July 8, 1864.
General GARRARD, Roswell:
I have been to our extreme right and all well. Be active at daylight to-morrow to draw attention as far down the river as possible. The moment I hear you have made a lodgment on the south bank I will send a division up to re-enforce you, and it will be followed by one of McPherson’s corps from the extreme right. From the nature of the ground I have no doubt you can hold the ground till re-enforced. It is better that no infantry should be seen there till you have made a good lodgment. Schofield will cross below you near the mouth of Soap Creek, and his lodgment will be as much a part of your as possible, for he will be between you and the main enemy. Send word the instant you get a good foothold and the troops will start. Audenried can guide them.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Near Chattahoochee, July 9, 1864.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I telegraph to you, and Mr. Secretary Stanton answers. Drop me a word now and then of advice and encouragement. I think I have done well to maintain such an army in such a country, fighting for sixty days, and yet my losses are made up by the natural increase. The assault I made was no mistake; I had to do it. The enemy and our own army and officers had settled down into the conviction that the assault of lines formed no part of my game, and the moment the enemy was found behind anything like a parapet, why everybody would deploy, throw up counter-works and take it easy, leaving it to the “old man” to turn the position. Had the assault been made with one fourth more vigor, mathematically, I would have put the head of George Thomas whole army right through Johnston’s deployed lines on the best ground for go-ahead, while my entire forces were well in hand on roads converging to my object, Marietta. Had Harker and McCook not been struck down so early the assault would have succeeded, and then the battle would have all been in our favor on account of our superiority of numbers, position, and initiative. Even as it was, Johnston has been much more cautious since, and gives ground more freely. His next fighting line, Smyrna Camp-Ground, he only held one day.
I have got General Schofield across the Chattahoochee with two good pontoon bridges, without loss, and momentarily wait the news of my cavalry being across at Roswell Factory, where is the best ford on the whole river, but before going ahead I will there a good pier or trestle bridge and will at some point intermediate, convenient to roads, put down two more pontoon bridges, making five bridges and three fords, before I put the army across the Chattahoochee.
I call your attention to the inclosed paper* in reference to the Roswell factories. They were very valuable, and were burned by my orders. They have been engaged almost exclusively in manufacturing cloth for the Confederate Army, and you will observe they were transferred to the English and French flags for safety, but such nonsense cannot deceive me. They were tainted with treason, and such fictitious transfer was an aggravation. I will send all the owners, agents, and employee up to Indiana to get rid of them here. I take it a neutral is no better than one of own citizens, and we would not respect the property of one of our own citizens engaged in supplying a hostile army.
Write me a note occasionally and suggest anything that may occur to you, as I am really in the wilderness down here, but I will fight any and all the time on anything like fair terms, and that is the best strategy, but it would not be fair to run up against such parapets as I find here.
W. T. SHERMAN,
NEAR CHATTAHOOCHEE, July 9, 1864.
(Received 8 p.m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
General Schofield effected a lodgment across the Chattahoochee near the mouth of Soap Creek last night, and has two good pontoon bridges. He captured the single gun that guarded the passage, but the guard fled. General Garrard crossed at Roswell Factory, and has a secure lodgment at the shallow ford. General Dodge is moving to that point to take Garrard’s place, and has orders to build a good bridge there. These crossings will be strongly covered with forts. I will then endeavor to break the railroad south of Atlanta by an expedition from Decatur under General Rousseau, and another from here. In the meantime will collect supplies and secure better my rear, and then cross over the main army and go ahead. Weather is very hot, but the country is high and healthy.
W. T. SHERMAN,