ROME, GA., October 28, 1864
The rebel army is now before Decatur, Alabama. I think the place strong and can hold out, and that it will delay Beauregard till General Thomas can make his preparations. I have sent Stanley’s corps to Chattanooga, and may also send Schofield’s; but I do not want to go back myself with the whole army, as that is what the enemy wants. If you can re-enforce Thomas and enable him to hold Tennessee I will soon make Hood let go, for when I get my sick and wounded to the rear I will start for Macon. The railroad is now done.
Hood has left the door into Georgia wide open. I am hurrying to prepare for my move.
ROME, GA., October 28, 1864
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
Colonel W. Warner telegraphs me that he is notified he will be dismissed for premature publication of news. Warner is one of my very best officers, and is just appointed Colonel of a new regiment. You know my views on the subject of these publications. Still I ask that he be not dismissed. I know him to be a very superior officer, and anything he has done has resulted from the universal misconception of duty by volunteer officers in regard to such matters. I will pledge myself for his future good behavior.
General Ransom is very ill of dysentery. I think he will die. He is being brought in on a litter.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
WARRENSBURG, MO., October 28, 1864. 10:15 p.m.
Your dispatch received. General Halleck says, in a dispatch of today, General Grant thinks I can and ought to send you re- enforcements. I have looked upon General A. J. Smith’s command as a loan from you. They are now near Kansas border, and will march toward Saint Louis with all practicable speed, scouring the country. They will be provided with everything needful, and sent to you as soon as they can reach the Mississippi. I have no cavalry available. I would like very much to know your exact wants and situation.
Winslow’s cavalry, that came with General Mower, will be sent to Memphis as soon as it can be done. It is now on the Kansas border, has had a hard campaign, and must be re- mounted, which will be done as speedily as possible.
W. S ROSECRANS, Major-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Gaylesville, Ala., October 28, 1864
Colonel BECKWITH, Atlanta, Ga.:
You may reduce your estimates to 50,000 men to go south. I will have to send the Army for the Ohio back also. Rush things. The enemy has made his appearance at Decatur, Alabama.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 108.
In the Field, near Gaylesville, Ala. October 28, 1864
The armies will move tomorrow on Rome, as follows, commencing the movement this evening, so as to reach their designated points tomorrow:
I. The Army of the Ohio will cross the Coosa at Cedartown and move by the most direct route to Rome.
The Army of the Tennessee will also cross the Coosa at Cedartown and move to Vann’s Valley. The cavalry of General Garrard will follow the Army of the Tennessee and act in concert with it.
III. The Fourteenth Corps, Brevet Major-General Davis commanding, will move via Gaylesville and the direct Rome road on the north of the Coosa, but will not leave Gaylesville until the morning of the 29th. The rear guard will completely destroy the pontoon bridge across the Coosa at Cedartown.
By order of Major General W. T . Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.
General Wilson Writes form the CAVALRY CORPS:
Your dispatch is just received; prisoners from Ross’ and Morgan’s brigades, taken about the head of Terrapin Creek, indicate the correctness of my prisoners’ information in regard to the whereabouts of Jackson. The reconnaissance on the Jacksonville road met strong resistance at Goshen, drove FIFTY or sixty men out of one line of rail breast-works and into or back upon another, from which they couldn’t start them. The regiment toward Ladiga had a similar experience near that place. Jackson’s entire Division came to this neighborhood four days ago for the purpose of covering the Alabama railroad. I don’t think any part of it is toward Villa Rica; at all events prisoners say it’s all between Jacksonville and here.
General Garrard says nobody except a few scouts followed him in from Turkeytown, and that Osterhaus did not go far enough beyond to ascertain any additional facts to those previously reported. General G. was not responsible for that reconnaissance and made no report. The man who reports the removal of the stores from Blue Mountain helped load them, and is positive that there are none left at that place. We have heard of every brigade of Jackson’s Division except Ferguson’s by prisoners. I’ll go to Ladiga early in the morning to see if anything more can be learned.
GAYLESVILLE, ALA., October 28, 1864. 8 p.m.
I have your dispatches of the 26th and 27th announcing that Hood’s force has appeared before Decatur. I have already sent the Fourth Corps, which should reach Wauhatchie tomorrow. Use it freely, and if I see that Hood crosses the Tennessee River, I will also send General Schofield. On these two corps you can engraft all the new troops. With the balance I will go south. Hood has but little ammunition and cannot afford to attack fortified places. Command all posts to defend themselves manfully and Hood will soon exhaust himself. The greatest danger is of garrisons being cut off. Instruct them and see that each has provisions to last till relief comes. If Hood crosses, it will be at Lam’s Ferry or Bainbridge. Wilson is now well down toward Jacksonville, and appearances are that Hood has shifted his stores over to the Mobile and Ohio road. I will go to Rome tomorrow. Keep me well advised.
Granger must hold Hood as long as he can. Hood wont’ assault. Both Allatoona and Resaca beat him off, and neither was as strong as Decatur. Granger don’t want too many men. They would be in his way. The gun-boats should be near him. Hood cannot spare ammunition to bombard. Stanley will be at Wauhatchie tomorrow and I may also send Schofield up from here. Notify all commanders of fortified places that numbers are nothing; they must hold their posts against a million. Let them get provisions and ammunition in now. If troops come from Missouri Eastport would be a good place, unless Hood succeeds in crossing the Tennessee.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Rome, Ga., October 28, 1864.
General STEEDMAN, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
Telegraph to General Granger he must hold on the death. Hood has no ammunition to spare, and cannot afford to assault. Send Granger some ammunition, if you can safely do so, by a boat. The gun-boats ought all to be there. Movements will occur elsewhere that will make Hood quit Decatur. Tell Granger to delay Hood there as long as he can. Stanley’s corps will reach Wauhatchie tomorrow, and I will also send up Schofield’s corps. Let General Thomas re-enforce Granger if necessary, but he don’t want too many men.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.
General STEEDMAN Reponds From CHATTANOOGA:
I have nothing from Decatur later than 11 this a.m. General Granger telegraphed me that Hood was there with his whole army preparing to attack him. The line is all right to Decatur.
JAS. B. STEEDMAN, Major-General.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Rome, Ga., October 28, 1864.
General STEEDMAN, Chattanooga, Tennessee:
Your telegram received. The general desires you to telegraph General Granger that he does not think Hood will assault works, but that he is there for the purpose of repairing the railroad from Corinth to Tuscumbia, with the object of making the latter his base. At present he has few supplies and can’t afford to waste his men on works, and before he can finish the road and cross the river we will be on him.
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.
CHATTANOOGA, October 28, 1864-11. 30 p. m.
Steedman Reports: The following dispatch is just received:
DECATUR, October 28, 1864
Major-General STEEDMAN, Chattanooga:
There is a calm this evening with the pickets. They appear to be moving their artillery about considerably. We made 130 prisoners today. They all think we will have warm work tonight or tomorrow. have no news from Sherman. Where do you think he is!
R. S. GRANGER, Brigadier-General
I have sent General Granger 1,500 rounds of artillery ammunition.
JAS. B. STEEDMAN, Major-General