Monday, October 24, 1864

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Gaylesville, Ala., October 24, 1864.

DEAR SIR: The Honorable Augustus R. Wright, former member of Congress, asks to be made known to you. I am satisfied he is a man of high character and of true faith in the future. General Vandever and all commanders at Rome speak of him in this Light, and I believe you may safely extend to him your well-known kind and magnanimous favor.
I am, with respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Gaylesville, Ala., October
24, 1864.
General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, &c.:
I always designed to canvass the claims to promotion of all aspirants in the army, so as to save the President the invidious task of judging among so many worthy men, all of whom can only be known to him by the record. But events and movements have followed each other so rapidly that my army commanders have not been able to attend to the matter, but have sent into my office the detached papers of each. These I herewith inclose, indorsed with my own individual opinion. I have not General Thomas’ list, but will instruct him to send it direct from Nashville, where he now is. If necessary to promote to Divisions and brigades the officers now exercising the rank of major-general and brigadier-general it be necessary to create vacancies, I do think the exigencies of the country would warrant the muster out of the same number of generals now on the list that have not done service in the past year.

The following persons should be promoted to the rank of major- general:
Army of the Cumberland: Brigadier General T. J. Wood, Brigadier General A. Baird. Bvt. Major General Jeff. C. Davis should be fully commissioned. Army of the Ohio: Brigadier General J. D. Cox to be major-general. Army of the Tennessee: Brigadier General Charles R. Woods, Brigadier General William B. Hazen, Brigadier General John M. Corse, and Brigadier General T. E. G. Ransom. All these are actual Division commanders, men of marked courage, capacity, and merit, who are qualified to separate commands.
Among the worthy colonels aspiring to the rank of brigadier-general I can only name Colonel J. A. Williamson, Fourth Iowa; Colonel Thomas J. Harrison, Eighth Indiana Cavalry, and Colonel R. H. G. Minty, of Second Michigan Cavalry, who have long and well commanded brigades, and who seems to have no special friends to aid them to advancement.
I am, with respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

GAYLESVILLE, ALA., October 24, 1864. 8 p.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
We have heard of Sheridan’s victory at Cedar Creek. We cannot afford to burn gunpowder, but our men can make up in yelling, which is just as good. We have pushed the enemy to Gadsden, and are now living on the country till the railroad is repaired, which will be done by Thursday, the 27th. I will send back all sick, wounded, and surplus property, ready to take up our baggage and march wherever it may seem best. General Wilson is here, and asks for time to make up a good cavalry force, but I will be governed by the movements of Beauregard. I send an order, made by Beauregard on assuming command, which seems to be of enough importance to telegraph.

Slocum reports all well at Atlanta. He has gathered near 2,000 wagon-loads of corn and forage. All my animals here are improving on the corn-fields of the Coosa, and you will observe my position at Gaylesville, Blue Pond, and a pontoon laid at Cedar Bluff, with a Division at Alpine and Will’s Valley head, is very good to watch the enemy about Gadsden and Blue Mountain. Beauregard announces his theorem to be to “drive Sherman out of Atlanta, which he still holds defiantly.” I dare him to the encounter, but am not willing to chase him all over creation.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Gaylesville, Ala., October 24, 1864.
Colonel BECKWITH, Chief Commissary of Subsistence, Atlanta:
Come to Rome and to me, in the field, for consultation. Don’t accumulate more than thirty days’ supply anywhere, except at Chattanooga. Rather diminish than increase our supplies, and send back all surplus and worthless stores. Hood is now at Blue mountain, and Forrest over about the head of navigation on the Tennessee.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

General Wilson, my new chief of cavalry has arrived. The first thing he wants to do is standardize the weapons among the 20,000 cavalry so all the ammunition will be the same. The cavalry is to be armed with repeating rifles.

I want Wilson to have a large force that can block Forrest and Hood from movement into Tennessee. All the forces in Tennessee will be under the command of Thomas and he will be able to direct the cavalry.

HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS. In the Field, Gaylesville, Ala., October 24, Numbers 103.

I. Brevet Major-General Wilson, having reported in accordance with orders from the lieutenant-general commanding to be assigned, with his brevet rank, is announced as chief of cavalry, and will assume command of the cavalry forces of the Military DIVISION of the Mississippi, headquarters in the field.

II. Subject to the approval of the President, the cavalry forces of the Military Division of the Mississippi will hereafter constitute the cavalry corps of the Military Division of the Mississippi. All detachments, battalions, regiments, brigades, and Divisions will make the returns required by the present orders and regulations to the head quarters of the Cavalry Corps, through the usual channels. They will send copies of the monthly returns to their respective department commanders.

III. Brigadier-General Johnson I hereby relieved from duty as chief of cavalry of the Military Division of the Mississippi. He will remain in discharge of the duties assigned him by paragraphs I and II, of General Orders, Numbers 23, from headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi. He will receive his instructions and make his reports direct to headquarters of the Cavalry Corps.

IV. The office of chief of cavalry at the headquarters of the different department in this Division is abolished, and the chiefs of cavalry will report to their department commanders for other assignment.

V. Brevet Major-General Wilson will reorganize the forces under his command and will bring the field the greatest number of mounted troops possible. Department and other commanders will give such assistance as will insure the execution of this order with the least possible delay.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Gaylesville, Ala., October 24, 1864.
General STANLEY, Present:
There is a gang of guerrillas under one Gatewood somewhere behind us. He has about 100 men and will likely hurry to the north of our road, back to Rome. I wish you to send a brigade, Light, to Price’s Bridge and across to scout out toward Dirt Town and Coosaville, to make diligent inquiries and to let all know that such fellows will be dealt with summarily. Let the people also understand that when we are in search of such fellows we take no baggage, and therefore live on the country. If they want to save what little corn and potatoes they have, they must manage to get Gatewood disposed of, for he will bring ruin on them all.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

I want to know if the enemy is truly blocking us from control of Will’s Valley. Control will allow us to follow Hood’s movements and make him retreat further.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Gaylesville, Ala., October 24, 1864.
General ELLIOTT, Chief of Cavalry:
I received your note late in the night. I have ordered General Howard to send the Fifteenth Corps to develop the truth whether the enemy has made a barrier from mountains to the Coosa to absolutely bar the way to us or merely to delay to save time.
It is important we control the reach from Little River to the opening of Will’s Valley, and, therefore, I wish the effort continued.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Gaylesville, October 24, 1864.
General O. O. HOWARD:
You will please send the Fifteenth Corps forward in connection with the cavalry to test the position described by General Elliott in his report of last night, to ascertain if the enemy has attempted to make a barrier from the mountains to the Coosa to oppose the army or merely to create delay. Let the officer in command proceed with due caution and take with him a couple of rifle batteries. Leave all incumbrances at camp and return when the truth is disclosed.

Major-General Schofield just reports that at 6 p. m. the pontoon had reached Cedar Bluff. The general commanding desires to have you instruct General Osterhaus not to be drawn too far, as with the use of the pontoon at Cedar Bluff we can better threaten the enemy via the south side of the Coosa, in that more open country, than by pushing into the gap where he is now operating.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

Corse Writes:

I am very much grieved and surprised to learn that the pontoons had not reached Cedar Bluff before yesterday evening, but not knowing where Perkin’s Landing is, I presume it must be nearer Cedar Bluff, as they have had ample time to reach the latter place. I, therefore, would have to moved my Division to Center to cover their getting down. In order to get to Center I will have to move some distance around to avoid Cedar Bluff, as the rebels have destroyed the sole crossing over that stream since the covering force I sent down has returned. The distance to Center from here, by the route I am compelled to take, is about forty miles, or near two days’ march for infantry, with four brigades of cavalry and one of infantry to overcome before reaching that point, which is equivalent to another day’s march, and as I presume time is everything to the general I will move a brigade of infantry to Cedar Bluff, on the right bank of the Coosa, crossing them in the boats, and cover the laying of the bridge. If the boats are this side of Cedar Bluff any distance they can cross in the boats and march down on the other side. The brigade will move soon after daylight, and by hard marching I will have them near the Bluff to-night. In the mean time if the general should desire my Division to go around to Center please send word by return courier, and I will move to that point at once.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field Gaylesville, Ala., October 24, 1864.
General CORSE, Rome:
The Army of the Tennessee has less than 20,000 present, and had no right to draw 25,000 rations; the Army of the Cumberland should have 20,000, and the Ohio 10,000. I will make General Howard refund 5,000 rations. I have been down to Cedar Bluff; the bridge is not here. I saw the officer yesterday who said he was at Perkins’ place, below Coosaville, and I ordered him to leave at dark, and had a brigade waiting for him all night, but in the night he sent me word that he heard of a guerrilla down the river, and would not start without my positive order. I take it now that so much delay has occurred that the enemy will capture it on its way down.

I ordered General Schofield to send a whole Division to Cedar Bluff, and a brigade along up the Coosa, but the danger will be of course at the deep bends at the south. If the bridge does not come tonight I will infer that it is gobbled, or that we must get over by crossing via Rome. The officer was wrong last night in hesitating, for he could have floated by. The enemy has a barrier across the Narrows, down below Little River, near Turkeytown, and I have sent the Fifteenth Corps to test it, but not to assault. We are eating out this valley good, so that it will not be necessary to come again.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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