Saturday, October 8, 1864

SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 87. In the Field, Kenesaw, October 8, 1864.

I. The armies will march at once toward Allatoona – that of the Ohio by roads south and WEST of Acworth, that of the Cumberland by roads south and WEST of Kenesaw Mountain leading through Acworth, and that of the Tennessee of roads north and east of Kenesaw via Big Shanty and Acworth.

II. The Army of the Ohio will halt for orders near good grass and water two or three miles this side of Allatoona, that of the Cumberland this side of Acworth, and that of the Tennessee this side of Big Shanty, all giving attention to the grazing of their animals when not on the march.

III. All details for repairing roads will remain at work until relieved, or new orders are made. The repairs will be pushed to the maximum, and as soon as the Chattahoochee bridge is done the hospitals and sick now at Marietta will be sent to Atlanta.

IV. Until further orders, General Elliott will keep all his cavalry force watching the enemy, but ready to march rapidly to Stilesborough and the Etowah bridge if the enemy turns north toward Rome or Kingston; otherwise the cavalry will remain at the front or left flank of the army.

V. Should the enemy attempt our road about Kingston, or to invest Rome, the army must be prepared to leave at Allatoona the principal wagon trains and to march rapidly to the point threatened, but if the enemy simply move off toward Jacksonville or Blue Mountain the army will remain, its right at Allatoona and left at Kenesaw, until our roads are repaired.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide – de – Camp.

Gerrard Reports From New Hope Church:

I have possession of Dallas. From prisoners captured there I learn that Hood’s headquarters were there until two days since, when they were moved to Cedartown; also that all his army, except detachments left at the bridge, are north of Chattahoochee; that they threw up new works to cover the roads to Dallas, and after the railroad was destroyed they all moved westward through Dallas and roads in vicinity. Jackson’s whole Division is now just beyond Dallas, and I am now capturing cavalry instead of infantry. I have also sent to Burnt Hickory and toward Stilesborough. Will send in any information as soon as obtained.

The Blue Mountain story seems more and more probable; still they may make for Rome. The roads I came over yesterday were good, and no trouble to pass trains over them.
I have positive information as follows: On Wednesday Hood’s wagon train, quite large, and marked Hardee’s, Lee’s, and Stewart’s corps, passed through Dallas and took the Van Wert road. On Thursday, all day, Thursday night, and Friday morning infantry was passing; yesterday Hood left there and tool the same road. I drove in cavalry pickets this side of Dallas this morning, and followed two miles on the same road. I think by this time the cavalry is in motion except perhaps Ferguson’s brigade, out on the Dallas and Villa Rica road. there is no definite information in regard to destination beyond Van Wert. No force except a little cavalry has passed Burnt Hickory. Stewart’s corps turned off this side and went to Van Wert. You can say to General Sherman that this is perfectly reliable. Prisoners say Hardee has gone to Virginia and Cheatham is in command of his corps. Blue Mountain seems to be the point Hood is making for. Please let me know what I am likely to do, as I must get up rations soon unless I move back.

If General Sherman wishes to know if the enemy have turned up toward Kingston it can easier be found out by sending me to Euharlee from this point than by following their rear. The road from Dallas to Van wert is densely wooded and hilly and a small force can delay a long time. There is no forage on the road and the infantry can be three days beyond I could force my way through. If I go direct toward Kingston I can make time, obtain quick information, and get forage. I have ordered rations up and should be able to move tomorrow by 12 m. and be on the Eurharlee by early next day. Please let me know which I shall do and if possible the latter. It is in every way the best. I will also be on the flank of the army at Acworth, and if any of if go to Kingston can secure the bridges, &c., for it.

Corse Writes:

Ludlow here. I will destroy bridges and keep my force at or near Kingston today and go to Rome tomorrow. Do you want Gillem’s and Wooley’s Bridges, near Kingston, destroyed?

I Reply:

Yes; bridges over the Etowah between railroad and Rome should be destroyed at once. Hood is making from Dallas to Cedartown. I will be at Allatoona tomorrow. Look to the safety of the brigades near Cartersville.

Corse Writes from Cartersville:

Finding that the brigade from the Twenty-Third Corps was to remain at Allatoona I at once moved my command to this place, being en route for Rome. The wounded, about 300, I had loaded on cars at Allatoona and pushed up toward Kingston, but found that the drift had so damaged the bridge over the Etowah as to preclude their crossing until the necessary repairs could be made. The constructing force was sent for yesterday, but has not yet arrived (12 m. 8th); it will, therefore, be impossible to get my wounded to Rome today. I have carried across the river seven car-loads of wounded, and will send them to Rome, hoping to get them there and a train back in time to take the rest before morning. I am a little anxious for two reasons; first, they suffered much last night from exposure and need care; second, I want the cars emptied to move troops rapidly in case of any emergency. The rebel wounded, about 250, I left at Allatoona. The sound prisoners I have sent to Kingston with the Division. I will go to Kingston this afternoon via railroad.

There is a great deficiency in the railroad construction department between Resaca and Allatoona, which occasions all the delays. Tackle and instruments we can’t find here are necessary to repair the bridges over the Etowah and Oostenaula. The bridge at Resaca will be done, I am informed, tomorrow. This bridge here ought to be finished tonight. I will stay at Kingston tonight with my force, and, if nothing further is developed by tomorrow noon, will move thence to Rome ready for further movements. The garrisons are as follows: Allatoona – one brigade Twenty-Third Corps; three regiments Third Division, Fifteenth Corps, and six guard. Etowah bridge – three regiments Third Division, Fifteenth Corps, and three guns. Cartersville – one regiment of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, General McCook’s Division (detachments), and five guns. Kingston – two regiments and two guns; one regiment is guarding Gillem’s and Wooley’s Bridges. Rome – my Division, one regiment of cavalry; I have one battery only with the Division.

I ordered General McCook to destroy all bridges over Pumpkin Vine, Raccoon, and, if possible, over the Euharlee. I also wanted to destroy both bridges over the Etowah south of Kingston, but they decline doing so till get orders from you or General Smith. General Smith will be here today. McCook patrols this side of the Etowah, and pickets between Allatoona and Stilesborough as far our as practicable. We learn nothing of any moving this way. I would suggest the propriety of sending a force to Allatoona to guard those 8,000 cattle down near the army. I understand your ordered them to Allatoona. They cannot be protected at Allatoona if that place is again attacked as it was on the 5th.

You probably forget that the Army, of the Tennessee has 1,400 sick men at Rome, and it cannot be burned and abandoned very easily. As they have ample accommodation for more, I was induced to send my wounded there, which will increase the number of helpless to about 1,700 or 1,800. While I would protect them as long as possible, I could not afford to sacrifice my command or your communications for their sake, and in the extreme event would have supplies and surgeons sufficient to care for them and abandon the place. You must not think that the responsibility of their care will deter me from moving to more important points even without your orders. I should, however, respectfully ask you to let me know by bearer your views as regards their protection and duties toward them. I will be ready to strike wherever you want me at the instant, and will, I assure you, not hesitate to smash any column I find trying to cross the Etowah. I have more or less pain in my head, but with intermittent rests manage to get along very well.
JNO M. CORSE, Brigadier – General.

I Write General COX:
Hood has moved from Dallas to Cedartown. Collect your camps this side of Allatoona and inquire of all the posts the news and let me know. When I shall move I will order further. All our army moves that way.

I had Corse send a message to Thomas:

General Sherman desires [that] I send you word that he is all right at Kenesaw, and repairing road north. He earnestly urges the importance of pushing work on road toward him. Hood’s efforts are so far a failure. His ration question, he says, is all right; the forage question, he desire to have you know, can be improved with your assistance.
JNO. M. CORSE, Brigadier-General.

Thomas Replies:

NASHVILLE, October 8, 1864
Brigadier General John M. CORSE, Cartersville:
You will please inform Major-General Sherman that I have already directed that all the available force be put upon the repairs of the railroad road between Chattanooga and Allatoona, and that no time be lost in completing the road and putting it in running order. Anticipating the want of forage, I some days ago directed that as much forage as possible be accumulated at Chattanooga so that it can be shipped forward at the earliest opportunity. Subsistence stores in large quantities have also been pushed to the front as far as Chattanooga. Re-enforcements are arriving regularly, and I will place them at convenient points along the road where they may be drawn upon at any moment, and at the same time be available for the defense of the road. Forrest escaped Rousseau and crossed the Tennessee River, both above and below Florence, on the 6th. But for the heavy rains I think Rousseau would have captured him.
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding

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