station, Ga., September 3, 1864.
The major-general commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, not desiring to prevent the enemy from pushing toward or around our right, the following will be the dispositions for the day:
1. Major-General Blair will inspect the extreme right, and secure it against any reverse fire, shortening his lines if necessary so as to have some reserve.
2. Major-General Logan will hold his front line with as few troops as he deems safe, and put the rest comfortably in camp.
3. General Ransom will encamp his troops, with a view to resting them pushing skirmishers far out toward our right flank.
4. Brigadier-General Kilpatrick, while he will conform the operations of his command to the foregoing, will at the same time keep a sharp lookout on our right flank, advising the general commanding of any movement of the enemy.
* * * * *
The following are the orders and dispositions of this army in the preparations to move back, in pursuance of Special Field Orders, Numbers 63, Military Division of the Mississippi:
1. Major-General Logan will, with his reserves,at once form a brigade on the most practicable defensive ground in the rear of the cotton-gin; this reserve position will be occupied by the division of Brigadier-General Hazen, who will form the rear guard of the right column; General Logan;will then reduce his front line as much as possible, holding, however, to the last the hill now occupied by General Harrow.
2. Brigadier-General Ransom, commanding Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, will with his reserves, construct,a barricade on the right of that to be made by the Fifteenth Corps, retaining General Fuller’s division as rear guard of the left column. General Ramson will also, in conjunction with the commands on his left, reduce his front to a thin line, moving all troops not necessary to hold it to the rear of his barricade.
3. Major-General Blair, will at the hour of withdrawal, carefully move back his corps through to the rear of his barricades, take the advance on the road pursued by the Sixteenth Corps forming the left column.
4. The right column, under Major-General Logan, will pursue the road on which he advanced, drawing out at the same hour with the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps.
5. All trains, ammunition wagons, ambulances, &c., will be sent in advance. The hour of moving the trains and troops will be designated hereafter.