Forrest is attacking the railroads in my rear. With 8,000 men and eight pieces of artillery, Forrest, passed toward Athens from toward Florence yesterday. He camped at Rogersville last night. Direction taken from that place is not known. I am shifting troops head him off an protect my line of supplies. Poe my engineer built a series of blockhouses that are well positioned and fortified at the important bridges. A small force should be able to hold off a more numerous enemy until help can arrive.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., September 24, 1864.
General HOWARD, East Point:
I have no doubt Hood has resolved to throw himself on our flanks to prevent our accumulating stores, &c., here, trusting to our not advancing into Georgia. Some cavalry got possession of Athens yesterday. I think I will send a DIVISION from Thomas to Bridgeport, and the balance of the one you have at Rome, viz, Corse’s, so as to act in case the enemy puts himself up WEST of the Coosa. Let Corse get all ready.
You may order General Corse to proceed to Rome by cars, and then unite his DIVISION to act against any force that my attempt to threaten Bridgeport from the direction of Gadsden. Let them march up to-morrow and take cars in the evening. The whole DIVISION will rejoin us before we take the field.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
Granger reports that the force at Athens, Alabama has been captured by Forrest. Colonel Campbell, Athens, was said to have surrendered the post at that place, the strongest position in the district. Forrest was there at 2 o’clock this afternoon; firing was heard there then. Forrest’s force said to be very large. No one seems to be able to approximate his numbers. I don’t believe, however, it is even 4,000. The detachment sent from here to re-enforce Athens last night, about 350, is said to have been captured within one mile and a half of Athens, after a very obstinate engagement.