Wednesday, November 2, 1864

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Rome, Georgia
My four corps: the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Fourteenth, and Twentieth with one division of cavalry, are strung from Rome to Atlanta. Our railroads and telegraph havebeen repaired, and I am preparing for the to Savannah, distant three hundred miles from Atlanta. All the sick and wounded men have been sent back by rail to Chattanooga; all our wagon-trains have been carefully overhauled and loaded, so as to be ready to start on an hour’s notice, and there is no serious enemy in our front.

General Hood remains still at Florence, Alabama, occupying both banks of the Tennessee River, busy in collecting supplies over railroads that are still broken. Beauregard is at Corinth.

General Thomas is at Nashville, with Wilson’s dismounted cavalry and a mass of new troops and quartermaster’s employs amply sufficient to defend the place. The Fourth and Twenty-third Corps, under Generals Stanley and Schofield are posted at Pulaski, Tennessee, and the cavalry of Hatch, Croxton, and Capron, are about Florence, watching Hood. A.J. Smith’s two divisions of the Sixteenth Corps are still in Missouri.

General F. P. Blair has rejoined his corps (Seventeenth), and we are receiving at Kingston recruits and returned furlough-men, distributing them to their proper companies. Paymasters have come down to pay off our men before their departure to a new sphere of action, and commissioners are also on hand from the several States to take the vote of our men in the presidential election agitating the country.

Grant Writes:

Do you not think it advisable, now that Hood has gone so far north, to entirely ruin him before starting on your proposed campaign? With Hood’s army destroyed, you can go where you please with impunity. I believed and still believe, if you had started south while Hood was in the neighborhood of you, he would have been forced to go after you. Now that he is far away he might look upon the chase as useless, and he will go in one direction while you are pushing in the other. If you can see a chance of destroying Hood’s army, attend to that first, and make your other move secondary.

ROME, GEORGIA, November 2, 1864
Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, City Point, Virginia:
Your dispatch is received. If I could hope to overhaul Hood, I would turn against him with my whole force; then he would retreat to the southwest, drawing me as a decoy away from Georgia, which is his chief object. If he ventures north of the Tennessee River, I may turn in that direction, and endeavor to get below him on his line of retreat; but thus far he has not gone above the Tennessee River. General Thomas will have a force strong enough to prevent his reaching any country in which we have an interest; and he has orders, if Hood turns to follow me, to push for Selma, Alabama. No single army can catch Hood, and I am convinced the best results will follow from our defeating Jeff. Davis’s cherished plea of making me leave Georgia by manoeuvring. Thus far I have confined my efforts to thwart this plan, and have reduced baggage so that I can pick up and start in any direction; but I regard the pursuit of Hood as useless. Still, if he attempts to invade Middle Tennessee, I will hold Decatur, and be prepared to move in that direction; but, unless I let go of Atlanta, my force will not be equal to his.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

ROME, GA., November 2, 1864. 8 a.m.
Major-General THOMAS:
Dispatch 7 p.m. 1st received. I sent you yesterday copies of Rosecrans’ dispatches showing that Generals Smith’s and Mower’s Divisions are en route, but it will take ten days for them to reach Paducah. It is now raining, and Beauregard will be very cautious in going north of the Tennessee River at this season of the year. General Schofield is on the railroad and can be moved rapidly to any point you indicate. Have you any positive knowledge that any of Beauregard’s infantry has passed the Tennessee River? Wilson is also coming to you with Garrard’s dismounted cavalry, and it would be well to have horses and equipments awaiting them. According to Wilson’s account you will have in ten days full 12,000 cavalry, and I estimate your infantry force, independent of the railroad guards, full 40,000 men, which is a force superior to the enemy.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

NASHVILLE, TENN., November 2, 1864. 12:30 p.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Kingston:
It is reported that the enemy did not burn the gun-boat 55, with transports Venus and Cheeseman, captured near Paris Landing. General Donaldson does not know what they were loaded with. The other boats captured were burned. I will report to you the moment I learn that Beauregard is moving north. I have no further news this morning.
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding

Today Colonel W. W. Wright with the labor of fifteen hundred men has complete rapair of the railroad break of fifteen miles about Dalton to admit of the passage of cars. I am transferring my headquarters to Kingston as more central.

KINGSTON, GEORGIA, November 2, 1884

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, City Point, Virginia:
If I turn back, the whole effect of my campaign will be lost. By my movements I have thrown Beauregard well to the west, and Thomas will have ample time and sufficient troops to hold him until the reenforcements from Missouri reach him. We have now ample supplies at Chattanooga
and Atlanta, and can stand a month’s interruption to our communications. I do not believe the Confederate army can reach our railroad-lines except by cavalry-raids, and Wilson will have cavalry enough to checkmate them. I am clearly of the opinion that the best results will follow my contemplated movement through Georgia.

Grant Replied:

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, November 2,1864. 11:30 a.m.

Major-General SHERMAN:
Your dispatch of 9 A.M. yesterday is just received. I dispatched you the same date, advising that Hood’s army, now that it had worked so far north, ought to be looked upon now as the “object.” With the force, however, that you have left with General Thomas, he must be able to take care of Hood and destroy him.

I do not see that you can withdraw from where you are to follow Hood, without giving up all we have gained in territory. I say, then, go on as you propose.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 2, 1864.
Lieutenant-General GRANT, City Point, Va.:

Dispatch of 11:30 a.m. received. I will go on and complete my arrangements and in a few days notify you of the day of my departure. General Thomas reports today that his cavalry reconnoitred within three miles of Florence yesterday, and found Beauregard intrenching. I have ordered him to hold Nashville, Chattanooga, and Decatur, all well supplied for a siege.

All the rest of his army to assemble about Pulaski and to fight Beauregard cautiously and carefully. At the same time for A. J. Smith and all re-enforcements to get up to enable him to assume a bold offensive, and to enable Wilson to get a good mount of cavalry. I think Jeff. Davis will change his tune when he finds me advancing into the heart of Georgia instead of retreating, and I think it will have an immediate effect on your operations at Richmond.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

WARRENSBURG, MO., November 2, 1864.
Major-General SHERMAN:
I am now under orders to join you with my command, and will lose no time in reaching Saint Louis and embarking for destination en route. I have about 500 men in Memphis belonging to the First and Third Divisions, Sixteenth Army Corps. They are in detachments, and in occupation of the forts in Memphis. I now most earnestly request that you will order all men belonging to the First and Third Divisions to be relieved from duty at once and sent to Cairo, Illinois, and to report to me by telegraph at Saint Louis.
A. J. SMITH, Major-General

KINGSTON, GA., November 2, 1864
Major General A. J. SMITH, Warrensburg, Mo.:
Your dispatch received. Make all dispatch to reach Paducah to report to General Thomas at Nashville. Your services here will be short and the prohabilities are you will return again to the Mississippi. Still, I will order you detached men to you. I will be off in a few days on a worse raid than our Meridian raid was, and you may look for a great howl against the brute Sherman.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

ROME, November 2, 1864
Major-General SHERMAN, Kingston, Ga.:
General Howard reports last night at 6:30 at Cedartown and nicely in camp; says Hood took much, but plenty corn and some pigs are left. Some scouting and observing parties of the enemy’s cavalry about him. A captured letter from a citizen to Governor Brown complains bitterly of Hood’s army and its lawlessness, and begs him to get orders from Jeff. Davis to stop it.
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp

NASHVILLE, TENN., November 2, 1864-1. 15 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Kingston, Ga.:
Your dispatch of 8 a.m. today just received. I this morning received the first telegram from General Rosecrans; contents similar to the one you sent me. I have just heard from General Croxton, who dispatched to me at 7 p.m. yesterday, who says he has been within two miles of Florence on the Huntsville side and three miles on the Lawrenceburg side. The enemy is there with a large force, intrenching. They have laid pontoons at Florence, and are reported still crossing. He finds no cavalry, but Forrest is reported crossing below Florence. I think he must be mistaken about Forrest crossing below Florence; it may be Wheeler’s force. General Hatch should be with Croxton before this time, and although the rain may have made the roads bad. I am in hopes that the balance of Stanley’s troops will reach Pulaski today. It will not be possible for me to raise within the next ten days more than Stanley’s and Schofield’s corps and Croxton’s and Hatch’s cavalry, unless I should withdraw railroad guards immediately, which should not be done as long as we must operate the road. The convalescents will only be fit to garrison Chattanooga, Whiteside’s, and Bridgeport. It will need all the troops Granger has to hold Decatur; and Steedman’s troops belonging to my army are almost dwindled away by expiration of service. Eventually General Wilson can organize 12,000 cavalry from the dismounted men now in Tennessee and coming from the front, but he cannot do this in ten days. We will all do the best we can, as Beauregard halts to fortify. I hope we shall be ready for him. It has rained some, but not a great deal here.
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers

KINGSTON, GA., November 2, 1864. 6 p.m.
Major-General THOMAS:
Dispatch received. Is Beauregard moving northeast of the Tennessee or northwest of the Tennessee, and by what road? Where is General Schofield?
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Nashville, Tenn., November 2, 1864. 9 p.m.
Major-General SHERMAN:
The latest reports from General Croxton up to 7 p.m. yesterday say the enemy has a large force across the Tennessee at Florence and is fortifying. Croxton pushed reconnaissance within two miles of Florence on the Athens road and three on the Lawrenceburg road. No cavalry was met, but Forrest war reported crossing below Florence. He must have meant Wheeler, as Forrest is now below Johnsonville. I am in hopes that Stanley’s entire force will be at Pulaski by tomorrow night. The gun-boat 29 and another, under command of Lieutenant King, U. S. Navy, proceeded down the river this morning on a reconnaissance. Six miles below Johnsonville encountered gun-boat 55 and transport Venus, recently captured by the rebels, and after a fight of about thirty minutes the Venus was disabled and recaptured and now lies at the wharf at Johnsonville. She had on board two 30-ponderous and about 200 rounds of ammunition. The 55 made her escape down the river. I am in hopes, however, she will soon be overhauled by our gun-boats now on their way up from Paducah. Forrest is reported at or near Fort Heiman, threatening to cross the Tennessee, but it is not believed that he has as yet crossed much of his force. Have not heard from General Schofield today, but presume he is pushing forward as rapidly as he can.
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding

KINGSTON, GA., November 2, 1864-9. 30 p. m.
Major-General THOMAS:
I have your dispatch of today. If Granger will continue to demonstrate on the Moulton road with as strong a force as he can take out of Decatur he will compel Beauregard to leave a similar force in observation. In like manner Grierson, at Memphis, should be instructed to demonstrate out in the direction of Ripley or Corinth to threaten the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, on which he manifestly must depend. Then having united Schofield and Stanley, and filled them as much as you could with your new troops, Beauregard will be checkmated; but if he advances from Florence fight him cautiously, taking every advantage of your fortifications and the natural obstructions of the country. I think he will aim for Fayetteville and Shelbyville, but you know the country better than I do. General A. J. Smith reports himself en route from Warrenburg, Mo. To make things sure, you can call on the Governors of Kentucky and Indiana for some militia, cautioning them against a stampede. No matter what occurs, try and avoid, as I know you will, all false alarms. I am pushing my arrangements and will soon be off.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

NASHVILLE, TENN., November 2, 1864-11. 30 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Kingston:
Can’t learn yet that Beauregard has started in any direction. He is across the river at Florence, but as yet has not moved from his entrenchments.
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 2, 1864.
Captain PENNOCK, U. S. Navy, Mound City:
I don’t know what boats have up the Tennessee now, but hear that Numbers 55 has been captured by Forced. I trust you will keep that river well patrolled, increasing the capacity of the boats according to the draught of water. If the present rains continue one or two ironclad would do most important service. In a few days I will be off for salt water and hope to meet my old friend Admiral Porter again. Will you be kind enough to write to him and tell him to look out for me about Christmas from Hilton Head to Savannah. During my absence please confer freely with General Thomas, who commands in my stead.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

Forrest is on a raid heading North Toward Kentucky.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 2, 1864.

COMMANDING OFFICER, Paducah, Ky.:
Saw your proclamation. I don’t believe in proclamations. The fort at Paducah must be held without regard to the people or the town. It is very probable that Forrest will make a dash at it for political effect, and he must not get those guns at the mouth of the Tennessee River. If there be a possibility of there being any danger of such a thing blow them up rather than let them fail into the hands of the enemy. You can strengthen the place very much in a short time by enlarging and adding to the abatis; also prepare embrasures for the guns and sand-bag loop-holes for the infantry .
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 2, 1864.

COMMANDING OFFICER, Columbus, Ky.:
It is very probable Forrest may, for political effect, make a dash at your fort. It must not fall into his hands. A very small garrison can hold it against a million; but quietly and without attracting notice make all proper dispositions against a surprise or sudden attack.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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