SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, HDQRSS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 85. In the Field, Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia
I. Major – General Stanley, Army of the Cumberland, will occupy a strong defensive position across the Marietta and Burnt Hickory and Marietta and Dallas roads, its right near Pine Hill and left behind Noyes’ Creek.
II. Major – General Howard, Army of the Tennessee, will join on the left of General Stanley and make a line covering the Powder Springs road and the cavalry on that flank. General Kilpatrick will prevent any enemy from reaching the railroad below Marietta.
III. Brigadier – General Cox, Army of the Ohio, will move out on the Burnt Hickory road, via Pine Hill and Mount Olivet Church, WEST until the strikes the road by which the enemy have moved on Allatoona. He will have his columns ready for a fight, but now deployed. He will park his wagons near Kenesaw.
IV. General Elliott will send cavalry today to Big Shanty, Acworth, and Allatoona, and bring back official reports.
V. The utmost attention must be given to the grazing of animals, parking wagons, and economizing rations.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
M. DAYTON, Aide – de – Camp
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Marietta,
General SLOCUM, Atlanta:
The bridge and railroad is the part of your task which I deem most important. Hood has no army on that side that can invest Atlanta, but he may dash at exposed points. Keep a line of vedettes along down the Turner’s Ferry road south of Proctor’s Creek. Keep an infantry line on its north side, especially at the bridge across Proctor’s Creek near its mouth, where the river road crosses it. I ordered fifty men there as I passed. At the bridge defenses you should have one of your best brigadiers, and the works should be much strengthened, with two batteries well supplied with ammunition. A good line of pickets should hold the old rebel line, with a regiment on the extreme left at Turner’s Ferry, guarding the lower Nickajack bridge, and a good picket on the signal hill at Vining’s. All should on the approach of an enemy resist as long as possible and then rally at the bridge head. I am not yet positive as to the fate of Allatoona, but will find out today.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major – General, Commanding
General Stanley Writes:
A deserter just in from Stewart’s corps. He left Stewart’s corps this morning. It was marching past Lost Mountain, going southwest, except one division: French’s, which attacked Allatoona yesterday and was reported to have been repulsed. He don’t know where the rest of Hood’s army is, but says he heard that it was at Lost Mountain yesterday when they started back from the railroad. He reports seeing no force between this and Lost Mountain. They had but few wagons, but had artillery with them. He says the men were cautioned about the rations, as the supply was short. I have
Captain Steele, of my staff, went to Green’s house, one mile and a half from the crossing of the Sandtown and Allatoona road, on the Marietta and Dallas road, seven miles from Marietta. He met a boy at this house, who says the rebel cavalry picket reserve was there at 10 o’clock this morning, and at that time they fell back to the mountain, and took him with them. He left the mountain at about 1 p. m. He says he thinks there were about 2,00 cavalry there. A colonel was in command, and he heard him order some officer in charge on the train “to take the New Hope road. ” This train started about 11 a. m., just after they got on the mountain. He saw no artillery or infantry, “as he knows. ” When this cavalry left he came home.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Near Marietta, Georgia
I have now definite news of Corse. Allatoona is al safe, but Corse was wounded in the face, losing a cheek bone and ear. He says a cavalry force is reported about Stilesborough, threatening the road above Allatoona. I have ordered him to send all he can spare back and have ordered a brigade of Cox’s up there. I have ordered Garrard to threaten the road between Dallas and Burnt Hickory; Kilpatrick, Powder Springs and the road south of Dallas. I have ordered Cox to send a brigade down toward Dallas, Howard a Division also, and I want you to do the same, without artillery or wagons, and to return at night. Let your Division go out to Lost Mountain, establish signals, and move cautiously as though intending to attack, but with orders if met in force to work back slowly, drawing the attacking force against you intrenched. I don’t want this Division to go more than five or six miles out, and to act with great caution as though pressing to develop Hood’s position with a view to attack. If Hood has left his position about Dallas I will move up to Allatoona or remain near here, accordingly if he has moved by Burnt Hickory or south to Powder Springs. My First object is to make him recall any cavalry sent against our roads.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major – General, Commanding
A deserter, just sent in from the Second Cavalry Division, from the Sixth Mississippi Infantry, Adams’ brigade, Loring’s Division, Stewart’s corps, reports as follows:
Loring’s and Walthall’s Divisions were in Garrard’s front, near Hardshell Church, yesterday about three miles distant. Captain McIntyre, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, charged within three-quarters of a mile of their Division yesterday, driving in an Alabama regiment. The Division of Loring and Walthall moved at 7 o’clock this morning to the right of Lost Mountain in the direction of Blue Mountain. The rebel sick were ordered to Blue Mountain from Palmetto, and the general impression throughout the rebel army is that Hood is to retire to Blue Mountain and draw supplies from Selma and Talladega. French’s Division, of Stewart’s corps, attacked Allatoona yesterday. The deserter does not know whether they were accompanied by other infantry, but thinks only cavalry co-operated with French.
The Seventh-second Indiana Mounted Infantry, Captain Thompson commanding, has returned from Acworth and reports the railroad destroyed two miles this side Big Shanty and above Acworth, but not as effectually as the road below Atlanta; many of the ties not burnt and many rails not injured. From two of our men, captured and paroled, he learned that the rear guard of Armstrong’s brigade left Acworth this morning about 8 o’clock for the direction of Dallas. The troops at Big Shanty and Acworth were captured; a train of cars escaped to Allatoona. Loring’s and French’ss Division went to Allatoona; said to have lost about 500 men when repulsed.
The squadron sent to Allatoona has not returned. Captain Thomson is of opinion that it could not have gone beyond Acworth until this morning on account of the force of the enemy there and could not return by this time on account of the roads. From citizens, Captain Thomson learned that the enemy contemplated crossing the Etowah for Kingston to destroy the railroad; that the supplies of the enemy were limited, principally parched corn. I have ordered General Garrard, with his Division, to New Hope Church, and to send back information as to the movements of the enemy.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, near Marietta, October 6, 1864.
I have yours of this evening. I reiterate my order for all the cavalry to act boldly against Hood tomorrow, leaving all trains and artillery with the infantry. Of course, I don’t want them to attack infantry in position, but strike detachments. If this cavalry had been across to the Allatoona road today they would have captured enough stragglers alone to have made up for our losses at Acworth and Big Shanty. I will send orders to Howard today to send Kilpatrick agains and Dallas. Corse reports cavalry at Stilesborough, threatening to cross the Etowah and to strike Kingston. Garrard might get up on the Burnt Hickory and Dallas road and cut off any party returning. At all events keep him out and hang close upon the enemy. We must not let Hood send off all his cavalry and hold ours at bay by mere squads. It does look as though our cavalry was afraid to meet an inferior force. Let them wipe out this impression. The fact that a single regiment went out today where a Division of cavalry would not venture elicited universal remark today. I was asked by a hundred where our cavalry was, and why it did not reconnoiter instead of men on foot. Hood cannot move his wagons or artillery now, nor can we. Threaten roads south of him and between him and the Etowah, and I will so threaten him with our infantry that he will be in a tight place.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major – General, Commanding.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kenesaw, Georgia
Order Kilpatrick if he can cross Sweet Water to dash at Powder Springs and then turn toward any or all the roads leading south from Dallas. Hood is about New Hope covering a party of cavalry sent to cross the Etowah and to act against our roads there. I have intelligence from Allatoona. All well there, but General Corse was wounded in the face, losing a cheek bone and an ear. I want you to impress on Kilpatrick the importance of operating rapidly and boldly against the roads by which Hood can alone move south; not to attack infantry in position, but to hang about them as their cavalry does about us, and to pick up enough prisoners to make up for our losses. He should not carry a gun or wheel with him, but move and act as pure cavalry. You may at the same time move out toward Dallas a Division, light, without wagons or artillery, to threaten Hood and to act in concert with the cavalry. Hood’s precipitate movement back shows he don’t propose to fight us on fair terms, and he knows we will not follow him far, and therefore let this infantry, with the cavalry, seem to seek a position to act against him as he retreats. Keep you artillery and wagons well parked and the main force well in hand near their present positions till roads improve or until new developments are made. I will go to the top of Kenesaw tomorrow to watch. I have sent orders similar to these to all the army commanders. General Garrard will threaten the roads between Hood and Burnt Hickory.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major – General, Commanding
CHARLES H. FISH Sent His Report From Kenesaw:
KENESAW MOUNTAIN, GA., October 6, 1864:
I entered upon duty on this station October 1, taking charge of the station, being the ranking officer. October 3, very foggy until 10 a. m. Having for several nights observed smoke which indicated a large camp east of Lost Mountain, I this a. m. put in position an additional telescope, with which I discovered an extensive camp, and also cavalry and infantry moving, but could not for a considerable time determine whether they were our men or rebels. I used this glass all the time except when engaged in receiving or sending a message; while thus engaged I had my most trusty man at the glass. Between 2 and 3 p. m. I discovered a column of rebel cavalry near the railroad, between Kenesaw Mountain and Big Shanty. I immediately reported this to Captain Randall, assistant adjutant – general, at Marietta. Then ensued a series of questions and answers as to whether I was certain they were really rebels, or whether they were not railroad repairers, and they could not believe me until I reported the firing into a train of cars. General McArthur and Captain Randall soon came to this station, and I took great pains to show them that a large force of the enemy had made its appearance at Big Shanty, as in the mean time a large force of the enemy has arrived there and formed a line of battle. I watched their movements until darkness came, and reported to the station at Marietta. The message from General Sherman in regard to the movements of the enemy was delayed on account of the fog. I called Allatoona for two hours, but could get no acknowledgement. I could hardly read a torch at Marietta, the fog was so dense.
October 4, dense fog; did not lift until 9:30 a. m. ; called Allatoona and sent messages received last night. Saw the enemy hard at work destroying the railroad both sides of Big Shanty. Was busily engaged all day and night transmitting messages. At 5 p. m. the enemy began to move off on Acworth road, and at 6 p.m. our army moved into camp at the foot of Little Kenesaw Mountain.
October 5, up to this time I had had only three stations to communicate with, but during the day I opened with other stations as follows: Headquarters of Generals Sherman, Howard, Stanley, and Cox; also with Vining’s Hill. The three stations were Atlanta, Marietta, and Allatoona. Today the battle at Allatoona was fought. I could see the smoke of guns and shells. General Sherman was with me all day sending and receiving messages. It was hard, wearying work for my flag – men, but they showed a cheerful willingness to do all in their power to assist the general in his great work. I will here state that on the night of the 3rd instant the troops were withdrawn from my front and placed at the foot of the mountain on the northeast side, thus leaving me out in the cold. I made preparation for defending the station long enough to have destroyed all signal property and private baggage I count now carry off on my person.
I have the honor to be, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHARLES H. FISH,
First Lieutenant and Acting Signal Officer, Fifteenth Army Corps
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kenesaw, October 6, 1864.
General CORSE, Commanding, Allatoona:
DEAR GENERAL: This evening I got a signal from you giving me the first real intelligence of the safety of Allatoona and of your wound. At some future time I will add my high appreciation of your services, but now I want to prevent any more mischief to our roads. Allatoona is now safe on this front. Leave enough to cover the bridge to the rear as against a cavalry dash and send all you can spare back to Rome, to assure the safety of that place, although in the end I suppose I will have to use the iron on that road and to destroy the town. I doubt if any force of Hood will cross the Etowah, but still he may. I will tomorrow continue to demonstrate against him and make him keep his people together. Unless your wound is too severe, exercise a general command, for you head is worth more than a dozen of any I have to spare. I have sent these orders by signal, but fear they may reach you mutilated. If possible, get a message in cipher up to Chattanooga for them to work this way whilst we work the road back. We have abundance of food, but little forage. Let the Rome force return at once to Rome and protect the road. I will cover Allatoona.
T. SHERMAN, Major – General, Commanding
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, October 6, 1864.
General COX, Commanding Army of the Ohio, Mount Olivet Church:
I now have a satisfactory message from Allatoona; all right there, though General Corse reports his loss heavy. He himself was wounded in the face, losing a cheek bone and an ear. I have signaled him today and have sent messages by the cavalry; but it is almost impossible to get them outside of the infantry, and therefore I wish you to send a brigade up to Allatoona, and to deliver this letter addressed to General Corse. In the mean time I have ordered Garrard’s Division of cavalry to move on New Hope, and will order Kilpatrick to move against Powder Springs, and as though to attack. General Corse reports movements of cavalry about Stilesborough, and the officer commanding at Rome reports Wheeler all about. The way to counteract all these things is to move in force against Hood; but we cannot move our trains and artillery in this mud, and therefore we must appear to be attacking him. Therefore, keeping your trains where they are, you may move from Mount Olivet toward Dallas a light brigade, making a good deal of smoke and pausing on the hill-tops, not going more than six miles, unless orders are received to convert the feint into a real attack. Keep up your signals and I will go to Kenesaw tomorrow and direct the general movement, which will be general from all three armies. Let the brigade going up to Allatoona take the main road, and go quick, rest, and return, bringing me a written answer.
SHERMAN, Major – General, Commanding
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, October 6, 1864.
General VANDEVER, Commanding District of Marietta:
Your communication in regard to the strength of your command and the calls upon you for duty is received and considered. Until the requirements upon the forces we have in hand, occasioned by the present emergency, are over you will please do the best you can, and I then will readjust details as may seem necessary. You may move back to Marietta.
T. SHERMAN, Major General