July 31, 1864: Where’s Stoneman?

George Stoneman

Sherman’s cavalry, sent out to break the railroads in the rear of Atlanta, seem to be having some issues. Garrard comes back having been repulsed by Wheeler’s rebel cavalry, while Stoneman is known only by rumor. If he’s gone to Macon, that’s the right place to hit the rail supply line. Meanwhile, Sherman is looking for a better cavalry commander than Garrard.


HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., July 31, 1864.

Generals THOMAS and HOWARD:

I am just back from an interview with General Schofield. General Garrard is back. He was sent by General Stoneman to Flat Rock, where he was surrounded by Wheeler’s cavalry, but he remained two days, expecting General Stoneman to sent him orders, when he broke out to Latimar’s where he heard General Stoneman had gone to Covington and beyond. Not having further orders he came home via the Peach Tree road. His fight was a small affair, losing only 1 officer and 6 men wounded, and riding down one brigade of the enemy. He thinks Wheeler still remains on the right of Atlanta, extending the infantry line. I think General Stoneman has gone to Macon, east of Yellow River, and that it is well. I have ordered General Garrard in on our left, and to-morrow night will let him fill with a skirmish line General Schofield’s position, and move all of General Schofield to the right of General Howard, and with the division of Generals Davis and Ward in reserve on the right to strike a blow beyond our new right flank when intrenched. Our right flank must be advanced in close and absolute contact with the enemy, and with General Schofield on that flank I think we can make him quit Atlanta, or so weaken his lines that we can break through somewhere, the same as our Kenesaw move. Study the road so that General Schofield and Howard may have a line close up to the enemy, as close as possible. I will send a regiment of cavalry down the west bank of the Chattahoochee to feel for General McCook. I must have a bolder commander for General Garrard’s cavalry and want General Thomas to name to me General Kilpatrick or some good brigadier for the command.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

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