Blake’s Mill, Ga., July 18, 1864-9.30 p. m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: Inclosed please find sketch* of my position to-night and copy of Special Field Orders, Numbers 70, paragraph VI, from these headquarters.+
In pursuance of this order, the different commands were in motion promptly at the hour designated, the Seventeenth Corps closing up on the Fifteenth, and the Fifteenth and Sixteenth coming together by heads of column at the Widow Rainey’s, and the infantry (Fifteenth Corps) reaching a point about one mile from Braman’s [Browning’s] Court-House just as the last brigade of the cavalry was passing. The cavalry under Brigadier-General Garrard pushed on and struck the railroad, and five regiments were set to work to destroy it. A brigade of infantry (Lightburn’s), of Morgan L. Smith’s division, was also sent down, and the two forces together thoroughly destroyed over three miles of track upsetting the ties, breaking the iron loose, pulling up the ties, putting the iron on top, and setting fire to the pile The whole of the Fifteenth Corps was marched to the immediate vicinity of Braman’s [Browning’s] Court-House, the Sixteenth to the point indicated on the map, and the Seventeenth to Blake’s Mill, to be used as a reserve to re-enforce either flank in case the enemy advanced or was found in strong force. There being no water in the vicinity of Braman’s [Browning’s] Court-House just before dark, after the brigade returned from the railroad, the Fifteenth Corps marched to Henderson’s Mill and went into camp.
There is no telegraph line along the railroad. During our operations we saw no indications of any heavy force of the enemy; nothing but cavalry, which fell back and disappeared readily on our approach.
Inclosed please find copy of report just received from General Garrard.++
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Henderson’s Mill, Ga., July 18, 1864.
Colonel W. T. CLARK,
Asst. Adjt. General, Army and Department of the Tennessee:
SIR: In obedience to Special Field Orders, Numbers 70, I moved with my command this morning at 5 o’clock from Nancy’s Creek, near Cross Keys, to the intersection of the Stone Mountain and Lawrenceville roads for the purpose of assisting Brigadier-General Garrard to break the railroad, if he should need assistance. When the head of my column reached the road leading from McAfee’s Bridge to Browning’s Court-House, General Garrard had just arrived, moving in the direction of the railroad, some four miles distant. After his column passed, at the suggestion of the general commanding, I moved down within two miles of the railroad; then, as directed, sent one brigade of infantry, commanded by Brigadier-General Lightburn, to the railroad. He reports to me that he effectually destroyed some two miles of rail and ties of the road to within a short distance of Stone Mountain, burning water-tank, wood, &c. During the time that General Garrard and General Lightburn were destroyed the road in an easterly direction, Major Hotaling, of my staff, in charge of fifty mounted men, made up of the Eighth Indiana and my escort company, moved on the main Decatur road to within three miles of Decatur, destroying two culverts and some small portion of the railroad track. In the march to and from the railroad to my present position no resistance was met anywhere that I could hear of. One prisoner was captured. He was quite unwell. I think quite a number would have been captured if we had found them, and all been in the same condition as this one. The loss in the whole command, so far as I can learn, is 1 horse with pains in his belly from eating green corn.