Decatur, July 21, 1864.
Major-General SHERMAN,
Commanding Army:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your orders last night at 1.30 a. m. At that time one brigade (three regiments) was at Cross Keys, ten miles from here, with pickets in every direction from there to four miles; one regiment was at McAfee’s Bridge and one at Roswell, leaving me only five regiments, which were all on duty here guarding the roads. I at once took the necessary steps to carry out your instructions, and will leave here during the day, and by traveling to-night make up for the time lost in concentration. My pickets on the road to the south and east are constantly exchanging shots with rebel cavalry pickets, and this morning one of my patrols down the Covington road captured 2 prisoners belonging to a brigade camped, when they left it, at Latimar’s. As your object is to destroy the bridges and six or eight miles of road east of Stone Mountain, and as my chance of success is better by varying some from the route indicated, I deem it best to do so. I desire to succeed, as you place so much importance in having it done, and I will endeavor to do it. I would have started with my five regiments here, but my force would have been too weak to tear up railroad. If no misfortune happens I will burn the bridge east of Covington by 12 m. to-morrow, and by doing this first I catch all west of that point. I then propose breaking up everything between the two rivers. Trusting my views may meet your approval.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General Kenner Garrard,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.