Saturday, October 15, 1864

Snake Creek Gap, Georgia

HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 92. In the Field, October 15, 1864.
The movement tomorrow will be on La Fayette, the primary object being to secure possession of Ship’s Gap.

I. General Howard will move rapidly on Villanow and Ship’s Gap, Secure the summit, and mass to the right.

II. General Stanley will follow and mass to the left of the gap.

III. General Cox will halt for orders at Villanow, guarding roads north and south.

IV. General Garrard’s cavalry will come through Snake Creek Gap and guard the trains. General Elliott will dispatch Colonel Watkins’ cavalry and scouts to open communication with Chattanooga, to let them know that this army is in pursuit of Hood and to inform me of the state of facts along the road and at Chattanooga.

V. The ordnance and ambulance trains will pass with the troops, as also herds of cattle, but supply trains will follow in the order of the troops, viz, those of the Army of the Tennessee first, those of the Cumberland second, and those of the Ohio last.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

RESACA, October 15, 1864: 3:30 a.m.
General STANLEY:
Make the park on the Rome road whenever you can move, either on Dalton or across the mountain (with infantry) – a park where you can assemble your main force. Put a brigade on the top of the hill early, and after guarding the flanks let them skirmish down into the valley. Get a good lookout. As soon as the enemy discovers a force above him he will let go the gap.

Please send an officer to direct your troops south of the bridge to use the pontoon bridge and leave the new bridge to the Army of the Tennessee, that I have ordered to approach around the left of your men. At 3 o’clock last night a brigade found the enemy still in Snake Creek Gap. Still it may be if they have seen our force they are off. If the enemy leaves us Snake Creek Gap it will not be necessary for you to pass the hill, but let us make it certain. Leave orders for your wagons to park in a convenient place, your ammunition where it can come forward on notice; move as quiet as possible for the Rome road, around by the head of Camp Creek, and let Davis close on you.
W.T. SHERMAN, Major-General

I will try to cut off the force in Snake creek Gap.

I send orders by Stanley’s aide, Sinclair:

I got through all right. The rebs still occupy Snake Creek Gap. General Sherman wishes you to push on toward Villanow – not work down this way along the back of the mountain. Keep troops crossing toward Villanow, both Fourth and Fourteenth Corps, closing down toward the WEST end of the gap, which is about two miles from Villanow. On the map of the campaign a road is laid down from Tilton to Villanow in the very direction in which General Sherman wishes the movement made.
Respectfully, yours,
WM. H. SINCLAIR, Assistant Adjutant-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Snake Creek Gap, October 15, 1864: 12 m.
General ELLIOTT:
The enemy holds this gap, but I see no evidence of a large force. Howard is now skirmishing and Stanley is crossing the mountain. I expect to get to Villanow by night. I would rather have Garrard come into Resaca, and as soon as I hear of Colonel Watkins I can better know what directions to give to Garrard. I will send orders for him either from here or after I know we have the gap.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

WATKINS Reports His Cavalry Scouting From Tunnel Hill:

The road from here to Chattanooga is uninjured. The tunnel is safe. The whole rebel force have gone to Villanow and La Fayette. Cleveland is evacuated. There are 15,000 troops in Chattanooga. General Schofield was commanding last night. All our forces between here and Chattanooga have gone to the latter place. I shall proceed from here to Nickajack Gap, having already sent a scout there.

One hundred and eighty-seven wagons and five batteries took the left-hand road at La Fayette to Falling Water (Whiteside’s) and Bridgeport. Will endeavor to destroy bridge at Whiteside’s, and then make through Alabama to Atlanta. The rebels are living on parched corn. This information is obtained from James G. Brown, General Thomas’ chief of scouts, who was with them, dressed in rebel clothing.

Hood’s army left Villanow at daylight this morning in the direction of La Fayette. He has very little cavalry but plenty of artillery. He has some cavalry on Rocky Face Mountain. There are no troops between Nickajack Gap and Villanow. Inclosed I send a copy of the dispatch I sent General Schofield. I left in Nickajack Gap 100 men and the remainder of my command at Dalton. I will await further orders at this place. As I am familiar with the country around La Fayette and Summerville I can perhaps be of service to you.

CORSE Reports from Rome:

I sent two brigades, one section of artillery, and one regiment of cavalry toward Summerville as directed. Struck the enemy three miles above there, where they showed artillery and strong line. Captured General Allen’s inspector-general, who says there are three brigades of cavalry at the bridge and Wheeler’s command near Dirt Town. Citizens report Hood is now coming back and that there is infantry near Summerville.

All back safe. Drove Allen’s DIVISION to Dirt Town and developed five brigades of cavalry guarding a train that is passing north through Dirt Town gap. No infantry could be seen or heard of. The impression among the prisoners is that the army is going to Tennessee. Our cavalry went twelve miles, leaving the infantry at Kinney’s Creek, eight miles from here. Heard cannonading in direction of Snake Creek Gap. Wheeler was at Dirt Town this morning.

General Cox Writes from CALHOUN, GA.

Have come ten miles this morning from the camp where the trains stopped us last night. Am pushing forward, though somewhat delayed by portions of trains we find in the road, and which we have to get rid of. I am impatient at not being nearer up, but am hurrying as much as possible.

The head of my column is now nearly at the bridge. As it has been somewhat broken by wagon trains, I purpose halting in the river flat before crossing, and will let the men bivouac there till I hear from you. It will, of course, take some time, perhaps two hours, for the rear to come up.

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