NEAR LOVEJOY’S GA., September 4, 1864: 9 a.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.;
The Twentieth Corps now occupies Atlanta and the Chattahoochee bridges. The main army is now here, grouped below Jonesborough. The enemy holds a line facing us, with front well covered by parapets, and flanks by Walnut Creek on the right and a confluent of Flint River on his left. His position is too strong to attack in front, and to turn it would carry me too far from our base at this time. Besides, there is no commensurate object, as there is no valuable point to his rear till we reach Macon, 103 miles from Atlanta. We are not prepared for that, and I will gradually fall back and occupy Atlanta, which was and is our grand objective point, already secured.
For the future I propose that of the drafted men I receive my due share, say 50,000; that and equal or greater number go to General Canby, who should now proceed with all energy to get Montgomery and the reach of the Alabama River above Selma. When I know he can move on Columbus, Ga., I move on La Grange and West Point, keeping to the east of the Chattahoochee; that we form a junction repair roads to Montgomery and open up the Appalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers to Columbus and move from it as a base straight on Macon. This campaign can be made in the river in winter and we can safely rely on the corn of the Flint and Chattahoochee to supply forage. If the Tensas Channel of the Alabama can be used, General Gardner, with the rebel garrison, could continue to hold Mobile for our use when we want it.
I propose to remove all he inhabitants of Atlanta, sending those committed to our cause to the rear, and the rebel families to the front. I will allow no trade, manufactories nor any citizens there at all, so that we will have the entire use of railroad back, as also such corn and forage as may be reached by our troops. If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty I will answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking. If they want peace, they and their relatives must stop war.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
Thomas reports that the enemy continues to fortify in his front and intends to hold that position. Our sick, wounded, captured ordnance, and prisoners of war left for Atlanta this morning. The rebel wounded scattered about in the neighborhood are being brought to our rear. Two hundred and thirty-four rebel wounded, surgeons chaplains, and attendants have been collected in this neighborhood during the day, and all but about eighty, who are too badly wounded, will be sent to Atlanta in the morning. Twenty-one rebel deserters have been received during the day.
The rebel pickets are withdrawn from all roads to the east of here, except on the McDonough road, by 4 p.m. yesterday and their army may now be regarded as south of us. On the McDonough road the cavalry of the Army of the Ohio was skirmishing yesterday and drove in their pickets to within a few miles of McDonough.
In my rear, Wheeler crossed Duck River and joining Roddey, is again menacing the railroad.
HDQRS. MILL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, FIELD ORDERS,
In the Field, near Lovejoy’s, No. 64. September 4, 1864.
The army having accomplished its undertaking in the complete reduction and occupation of Atlanta will occupy the place and the country near it until a new campaign is planned in concert with the other grand armies of the United States.
I. The Army of the Cumberland will occupy the city and its communications with Chattanooga, the Army of the Tennessee will occupy East Point and the right flank, and the Army of the Ohio the town of Decatur and the left flank; the cavalry will occupy Sandtown, Roswell, and other points on the flanks and along our line of communication.
II. To withdraw to the posts herein designated, the Army of the Cumberland will withdraw, first, to Jonesborough; second, to Rough and Ready, and third, to Atlanta, leaving the cavalry to bring up the rear in the manner herein prescribed.
III. The Army of the Tennessee will move in concert with that of the Cumberland, first, to its old position near Jonesborough; second, across the Flint River to about Morrow’s Mill, and third, to East Point and the head of Camp Creek.
IV. The Army of the Ohio will also move in concert with that of the Cumberland, first, to a point near Jonesborough; second, to some point within two miles and east of Rough and Ready, and last to Decatur.
V. General Kilpatrick’s cavalry will cover the left rear of the Army of the Tennessee, and that of General Garrard the right rear of the Army of the Ohio until they reach the position assigned in this order, when the cavalry commands will move to the points designated, viz, Sandtown and Roswell.
VI. The general-in-chief will give notice when the movement will begin, and after reaching Atlanta will establish headquarters in Atlanta, and afford the army an opportunity to have a full month’s rest, with every chance to organize, receive pay, replenish clothing, and prepare for a fine winter’s campaign.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp