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

Page 28 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

This was in reply to a letter of mine of date September 12, in answer to a dispatch of his containing substantially the same proposition, and in which I informed him of a proposed movement against Wilmington, and of the situation in Virginia, &c.

CITY POINT, VA., October 11, 1864-11 a.m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

Your dispatch of October 10 received. Does it not look as if Hood was going to attempt the invasion of Middle Tennessee, using the Mobile and Ohio and Memphis and Charleston roads to supply his base on the Tennessee River, about Florence or Decatur? If he does this he ought to be met and prevented from getting north of the Tennessee River. If you were to cut loose, I do not believe you would meet Hood's army, but would be bushwhacked by all the old men, little boys, and such railroad guards as are still left at home. Hood would probably strike for Nashville, thinking that by going north he could inflict greater damage upon us than we could upon the rebels by going south. If there is any way of getting at Hood's army, I would prefer that; but I must trust to you own judgment. I find I shall not be able to send a force from to act with you on Savannah. Your movements, therefore, will be independent of mine, at least until the fall of Richmond takes place. I am afraid Thomas with such lines of road as he has to protect, could not prevent Hood from going north. With Wilson turned loose with all your cavalry, you will find the rebels put much more on the defensive than heretofore.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

KINGSTON, GA., October 11, 1864- a.m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Hood moved his army from Palmetto Station across the Dallas and Cedartown, and is now on the Coosa River, south of Rome. He threw one corps on my road at Acworth, and I was forced to follow. I hold Atlanta with the Twentieth corps, and have strong detachments along my line. This reduces my active force to a comparatively small army. We cannot remain here on the defensive. With the 25,000 men, and the bold cavalry he had, he can constantly break my roads. I would infinitely prefer to make a wreck of the road and of the country from Chattanooga to Atlanta, including the latter city, send back all my wounded and worthless, and with my effective army, move through Georgia, smashing things to the sea. Hood may turn into Tennessee and Kentucky,but I believe he will be forced to follow me. Instead of my being on the defensive, I would be on the offensive; instead of guessing at what he means to do, be would have to guess at my plans. The difference in war is fully 25 per cent. I can make Savannah, Charleston, or the mouth of the Chattahoochee. Answer quick, as I know we will not have the telegraph long.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

CITY POINT, VA., October 11, 1864-11.30 p.m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

Your dispatch of to-day received. If you are satisfied the trip to the sea-coast can be made, holding the line of the Tennessee River firmly, you may make it, destroying all the railroad south of Dalton or Chattanooga, as you think best.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

It was the original design to hold Atlanta, and by getting through to the coast, with a garrison left on the southern railroads leading east and west through Georgia, to effectually sever the east from the west; in other words, cut the would-be Confederacy in two again, as it had been cut once by our gaining possession of the Mississippi River. General Sherman's plan virtually effected this object. General Sherman commenced at once his preparations for his proposed movement, keeping his army in position in the mean time to watch Hood. Becoming satisfied that Hood had moved westward from Gadsden across Sand Mountain, General Sherman sent the Fourth Corps, Major-General Stanley commanding, and the


Page 28 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.