Wednesday, November 9, 1864

Kingston, Georgia

I am committed to destroying Atlanta and beginning my march. Dayton Issued the orders:

HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., In the Field, Kingston, Ga., Numbers 120. November 9, 1864

I. For the purpose of military operations this army is divided into two wings, viz, the Right Wing, Major General O. O. Howard commanding, the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps; the Left Wing, Major General H. W. Slocum commanding, the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps.

II. The habitual order of march will be, wherever practicable, by four roads, as near parallel as possible and converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders. The cavalry, Brigadier-General Kilpatrick commanding, will receive special orders from the commander-in-chief.

III. There will be no general train of supplies, but each corps will have its ammunition train and provision train distributed habitually as follows: Behind each regiment should follow one wagon and one ambulance; behind each brigade should follow a due proportion of ammunition wagons, provision wagons, and ambulances. In case of danger each army corps commander should change this order of march by having his advance and rear brigade unincumbered by wheels. The separate columns will start habitually at 7 a. m., and make about fifteen miles per day, unless otherwise fixed in orders.

IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command, aiming at all times to keep in the wagons at least ten day’s provisions for the command and three days’ forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass, but during a halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and to drive in stock to their camp. To regular foraging parties must be instructed the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road traveled.

V. To army corps commanders alone is entrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility.

VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or bridges. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain form abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts, and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

VII. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along, but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one and that his first duty is to see to them who bear arms.

VIII. The organization at once of a good pioneer battalion for each army corps, composed if possible of negroes, should be attended to. This battalion should follow the advance guard, should repair roads, and double them if possible, so that that columns will not be delayed after reaching bad places. Also, army commanders should study the habit of giving the artillery and wagons the road, and marching their troops on one side, and also instruct their troops to assist wagons at steep hills or bad crossings of streams.

IX. Captain O. M. Poe, chief engineer, will assign to each wing of the army a pontoon train,
fully equipped and organized, and the commanders thereof will see to its being properly
protected at all times.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp

All the excess arms and ammunition must be shipped back to Chattanooga or destroyed. The quartermasters are very busy.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 9, 1864
General EASTON, Atlanta, Ga.:
You may order to Atlanta all cars now coming down the road, and such as Colonel Beckwith needs for extra provisions. If these suffice for the arms and ammunition ship them back, but it is not safe to calculate on any more cars. It is now raining hard, and when it clears away we must be off.

If the rains clear away I will not delay for any cause, but you can use cars that come to the best advantage. If we have cars we will ship the arms; if not, we will destroy them; but I will delay for nothing when the time comes; same of the sick. The doctors have had plenty of notice, and if we were to wait a month it would be the same thing. The sick must march or fall into the hands of the enemy.

I have just had a consultation with the train dispatcher here, and I am sure a good many cars will have reached you tonight that were below here. I want the arms got off, and it does not matter so much about ammunition or wagons. The latter may be unloaded.
Clear up everything so that all railroad stock shall leave Atlanta on or before tomorrow night, and reach Kingston the following morning.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 9, 1864
Colonel BECKWITH, Atlanta, Ga.:
Five trains are reported having left Chattanooga at 3 o’clock today and I judge they contain all you have ordered; but if there is any doubt about you having enough bread and salt, order it at once to come through rapidly by special trains. We may delayed a couple of days by this rain, and our force may amount to 60,000 by the increase of recruits joined.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

The railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta will be destroyed by the Army of the Tennessee. Howard gives the Orders:

Smyrna Camp-Ground, Ga., November 9, 1864.
In accordance with instructions from Major-General Sherman, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, corps commanders will have their commands in readiness to march at a moment’s notice to commence the complete destruction of the railroad.

The apportionment of the road will be as follows: From Big Shanty to a point eleven miles south will be destroyed by the Seventeenth Army Corps, and thence to the Chattahoochee bridge by the Fifteenth Corps. The destruction will be most complete, the ties burned, rails twisted, &c., as heads been done heretofore. Corps commanders will assign their several Divisions and brigades that portion of the work which may be nearest to them, as so to avoid delay in proceeding to and from it.
The picket-line of each corps will remain as now established. Major-General Osterhaus will send one brigade of his command tomorrow morning, at 6 o’clock, to Turner’s Ferry to guard the bridge.
By order of Major General O. O. HOWARD

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISIONS OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 9, 1864.
Brigadier-General CORSE, Rome, Ga.:
The general directs me to notify you to be ready to move tomorrow evening; Colonel Spencer’s party can move coincident with us some later than the 11th.
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

ROME, November 9, 1864.
Captain L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp:
Do you mean by ordering “to be ready to move tomorrow evening” that I should commence the work of destroying? I am ready and have been ever since the 4th instant. I will send six men and one officer to destroy the wire between Opelika and Montgomery tomorrow night. Please ask the general for detailed instructions. The train I sent for forage yesterday returned tonight, and reports no enemy near Gainesville. The prisoners they brought in say that Wheeler, with a large cavalry force, is at Jonesborough. Answer.
JNO M. CORSE, Brigadier-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 9, 1864.
Brigadier-General CORSE, Rome, Ga.:
The notice of today was only precautionary, as the probability is we will get off as indicated. When the storm is over all is ready. You will receive further notice. The general wishes the detailed party to move coincident with us. They might go out as indicated, but will lay low as so to break the wire about the 20th, and then they should hang around and keep it broken for ten days or two weeks.
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

Slocum reports the enemy reconnaissance of Atlanta. They think we are retreating.

The enemy first approached our lines on the Decatur road and passed along our front rapidly nearly to the Eastport road. Prisoners captured state that the force consisted of Iverson’s brigade of cavalry, 800 strong. Young’s cavalry from Athens, 800 strong, and six pieces of artillery. They state that their officers told them the Yankees had gone north and had a small guard in this place. I think the enemy is fully impressed with the idea that we are about starting for Chattanooga.
H. W. SLOCUM, Major-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Kingston, Ga., November 9, 1864.
General J. DAVIS, Commanding Fourteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL; Yesterday a small squad of my guard foraging were attacked, 1 mortally wounded, 1 slightly, and the remainder, 7, were captured by some guerrillas. The general commanding wishes you to send out a regiment in the vicinity where it occurred, seize some citizens, and send one to inform the enemy he must bring those men and all others captured in same manner back at once. They most be returned by tomorrow noon, else the regiment will burn a dozen houses in retaliation. This occurred near a house marked Berry Houk, in the sketch I send; sketched as well as the wounded soldier remembers the country.
I am, general, yours, truly,
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

Some trains and poor horses were overlooked and not sent back. They must try to make Chattanooga on their own.

KINGSTON, November 9, 1864. 6:30 p. m.
Major-General THOMAS:
I want very full dispatches tonight and during tomorrow. We have had a good deal of rain, and it is not yet over. This will raise the Tennessee River and favor you with the assistance of a larger class of gun-boats, but may force me to go round the Ocmulgee by Milledgeville. I will be all ready by the morning of the 11th, but will not break connection until the weather is favorable.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

NASHVILLE, TENN., October 9, 1864. 9 pm.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Kingston, Ga.:
General Croxton, from Four-Mile Creek, reports yesterday 8 p.m. that the river has risen more than two feet on the Shoals, enough to make six feet below them. A scout from over the river reports the bulks of Hood’s army still on that side. I also have a report from Granger, who says Elk River is still up, and that two couriers crossed in a skiff last evening, who communicated with Rogersville. General Croxton still holds east bank of Shoal Creek, but the enemy have a large force on WEST bank, supposed to be one corps. The enemy is supposed to have one corps at Florence and one corps on south side of the river opposite Florence. It is also reported that Roddey has gone to Corinth. The contradictory nature of these reports indicates plainly, however, that the entire infantry force of the enemy is in and about Florence and Tuscumbia. General Hatch reports yesterday from Taylors’ Springs, Ala., that he intended attacking the enemy this morning along the entire line to ascertain where the enemy is and the position he holds. Your dispatch for Lieutenant-General Grant, City Point, marked immediate and important, will go forward by special messenger by first train in the morning.
GEO. H. THOMAS, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.

The War Department sent this newspaper story. Newspapers are worse than spies.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 9, 1864.
Major-General SHERMAN, Kingston, Ga.;
Following, copied from evening papers, is sent for your information:

CINCINNATI, November 9, 1864.
Yesterday’s Indianapolis Journal says: Officers from Chattanooga report that Sherman returned to Atlanta early last week with five corps of his army, leaving two corps in Tennessee to watch Hood. He destroyed the railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and is sending the iron into the former place. Atlanta was burned, and Sherman is now marching directly for Charleston, S. C.

C.A. DANA, Assistant Secretary of War.

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