19 Series I Volume XXXVIII-I Serial 72 - The Atlanta Campaign Part I

Page 19 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.

of these raids must be expected, and we are determined to stop them at all hazards. Bear in mind the object is to drive the enemy south, and to do his you want to keep him always in sight. Be guided in your course by the course he takes.

Make your own arrangements for supplies of all kinds, giving regular vouchers for such as will be taken from loyal citizens in the country through which you march.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

The troops were immediately put in motion, and the advance reached Halltown that night.

General Hunter having, in our conversation, expressed a willingness to be relieved from command, I telegraphed to have General Sheridan, then at Washington, sent to Harper's Ferry by the morning train,with orders to take general command of all the troops in the field, and to call on General Hunter, at Monocacy, who would turn over to him my letter of instructions. I remained at Monocacy until General Sheridan arrived, on the morning of the 6th, and after a conference with him in relation to military affairs in that vicinity, I returned to City Point by way of Washington. On the 7th of August the Middle Department and the Department of West Virginia, Washington, and Susquehanna were constituted into the

"Middle Military Division," and Major-General Sheridan was assigned to temporary command of the same. Two divisions of cavalry, commanded by Generals Torbert and Wilson, were sent to Sheridan from the Army of the Potomac. The first reached him at Harper's Ferry about the 11th of August. His operations during the month of August and the force part of September were both of an offensive and defensive character, resulting in many severe skirmishes, principally by the cavalry, in which we were generally successful, but no general engagement took place. The two armies lay in such a position - the enemy on the west bank of Opequon Creek, covering Winchester, and our forces in front of Berryville - that either could bring on a battle at any time. Defeat to us would lay open to the enemy the State of Maryland and Pennsylvania for long distances before another army could be interposed to check him. Under these circumstances I hesitated about allowing the initiative to be taken. Finally, the use of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which were both obstructed by the enemy, became so indispensably necessary to us, and the importance of relieving Pennsylvania and Maryland from continuously threatened invasion so great, that I determined the risk should be taken. But fearing to telegraph the order for an attack without knowing more than I did of General Sheridan's feelings as to what would be the probable result, I left City Point on the 15th of September to visit him at his headquarters, to decide, after conference with him, what should be done. I met him at Charlestown, and he pointed out so distinctly how each army lay, what he could do the moment he was authorized, and expressed such confidence of success that I saw there were but two words of instructions necessary - Go in! For the convenience of forage the teams for supplying the army were kept at Harper's Ferry. I asked him if he could get out his teams and supplies in time to make an attack on the ensuing Tuesday morning. His reply was that he could before daylight on Monday. He was off promptly to time, and I may here add that the result was such that I have never since deemed it necessary to visit General Sheridan before giving him orders. Early on the morning of the 19th


Page 19 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.