September 2, 1864: Atlanta falls

Gen. Henry W. Slocum
General Henry W. Slocum

During the night of the 1st, Hood blew up the ammo dumps in Atlanta and evacuated his forces from the city. Sherman, south of the city with most of his armies attacking Hood’s supply line at Jonesboro, could hear the explosions but initially thought he was hearing a battle. He had left Gen. Slocum in charge of the Twentieth Corps to watch Hood’s Atlanta defenses. When Hood left, Slocum walked in and accepted the surrender of the city. Even by nightfall on the 2nd, Sherman was still unsure whether the rumors of Atlanta’s fall were true.


HEADQUARTERS TWENTIETH CORPS,
Chattahoochee Bridge, Ga., September 2, 1864-2.30 a.m.
Brigadier General A. S. WILLIAMS,
Commanding First Division;

GENERAL: The major-general commanding desires that you send out as soon as possible this morning a reconnoitering party toward Atlanta, to ascertain where and what the firing is. Parties have been ordered out from Second and Third Divisions, but they will not get started as soon as you. The general desires to get as early information as possible, and has ordered twenty men of his escort to report to you for messengers.

I am, general, very respectfully your obedient servant,
H. W. PERKINS,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, September 2, 1864-4 a.m.
General SCHOFIELD:

I have your dispatch of 7.15 last evening, since which time you have a letter from me. I heard explosions and firing about Atlanta at 2 o’clock and at this moment I hear more seemingly nearer us, but due north; it must be Garrard, but what force he engages I don’t know. Please ascertain whether Stewart’s corps came into Jonesborough from the direction of Flat Rock, and let me know. If the firing at the north be not explained, prepare to meet any interruption of our operations from that quarter, and act without further orders if the occasion calls for it, otherwise I want you to attack Jonesborough from the east. Try and communicate with Garrard, and ascertain what the force to our rear is, and move to meet it. Our trains are at the Renfroe Place, out about four miles northwest of Jonesborough. I am near General Howard, at the Flint River, two miles northwest of Jonesborough. A road leads from here due east a little north, which I think passes by where you are.

Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General, Commanding.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, September 2, 1864-4 a.m.
Major-General THOMAS:

At 2 a.m. I heard heavy firing and saw a large fire in the direction of Atlanta. I have just heard more firing seemingly nearer. Garrard is to our rear, with orders to cover us from all approach from that quarter. I have not yet clearly ascertained if Stewart is with the army in Jonesborough but think he may have swung around Stanley and come in front the east. If so, any force approaching our rear would not be very formidable, though we must be prepared. I think you had better move your headquarters and trains in near your rear, where the trains will be less exposed, and if Schofield’s trains be near Renfroe’s, as I suppose them to be, you had better order them down to Flint River nearer Howard’s left on Davis’ right. Schofield is across the railroad, massed on Stanley’s left but I have ordered him if any danger approach our rear he must go and meet it. In the mean time you had better send a strong picket up the road to Couch’s to guard that point till your trains are close into your troops. I think Garrard can cover the roads, yet he may not know them.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

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HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO,
September 2, 1864-8 a.m.
Major-General SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: I have your dispatches of 8 last evening and 4 this morning. I have heard from Garrard this morning. The noise last night sounded to him as to us, to be at Atlanta. The last, about 4 o’clock, probably at East Point. We watched it closely. Very large fires were visible in the direction of Atlanta. Brilliant flashes followed at regular intervals by loud explosions, far too loud for any artillery, and then by very rapid explosions of shell. The interval between the flash and explosion gave the distance to Atlanta. All the circumstances indicate the burning of magazines at Atlanta. At the time of the later and near explosions the fires and flashes were not visible. I have no doubt these last were at East Point. I cannot explain the phenomena of last night in any other way. No battle I have ever witnessed would begin to account for it. Citizens here report that a large column of rebel troops passed down the Flat Rock road, just in front of Stanley, yesterday morning. What troops they were I have not yet learned, but am searching for information. Garrard’s cavalry went yesterday to about two miles this side of East Point, met some cavalry, and returned. Prisoners and citizens there all said that Stewart’s corps and the militia were still about Atlanta. I have sent an infantry reconnaissance up the Flat Rock road to see what can be learned in that direction. Garrard will be here soon, when I will get him started off toward the east. As soon as I can learn there is no force in our rear I will move in and attack the enemy’s right.

Very respectfully,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
Major-General.

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SEPTEMBER 2, 1864-10.25 a.m.
General SHERMAN:

A negro who has just come in from Atlanta says our troops attacked the place about dark last night. The enemy immediately retreated on the McDonough road in great confusion and disorder, all the citizens joining in the flight. Houses were burned, magazines blown up, and a wagon train of ammunition burned. I have my head of column on the McDonough road (one division) the other is moving more to the left, but has a road by which it can join the first if necessary. I have sent to find a road leading substantially parallel to the railroad,if you desire me to pursue toward Griffin.

I hope to hear from you soon, as Colonel Warner must have reached you before now.

Very respectfully,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
Major-General.

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HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS,

September 2, 1864. (Received 1 p.m.)
Lieutenant Colonel H. W. PERKINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General:

COLONEL: The city authorities have surrendered to my reconnoitering party, and my troops now occupy the same (Atlanta).
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. T. WARD,
Brigadier-General.

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SEPTEMBER 2, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel H. W. PERKINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Twentieth Army Corps:

As my troops took Atlanta, courtesy, if not justice to me, demands that I may be permitted to occupy the same. If not inconsistent with the public interest, I desire to be permitted to move my division to Atlanta and to leave the dismounted cavalry to guard this ford. If I am not permitted to move to said place, I sincerely hope and earnestly request some of my command may be sent there to take charge of said town.

Yours, with sincere esteem,
W. T. WARD,
Brigadier-General.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, near Lovejoy’s, Ga., September 2, 1864-8 p.m.
Major-General THOMAS:

Until we hear from Atlanta the exact truth, I do not care about your pushing your men against breast-works. Destroy the railroad well up to your lines; keep skirmishers well up, and hold your troops in hand for anything that may turn up. As soon as I know positively that our troops are in Atlanta I will determine what to do. I have ordered General Schofield to feel for the McDonough road, to prevent re-enforcements coming to the enemy from that direction.

Yours, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN.
Major-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Two miles south of Jonesborough, Ga., September 2, 1864.
Major-General SLOCUM,
Commanding Twentieth Army Corps:

GENERAL: Major-General Sherman requests me to state that he is very anxious to know the particulars of the capture of Atlanta. As we have rumors to the effect that you now occupy that city, he wishes you to send your dispatch to him in cipher. He also requests that you telegraph to Major-General Halleck at the War Department, Washington, that he, General Sherman is strongly posted on the Macon railroad.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. J. KELLY,
First Lieutenant Fourth Cavalry, U. S. Army, and Chief of Couriers.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, September 2, 1864-8 p.m.
General HOWARD:

You know that General Garrard reports General Slocum in possession of Atlanta. I have sent couriers to learn the exact truth. If it be so, we don’t care about pushing the enemy any farther at this time. Had we prevented his making intrenchments it would have been well, but as he has a strong line, I do not wish to waste lives by an assault. You may therefore order the skirmishers close up, but hold your lines so as not to suffer much. If the enemy be gone in the morning occupy his lines to your front and await orders.

Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

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ATLANTA, GA., September 2, 1864.
(Received 10.05 p.m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON.
Secretary of War:

General Sherman has taken Atlanta. The Twentieth Corps occupies the city. The main army is on the Macon road, near East Point. A battle was fought near that point, in which General Sherman was successful. Particulars not known.

H. W. SLOCUM,
Major-General.

Posted in J.M. Schofield, Oliver O. Howard, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

September 1, 1864: Union breakthrough at Jonesboro

Atlanta campaign map

The Fourteenth Corps of Union general Jefferson C. “Don’t forget that middle initial” Davis (with some assistance from the fifteenth corps) moves against Hardee’s defenses at Jonesboro, breaks through, and takes about 1000 prisoners. Hardee isn’t going to get back to rejoin Hood at Atlanta.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Near Renfroe’s, Ga., September 1, 1864.
Major-General DAVIS,
Commanding Fourteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: The general commanding directs that you move at once, with General Morgan’s division and two brigades of General Carlin’s division, and join General Baird. You will then move in support of General Howard’s left, supporting Baird as you approach Jonesborough, and while he is destroying the railroad. The brigade of Carlin, which is detached, will remain at this point to protect your train against any movement of the enemy from the direction of fayetteville. If you can get into position quicker by following the Jonesborough road and taking post on Howard’s left, you are at liberty to do so.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY STONE,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Jonesborough, Ga., September 1, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the following as the result of the operations of this army to-day: The Seventeenth Corps, which was on my left, was, about 3.30 o’clock this p. m., relieved by the Fourteenth Corps, and by your instructions ordered to the right. Major-General Blair reports that he has one division across the river and has advanced a heavy skirmish line and finds the enemy in strong position. The operations of the cavalry to-day are given in the inclosed note from General Kilpatrick. During the attack of the Fourteenth Corps the Fifteenth Corps made a vigorous demonstration on the enemy, and at some points, drove them from their skirmish pits into their main line, capturing some prisoners. This movement was also participated in by General Ransom, commanding Sixteenth Corps, all having been made to create a diversion in favor of the attacking column on the left. Casualties for the day not yet reported.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. O. HOWARD,
Major-General.

Posted in Atlanta, Georgia, Jefferson C. Davis, John Bell Hood, William J. Hardee, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

August 31, 1864: Trying to keep Hardee separated from Hood

Atlanta campaign map

Sherman’s three armies are tearing up the railroad as they proceed south toward Jonesboro. Hardee went south with two corps to oppose them, not realizing the strength of the forces present. He attacked on Howard on the 31st and was repulsed; now Sherman wants to prevent Hardee from rejoining Hood in Atlanta.

Official Records:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
August 31, 1864-3 a. m.

Major-General SHERMAN,

Commanding:

GENERAL: Kilpatrick made an attempt to get upon the railroad, but me with so strong resistance that he gave it up for daylight. He says Logan’s center is about 800 yards from the depot. The town is to our right and the depot in the direct front. The Sixteenth Corps is on the west side of the river, and prolonging the line of Logan. The Seventeenth Corps did not get up; is three miles back. I intended to place it in position facing north, virtually prolonging Logan’s left; it will move at daylight in the morning. My only exposure is in that direction. If you will push hard enough to prevent the enemy from striking me this side of Flint River it will be all right; my officers apprehend it more than I do. My information is that the enemy had here four brigades of infantry on our arrival, and more are coming. I understand your anxiety to get the road; no exertion will be spared as soon as we can see. The Seventeenth Corps will move up at daylight.

Respectfully,

O. O. HOWARD,

Major-General.

[Indorsements.]

Generals Thomas and Schofield, read and return.

SHERMAN.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
August 31, 1864-3.45 p. m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN,

Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: The enemy attacked us in three distinct points, and were each time handsomely repulsed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. O. HOWARD,

Major-General.

Major-General Logan says the enemy made two district attack on his lines and were repulsed.

O. O. H.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, August 31, 1864.

Major-General HOWARD:

I have your dispatch. Hold your own. Carlin’s division is near you. Schofield and Stanly are on the railroad two miles south of Rough and Ready; headed off a train of cars loaded with troops making south, so you have Hardee all right. Watch him close and be prepared with Davis to follow him. He must retreat to McDonough or down the road. I must interpose our whole army between Atlanta and the enemy now in Jonesborough. Let your whole command know and feel I am thinking of them, and that I have got the railroad above them.

Yours,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.
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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Jonesborough, Ga., August 31, 1864.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN,

Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: Your letter is received. I have the honor to report the following as the result of the day’s operations: About 4 o’clock the enemy attacked the position of Major-General Logan and General Corse, who occupied the right of the line on the other side of Flint River, and was handsomely repulsed. He repeated the attack at three different points on the line with the same result. One division of the Seventeenth Corps, General Woods commanding, was moved across the river and went into position on the left. One of his brigades was attacked and the enemy repulsed promptly. Cleburne’s division, failing to make any impression on the right of my line across the river, moved down to the bridge held by General Kilpatrick’s cavalry, upon whom they advanced in three lines. The cavalry held their position until their ammunition was exhausted, when they retired across the bridge, but were not followed up, nor have they been by the enemy. Upon learning the situation of General Kilpatrick, General Giles A. Smith’s division, of Blair’s corps, was moved over to protect the train and to repulse any attack on my right. I directed General Carlin to cover the Fayetteville road so that my right flank and trains may be considered sufficiently protected. The First Regiment Missouri Engineers, which reported during the day over 1,000 strong, now occupies the works vacated by General Blair’s command. I have published the contents of your very gratifying letter to this command. I inclosed I send you the latest dispatch from the signal officer. It would appear that the enemy contemplates making connection again with his forces at East Point or Atlanta.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. O. HOWARD,

Major-General.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, August 31, 1864.
Major-General THOMAS,
Commanding Army of the Cumberland:

I have reports from Generals Howard and Schofield, and from a signal dispatch of the former I infer Hardee will attempt to-night to move back to Atlanta to form a junction with Hood. It also appears that Stanley ranks Schofield, raising that old question of who commands. Of course my decision is that the senior commission, which is Stanley’s; but as my instructions have been made to Schofield, I wish you would make them to Stanley to move very early in the morning down on Jonesborough (or the enemy wherever he may be), breaking railroad as he moves south. I don’t believe anybody recognizes how important it is now to destroy this railroad. Should it appear the enemy is trying to make a junction round by the east, we must strike him in motion.

I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Renfroe’s, August 31, 1864-7 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: What do you think of this: Let Stanley and Schofield, covered by Garrard, destroy the railroad to-morrow to their rear until they come down to Baird; then for me to draw off the Army of the Cumberland and throw it on the railroad east of Fayetteville, say at Lovejoy’s, or some point below, Howard confronting and holding the enemy at Jonesborough. Prisoners taken by Stanley report five trains in Atlanta which cannot get out; they also confirm the report that the militia and probably one corps have been left in Atlanta. I understand that General Howard repulsed the enemy, inflicting a heavy loss upon him; if so, I think the move on Fayetteville would be eminently beneficial. I am happy to report that General Baird is also on the railroad; he reached it at 5 p. m., and set 400 men at work immediately to destroy the road. I think Hood has gone up or ordered to Macon.

Respectfully,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
P. S.-All the prisoners captured by Baird say there are but two corps in Jonesborough. Baird has taken between 40 and 50 prisoners.
G. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, August 31, 1864-9 p. m.
Major-General THOMAS:

Inasmuch as I have already give orders to Schofield, based on the idea that he and Stanley move down the railroad, breaking it, till they come to Baird and Davis, near Jonesborough, I think we had better adhere to that plan till we develop the first step in the enemy’s game, after he knows we are between him and Atlanta. I wish you to order Kilpatrick the movement he learns the enemy has gone south to hurry to Fayette Station and Griffin, hang on the flanks of the enemy while we push him to the rear. I propose to go as to far as Griffin, utterly destroying the road, and then act according to circumstances. I would rather you should follow the enemy as he retreats, leaving the Army of the Tennessee to swing by the right, and that of the Ohio by the left. I am glad to hear that Baird also is on the railroad, and now the sooner we get all our army together in close order the better. You may put Davis in on the left of Howard, ready for Baird and Stanley to come up along the railroad. If Hood remains in Atlanta and Hardee commands at Jonesborough the latter may attempt to get back to Atlanta, in which event he may to-night run up against Baird, who should be put on his guard. You may give all the necessary orders that will bring your command together to attack and pursue that part of the confederate army now at Jonesborough by whatever road it takes, and I will give directions to the other armies to operate on its flanks. As soon as it is demonstrated on what road it retreats we can arrange to head it off. My own impression is that Hardee will try to join Hood in Atlanta. May send Schofield to-night, and I am anxious that Howard should keep in close contact. Audenried, of my staff, went about dark with orders to Schofield to the above effect, and for him and Stanley to work down the railroad to-night if possible, otherwise early in the morning. I will come down early also.

Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

Posted in Atlanta, George Thomas, Georgia, John Bell Hood, William J. Hardee, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

August 30, 1864: Meanwhile, back at Atlanta

Atlanta campaign map

The Twentieth Corps is keeping up the siege back in Atlanta while the rest of Sherman’s armies are heading south and breaking up the railroads. Is Hood still in Atlanta?

Official Records:


MARIETTA, GA., August 30, 1864-8.30 p. m.
(Received 12 p. m.)
Major THOMAS T. ECKERT:

No news from Sherman to-day. Slocum pushed reconnaissance within two miles of Atlanta, finding only cavalry, and not much of that. He had only a brigade and moved slowly, but will know by daylight whether enemy still occupies Atlanta or not.

J. C. VAN DUZER.

Posted in Atlanta, Georgia, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

August 29, 1864: Sherman’s troops destroying railroads

William Tecumseh Sherman

Sherman’s men are carrying out their orders with considerable gusto, apparently — tearing up rails, heating and twisting them, burning the ties, filling in the cuts. Hood’s going to have to come out of his defenses to challenge them.


HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Red Oak, August 29, 1864-9 p. m.
Brigadier-General WHIPPLE,
Chief of Staff:

The occupation of the troops of this corps to-day consisted in adjusting and barricading the lines occupied by the corps last evening, and in breaking up the railroad toward East Point. The latter was done by Brigadier General T. J. Wood with two brigades, Post’s and Knefler’s, of his division, and Taylor’s brigade, of Kimball’s division. In conjunction with General Carlin’s division General Wood thoroughly destroyed the railroad three miles in advance of our lines. We met only a few cavalry skirmishers. As, from information received from citizens and contrabands, the point reached by the working party was two miles and a half from the rebel lines, it was not deemed advisable to push farther forward. Three men of Kimball’s division, who had a pass to go out for roasting-ears, to keep behind the force on the railroad, were captured by the enemy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. S. STANLEY,
Major-General.

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HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

August 29, 1864.
Captain A. C. MC CLURG,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Fourteenth Army Corps:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report to the general commanding the corps that his instructions concerning the destruction of the railroad have been executed. It is thoroughly destroyed for at least two miles above my camp, about half a mile having been destroyed by General Wood’s division, Fourth Corps. The cavalry pickets of the enemy were driven back a mile, when a considerable force was met in fortifications. This was as far as prudence would permit me to go with one brigade. The railroad thus embraced within our lines was as much as two brigades could destroy by 2 p. m. to-day, when I withdrew the whole force, the men being much fatigued.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. P. CARLIN,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Shadna Church, on West Point Railroad, Ga., August 29, 1864.
Major General JOHN A. LOGAN, Commanding Fifteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs me to state that Brigadier-General Ransom has been ordered to proceed with his command along the railroad to Fairburn, for the purpose of destroying the road. He directs that you make the destruction of the railroad within your lines thorough and complete by being and twisting every rail, rendering it totally unfit for further use, burning every tie, and filling up the cuts with logs, stones, and earth-in short making a complete annihilation of the road.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAML. L. TAGGART,
Assistant Adjutant-General.
(Same to General Blair, commanding Seventeenth Army Corps.)

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HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Near Shadna Church, August 29, 1864.
Colonel A. J. ALEXANDER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Seventeenth Army Corps:

I have the honor to report that my command destroyed road as follows: First Brigade, 420 yards, ties burned, rails doubled; Second Brigade, 200 yards, ties all burned, rails all broken; Third Brigade, 270 yards, ties burned, rails doubled; total, 890 yards. In addition the cuts in rear of my line are being rapidly filled with brush and earth mixed. The destruction is complete.

I am, colonel, very truly, yours,
CHAS. R. WOODS,
Brigadier-General.

Posted in Atlanta, Georgia, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

August 28, 1864: Sherman’s neckties

Sherman necktie

Atlanta campaign map

Sherman’s three armies are all assembling for the move to Jonesboro, and in the meantime they have instructions to take a day to thoroughly destroy the West Point and Atlanta railroad. Sherman gives Thomas explicit instructions on the best way to permanently disable a railroad:

“To march a regiment to the road, stack arms, loosen two rails opposite the right and two opposite the left of the regiment, then to heave the whole track, rails and ties, over, breaking it all to pieces, then pile the ties in the nature of crib work and lay the rails over them, then by means of fence rails make a bonfire, and when the rails are red-hot in the middle let men give the rail a twist, which cannot be straightened without machinery.”

A variant of this procedure, when the heated rails were twisted around tree trunks, was to become known as a “Sherman necktie”.

Official Records:


NEAR WEST POINT RAILROAD,
August 28, 1864-4 p. m.
(Received 29th.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:

Army of the Tennessee is on the West Point railroad near Fairburn; Army of the Cumberland is on the same road at Red Oak; and that of the Ohio will be to-night at Camp Creek. Enemy has made no serious opposition to our movement.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Near Cook’s House, August 28, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: I have General Davis in position on commanding ground, his left resting on the railroad, his line extending south to within a mile of the Jonesborough road, from New Hope or Fairburn. I suppose it runs nearly east and west. General Morgan has a strong picket on that road, and General Davis’s right flank is completely covered by the breaks of the ground and General Morgan’s picket. General Stanley has been ordered to post his pickets on the north of the railroad, his left extending toward Mims’ house, and covering the road by which the troops marched. The trains are getting into position on the right and rear of our position. Major-General Howard is about a mile in rear of our right. Will we march to-morrow, or will we remain here to destroy the railroad? I had almost forgotten to report that General Morgan’s picket officer on the Jonesborough road reports that the woman living on that road at his picket-post says that a considerable body of rebel cavalry had passed there, and that they had informed her that the rebel army was moving toward Jonesborough.

Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Red Oak, Ga., August 28, 1864-6.45 p. m.
Major-General THOMAS,
Commanding:

GENERAL: We will remain here to-morrow. I wish the railroad thoroughly destroyed as far forward as possible, and to the rear until you meet General Howard’s troops. Let the destruction be so thorough that not a rail or tie can be used again. My own experience demonstrates the proper method to be: To march a regiment to the road, stack arms, loosen two rails opposite the right and two opposite the left of the regiment, then to heave the whole track, rails and ties, over, breaking it all to pieces, then pile the ties in the nature of crib work and lay the rails over them, then by means of fence rails make a bonfire, and when the rails are red-hot in the middle let men give the rail a twist, which cannot be straightened without machinery. Also fill up some of the cuts with heavy logs and trunks of trees and branches and cover up and fill with dirt. Please give minute instructions on this subject to-night, and have the work commenced as early in the morning as possible, taking proper precaution also to guard against attack on either the working parties or the general position. General Howard has received similar instructions and General Schofield will be moved to your left front.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General, Commanding.

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HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Red Oak Station, Ga., August 28, 1864-11.30 p. m.
Brigadier-General KIMBALL,
First Division, Fourth Army Corps:

GENERAL: The general commanding directs that you readjust your lines to-morrow morning, and build a strong barricade along your front. We will remain in our present position to-morrow. He also directs that you instruct Colonel Taylor to report with his brigade to General Wood to-morrow, to assist him in destroying the track of the Atlanta and West Point Railroad. Have these troops make preparations to perform such duty as soon as rations are issued to them in the morning.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. S. FULLERTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Posted in Atlanta, George Thomas, Georgia, J.M. Schofield, Oliver O. Howard, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

August 27, 1864: Sherman’s armies move south

Atlanta campaign map

Howard’s Army of the Tennessee constitutes the right wing of Sherman’s southward advance. Schofield’s Army of the Ohio is on the left, and Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland is in the center. They’re pulling out of their positions and negotiating the congested roads toward Jonesboro and the railroads supplying Atlanta from the south. Only the XX Corps is left behind to pin down Hood’s defenders in Atlanta.

Official Records:


HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Widow Forsyth’s, Ga., August 27, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: We had little difficulty in drawing out last night; some shelling. I heard of but one casualty, but we found the roads rough and the bottoms marshy, so that with great difficulty and delay we made the march. General Logan is now pretty well across Camp Creek, about due south from this place. General Blair is crossing at William Campbell’s, about a mile farther to the right. Kilpatrick reports himself across Camp Creek and about a mile south of Enon Church. Logan’s position is 71. Have no word from Schofield as yet. A great portion of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps have been broken of their rest two nights. I would prefer not to march till to-morrow morning if this will do. My headquarters are on the Campbellton road, near Widow Forsyth’s, one mile east of Dry Pond.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. O. HOWARD,
Major-General.

Posted in Atlanta, George Thomas, Georgia, Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, J.M. Schofield, Oliver O. Howard, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

August 26, 1864: Heading for Jonesboro

Atlanta campaign map

Sherman has decided to draw Hood out of his defenses. He sends the Twentieth Corps to hold on to the north side of Atlanta, while the rest of his army proceeds south in three columns to break the railroads to the south, cutting off Hood’s supply lines. He’s not worried about Wheeler’s cavalry, loose to his north toward Tennessee.


NEAR EAST POINT, GA., August 26, 1864-6.45 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:

I have moved the Twentieth Corps to the Chattahoochee bridge, where it is intrenched, and with the balance of the army am moving for Jonesborough on the Macon road. Last night we made the first move without trouble; to-night I make the second, and the third will place the army massed near Fairburn. If Hood attacks he must come out, which is all we ask. All well thus far.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.


HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Mount Gilead, Ga., August 26, 1864.
General STEEDMAN,
Chattanooga:

If Wheeler goes up into East Tennessee beyond the Holston let him go. The people must rally and destroy bridges and roads, and worry him. He cannot do us any harm, but will simply consume the grain and hay needed by the people. He cannot disturb Loudon or Knoxville. Let General McCook incase his cavalry from Nashville, and after a while we will send him to attend to Wheeler, who is well out of our way.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General, Commanding.

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August 25, 1864: Quit stealing horses.

Kenner Garrard

Garrard has to remind his troops that when you commandeer mounts, they’re government property, not yours to sell or keep.

Official Records:


GENERAL ORDERS,
HDQRS. CAV. DIV., ARMY OF THE OHIO, Numbers 6.
Before Atlanta, Ga., August 25, 1864.

The colonel commanding has had, in common with every officer and soldier of his command, occasion to know from personal observation that horses and mules captured from the enemy, and taken from disloyal citizens, have not been treated as the property of the Government, but and such claimed as the private property of the Government, but have been claimed as the private property of both officers and soldiers, and as such have been the subject of trade and sale between soldiers, and between soldiers and officers, and in many instances have been sold to the Government buyers, to private horse dealers, or shipped to the homes of their pretended owners. In common with all honest men, both soldiers and officers of this command, the colonel commanding desires that these dishonest practices be stopped, and that our Government be no more defrauded by any one of this command of its right to captured property.

The two desirable objects to be attained are: first, that the captured horses and mules shall become the property of the United States; second, that the individual company or regiment making the capture shall have the privilege of the use of it. Both of these desirable ends can be attained by frequent inspection of companies and regiments, and the branding of all horses and mules found to be without the brand.

It is well known to all cavalrymen that it is almost, if not entirely, impossible that there should be a fair, bona fide purchase of a horse from a citizen or soldier in this country. The colonel commanding, therefore, desires it to be known to his command, that it will give him pleasure to see all his officers and men well mounted on captured horses bearing the brand of the Government, and trusts that the only claim any one in this command may ever make to a captured horse may be to use it in the service of the Government.

It is therefore ordered that all horses and mules captured from the enemy or taken from citizens be branded with the Government brand as soon as practicable after the capture; and that captured horses and mules in excess of the need of the company or regiments be turned over to the regimental, brigade, or division quartermaster for issue to other portions of the command. Company and regimental officer are charged with the duty of making inspections, which will be necessary to carry this order into effect, and will be held responsible for such neglect as will countenance or encourage the conversion of captured property to private use. It will be the duty of the acting assistant inspector-general of this command to report to these headquarters the names of officers having in their commands unbranded animals.

This order to be read to each company in this command within forty-eight hours.

By command of Israel Garrard, colonel, commanding:
T. F. ALLEN,
Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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August 24, 1864: Sherman prepares to move south

General William Tecumseh Sherman

In his daily report to Halleck, Sherman announces that he’ll be starting his planning circuit around the south of Atlanta tomorrow. He warns that he won’t be in touch for a while.

Official Records:


NEAR ATLANTA, GA., August 24, 1864-7.15 p .m. (Received 12.15 a. m. 25th.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:

Heavy fires in Atlanta all day, caused by our artillery. I will be all ready and will commence the movement round Atlanta by the south to-morrow night, and for some time you will hear little of me. I will keep open a courier line with Chattahoochee bridge by the way of Sandtown. The Twentieth Corps will hold the bridge, and I will move with the balance of the army, provisioned for twenty days.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

Posted in Atlanta, Georgia, Henry Halleck, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment