Tuesday, November 8, 1864

Kingston, Georgia

WASHINGTON, November 8, 1864. 11 a.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN:
Price is now probably driven south of the Arkansas River, and Hurlbut will collect all his available forces at some point on the Mississippi River, destroy the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and either move toward Selma or operate on Beauregard’s rear. I think Thomas should take the offensive as soon as troops from Missouri arrive. Abundant stores are collected at Hilton Head and Pensacola, with transportation to any other required points. I think you are now free to move as soon as you choose.
H. W. HALLECK, Major-General

KINGSTON, GA., November 8, 1864. 5 p.m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
Dispatch of today received. All my preparations will be completed by the 10th. It is now raining, which is favorable, as the chances are, after it clears away, we will have a long spell of fine weather for marching. General Thomas has been instructed to assume the offensive as soon as possible, and I will send him a copy of your dispatch, that he may know of the contemplated movement on the river by General Hurlbut. I doubt if Hurlbut has the nerve to conduct such an expedition, and would suggest that you leave Canby at liberty to select any other, according to his judgment.
W.T. SHERMAN, Major-General

Vicksburg, November 8, 1864.
Major-General SHERMAN:
Your dispatch of October 30 was received yesterday. Hatch’s Division of cavalry was at the Tennessee River at last account. Two infantry Divisions, under General A. J. Smith, and a brigade of cavalry are in Missouri in pursuit of Price. They have been ordered to Memphis by nearest route, but this is contingent on where the orders may reach them and the time uncertain. The effective field force left on the river is very Light, and the posts from Cairo to Natchez are held by small garrisons, but I will to the extent of my force carry out your instructions. A demonstration of 3,000 cavalry from Baton Rouge is promised into lower Mississippi. Magruder is moving in force on Major-General Steele at Little Rock. The enemy is threatening to move across to the east side of the Mississippi at Gaines’ Landing, where Major-General Reynolds is ready for them.

Although repeatedly called for, I have not succeeded in obtaining a return of troops from the District of West Tennessee, and cannot say what the exact force at Memphis is, but know that the infantry and artillery are but sufficient for garrison, and the small amount of cavalry remaining there of but little account for offensive operations. As stated in my telegram of this date, Magruder is marching in force on Steele at Little Rock, and a considerable body of the enemy are attempting a passage to the east side of the Mississippi in vicinity of Gaines’ Landing, where I have 1,000 cavalry and some artillery. Major-General Reynolds is commanding the forces to oppose the passage. Major-General Canby promises me an expedition into lower Mississippi of 3,000 cavalry from Baton Rouge as a diversion, and directs me to remain at Vicksburg until further orders. I have ordered General Washburn, at Memphis, to fill up his subsistence and ordnance depots by immediate estimates, and put his command and works into the best possible conditions for defense.
N. J. T. DANA, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 8, 1864.

General EASTON and Colonel BECKWITH, Atlanta, Ga.:
The general wishes me to confide to you the fact that so long as Hood was moving rapidly toward Tennessee he was in a hurry about getting back material in order to move as soon as possible; but now that Hood has brought up on the Tennessee he is willing to give you time to clear all up well.
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp

ATLANTA, November 8, 1864-12 m.
Major-General SHERMAN:
We are in possession of your cipher dispatch of this morning in relation to the position of Hood. We beg that no destruction of the railroad be commenced until we notify you that the rolling-stock is safe and everything ready.
L. C. EASTON, Brevet Brigadier-General.
A. BRECKWITH, Chief Commissary of Subsistence.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 8, 1864.
General EASTON, Atlanta, Ga.:
The road will not be broken until I give you full notice.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 8, 1864.
SMITH, Telegraph Manager, Atlanta, Ga.:
Programme has not changed. Shift the men you don’t want to go along back by last train, whose time of leaving ask General Easton about, showing him this. After that leave the line for the enemy to break, as we want it until the last moment. The little amount of material you will thus abandon is of no consequence. Will want along four cipher operators, viz, Eddy, Howards; one with Slocum, and one with Kilpatrick.
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 8, 1864.
TYLER, Louisville, Ky.:
Dispatch me tomorrow night and the next night a summary of all news, especially of elections, that I may report it to Governor Brown, at Milledgeville, where I expect a friendly interview in a few days. Keep this very secret, for the world will lose slight of me shortly, and you will hear worse stories than when I went to Meridian. Jeff. Davis’ thirty days are up for wiping us out, and we are not wiped out yet by a good deal. Ewing reached here today. All well.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

KINGSTON, GA., November 8, 1864
This is the rain I have been waiting for, and as soon as it is over we will be off.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., In the Field, Kingston, Ga., Numbers 119.
November 8, 1864.
The general commanding deems it proper at this time to inform the officers and men of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth Corps that he has organized them into an army for a special purpose, well known to the War Department and to General Grant. It is sufficient for you to know that it involves a departure from our present base, and a long and difficult march to a new one. All the chances of war have been considered and provided for, as far as human sagacity can. All he asks of you is to maintain that discipline, patience, and courage which have characterized you in the past, and he hopes, through you, to strike a blow at our enemy that will have a material effect in producing what we all so much desire-his complete overthrow.

Of all things the most important is that men, during marches and in camp, keep their places and not scatter about as stragglers or foragers, to be picked up by a hostile people in detail. It is also of the utmost importance that our wagons should not be loaded with anything but provisions and ammunition. All surplus servants, non-combatants, and refugees should now go to the rear, and none should be encouraged to encumber us on the march. At some future time we will be enabled to provide for the poor whites and blacks who seek to escape the bondage under which they are now suffering. With those few simple cautions in your minds, he hopes to lead you to achievements equal in importance to those of the past.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman;
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISIONS OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 8, 1864.
Brigadier General John E. SMITH, Cartersville, Ga.:
Arrest some six or eight citizens know or supposed to be hostile. Let one or two go free to carry word to the guerrilla band that you give them forty-eight hours’ notice that unless all the men of ours picked up by them in the past two days are returned, Kingston, Cassville, and Cartersville will be burned, as also the houses of the parties arrested. I suppose that band of guerrillas is known to you, and you can know where to strike.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 8, 1864.
Brigadier-General KILPATRICK, Marietta, Ga.:
The general does not want to bring forward or send back any dismounted cavalry, but desires you to make up your command from mounts as they now are, and if any are not mounted, he can make good use of them with the infantry.
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

Thomas Writes from Nashville:

Johnsonville, so far as I can learn, is now safe, and General Schofield is on his way to Pulaski. Dispatches from General Hatch, up to 10 p.m. last night, say:
We hold Shoal Creek, at Bough’s Factory, on the military road, from Florence to Columbia.
General Croxton is on the road from Florence to Athens. He finds enemy strong at all fords on Shoal Creek, who has not made any attempt to advance yet. As soon as General Smith’s troops arrive, and General Wilson has the balance of the cavalry mounted, I will be prepared to commence a movement on the enemy.

From the best information I can get, I am inclined to believe that the whole of Beauregard’s force, infantry and artillery, are at Tuscumbia and Florence, while most of cavalry force is on the south side of the Tennessee, deserters say, watching for you. Hatch and Croxton when last heard from held the enemy close behind Shoal Creek, and I keep Granger constantly demonstrating on the Decatur and Courtland road.

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