In the Field, July 19, 1864-7 p. m.
General THOMAS:
GENERAL: I have this moment received yours of 3.30, and am very glad to hear that Howard has the means to cross over to Schofield in case of need. We have had some skirmishing and abundant evidence that the whole of the rebel army is about Atlanta. The fortifications lie mostly behind the Chattahoochee and Peach Tree, and my brief is we can approach from the east with certainly of getting within cannon reach of the town, in which case it cannot be held; but to push Schofield and McPherson on the place without a certainty of your being able to effect a junction would be extra hazardous. Schofield is on a road leading from Doctor Powell’s directly to Atlanta. McPherson has a corps in Decatur and the balance just northeast. Some of the enemy’s cavalry retreated east. Garrard has gone east to break railroad. I am near Doctor Powell’s Before I issue my orders I want to hear that you command is where it can take part in the battle if offered outside of Atlanta. If Hood fights behind forts close to the town, I will swing in between Atlanta and the river; but if he fight outside, we must accept battle. Please to-night give me the fullest description according to the official map.
Yours, truly,