ATLANTA, Georgia, September 28, 1864: 11:30 a.m.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
I have positive knowledge that Jeff. Davis made a speech at Macon on the 22d, which I mailed to General Halleck yesterday. It was bitter against Johnston and Governor Brown. The militia is on furlough. Brown is at Milledgeville trying to get a Legislature to meet next month, but he is afraid to act unless in concert with other Governors. Judge Wright, of Rome, has been here, and Messrs. Hill and Nelson, former members of our Congress, are also here now and will go to meet Wright at Rome, and then go back to Madison and Milledgeville. Great efforts are being made to re-enforce Hood’s army and to break up my railroads, and I should have at once a good reserve force at Nashville. It would have a bad effect if I were to be forced to send back any material part of my army to guard roads, so as to weaken me to an extent that I could not act offensively if the occasion calls for it.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
Washington, September 28, 1864-10. 15 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Atlanta, Ga.:
The pay department has its officer and funds for your army. The recent demonstrations on your line of communication make it doubtful whether funds should go forward. Shall I send them forward, or suspend them? Governor brought asks that four allotment agents of the State may go forward to receive the allotments in favor of soldiers’ families. Have you any objection to their doing so? Please advise me on both points immediately.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
CITY POINT, September 28, 1864-8. 30 a. m.
It is evident, from the tone of the Richmond press and all other sources, that the enemy intend making a desperate effort to drive you from where you are. I have directed all new troops from the West, and from the East, too, if necessary, if none are ready in the West, to be sent to you. If General Burbridge is not too far on the way toward Abingdon I think he had better be recalled and his surplus troops sent into Tennessee.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., September 28, 1864: 9:30 p. m.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, City Point:
Your dispatch is just received. I sent back to Stevenson and Decherd General Thomas, to look to Tennessee, and have ordered a brigade of the Army of the Tennessee up to Eastport, and the cavalry across to that place from Memphis, to operate against the flank of any force going into Tennessee by way of the fords near Florence. I want Appalachicola arsenal taken, also Savannah; and if the enemy does succeed in breaking up my roads, I can fight my way across to one or the other place; but I think it better to hold on to Atlanta and strengthen to my rear, and therefore am glad you have ordered troops to Nashville. Forrest has got into Middle Tennessee, and will, I feel certain, get on my main road tonight or tomorrow; but I will guard well from this back to Chattanooga, and trust to troops coming up from Kentucky to hold Nashville and forward to Chattanooga.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
ATLANTA, GA., September 28, 1864.
Major-General HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
Before my report is made public I would like you to insert a sentence at some appropriate place, to the effect that during the progress of the campaign, expeditions were kept out from Memphis and Vicksburg with a view to hold any forces of the enemy there off our roads, and that this end was accomplished, reflecting credit on Generals Washburn, A. J. Smith, Slocum, and Mower; and that although Sturgis was less successful, even he produced the effect which formed the chief purpose of this attempt.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
Webster Reports from Nashville:
Forrest withdrew from Pulaski last night, and is thought to have gone across to the Chattanooga road. General Rosecrans answered me last night that A. J. Smith was confronting a rebel force twice or thrice his own, which attacked Pilot Knob yesterday morning. This morning’s papers say that the attack on Pilot Knob was easily repulsed. General Steedman will return immediately. Have not heard from General Schofield. Will get three regiments from Kentucky. General Burbridge is moving east with the bulk of Kentucky troops.
D. WEBSTER, Brigadier-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Atlanta, Georgia, September 28, 1864.
General J. D. WEBSTER, Nashville Tenn.:
General Grant telegraphs me that he has ordered many troops to Nashville. I want you to recall General Burbridge, and concentrate all the troops possible to push Forrest. I send General Thomas up to Stevenson to work from this direction. I can hold Atlanta and my communications back to Chattanooga.
I will send up the road tonight another DIVISION, and want you to call forward from the rear all you can get, so as to make a movable column and distribute the men. Bring close in all the camps, especially that of the Thirteenth Regulars, and assign each detachment to its post. I will send Thomas up to Stevenson to operate in Forrest’s rear.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., September 28, 1864.
General COX, Decatur:
I was coming up to see you to-day, but I have a bad cold and don’t feel like visiting. I have sent General Garrard down the river. Keep your cavalry well on the alert on your left flank in observation. I don’t hear of any enemy in that direction, but still ’tis well to be watchful.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.
I Write to General Thomas:
It is not worth while to reoccupy Athens, but we ought to attempt to thwart Forrest, and the proper way is to operate from Decatur to Florence. But is there nothing from Nashville or Pulaski? You may want the DIVISION to operate according to the information received at Stevenson.
I have just returned from Howard’s. I think that a movement of all our cavalry not actually on picket should be made rapidly on Carrollton, to interrupt any communication from Hood’s army at Palmetto with his cavalry over about the Tennessee. After striking Carrollton it should move boldly up toward Hood’s army, and then draw back to Sandtown.
I Write General GRANGER at Decatur:
I will send General Thomas up the road. In the mean time you should drive any squads of Forrest’s men across Elk and threaten the fords at Lamb’s and Elkton; also, open up communication with Rousseau at Pulaski, so you can act in concert. Don’t repair roads or occupy any position, except small redoubts that don’t take many men, and keep your surplus men so as to move quick and to strike Forrest’s line of retreat or communication.
Rousseau has stopped Forrest at Pulaski:
We have dispatch from General Rousseau, dated Pulaski, Tenn., 10 a. m., by courier to Buford Station, saying that Forrest left last night, moving southward, and that he will likely cross over to the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, on the south side of Elk River. About sixty yards of the track was taken up and burned twelve miles north of Pulaski. Enemy has five brigades and several batteries. The general says, to resist enemy successfully, he must have more cavalry, believing it their intention to remain upon the roads as long as possible. A force is following. Our loss yesterday greater than at first stated; enemy’s loss, 200.
Hazen Writes from East Point:
A rebel deserter, a private of the First Missouri, of Stewart’s corps, who left their army yesterday, and has just arrived at East Point. He confirms the report sent in last night as to the position of the rebel army, to wit: Stewart on their left, with his left flank at or near the Chattahoochee, then Lee in the center, and Hardee on the right; their line crossing the railroad one mile and a half east of Palmetto Station. That they appear to be in a permanent camp with works; also that there is a rumor that they are going to the Blue Mountain. He says also that Jeff. Davis was with the army day before yesterday, and said the army must winter in Tennessee. This latter he knew only by rumor. I learn also from deserters, escaped prisoners, and contrabands that the rebels are removing everything from the Macon line, including the iron of the road, to that point or below it. The refugees and citizens are moving also to that point, taking their negroes and movables. This has caused within the past two days several arrivals of contraband families.