July 1, 1864
Major-General McPHERSON,
Commanding Army of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: Within the last hour two of the cavalry pickets in my front, belonging to the Fifth Georgia, came into my line. They report Wheeler in his camp in my front, but that he has ordered four days’ rations and forage to be issued, and that he intends to go to our rear. The spoke of Cartersville as one point. They say, as everyone says to men, that Wheeler draws forage for 15,000 horses. If Wheeler goes he can take with him about 8,000 men, and then leave enough to picket the right of their army.
These deserters say the papers have been abusing Wheeler for his inactivity and want of success, and for his losses and failures when he has met me, and that he is now desirous of doing something to redeem his character. If Wheeler starts and I am to go after him, I should be ahead of him and across the Etowah before he gets there, somewhere in the neighborhood of Cartersville.
This story has the air of probability, and I think it true; still, something might prevent it.
The proper place for a force to prevent a raid is north of the Etowah. Where I am, or anywhere in this vicinity it is impossible to counteract the movements of the enemy’s cavalry, as it is so much more numerous, and it can move out of sight and reach of my scouts and pickets, and cross the Etowah east of Canton, and still keep a force in my front.
It seems large to say the enemy has 15,000 cavalry, but every one-deserters, prisoners, &c., – confirms it. Allow him 8,000, he then has two to my one and could spare 3,000 to make a raid. Wheeler is to start sometime to-morrow or next day. If I can be spared would it not be well to have me move back to a position north of the Etowah, where I can interpose between him and his proposed raid?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Brigadier General Kenner Garrard
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
(Forwarded to General Sherman.)