Big Shanty, June 20, 1864-11.30 p. m.
General THOMAS:
Your note is just received. I was down with Schofield till near dark – until after he had got bridge and crossing at Noyes’ Creek. I also happened to be near Howard when that firing occurred, and had I not been caught by mud and darkness would have come down. The enemy’s cavalry burned the small bridge at Tilton to-day at noon. I had previously ordered by telegraph John E. Smith’s division from Huntsville, but in the mean time I may send up some infantry from McPherson. I believe General Steedman to be about Resaca, and have telegraphed to know if he wants any. I have sent peremptory orders for Garrard to cross Noonday and attack the enemy’s cavalry, and if he don’t do it I must get another to command the cavalry. McPherson has a good position and could have advanced to-day, but we cannot try to turn both flanks at once; but Blair’s corps advanced over two ridges to his left front, and thinks he could get a position that would reach Marietta with 20-pounders. I will in the morning go to that flank and see that Garrard crosses the creek and ridge, and that he threatens the enemy’s right flank and attacks any cavalry there. McPherson will also advance his skirmishers and mass his command for action. I want you to attack the enemy on his left flank strong. Keep Schofield advised, as he has orders to move toward the railroad bridge or Vining’s Bridge, following the Sandtown road out till he finds favorable ground. Stoneman has cavalry at Powder Springs, and I ordered him to push a brigade along down toward Campbellton or Sweet Water. I don’t see what position Johnston can have comparable to which he has surrendered to us, and I believe he holds on to await till the last moment the result of his cavalry raids to our rear. He cannot learn anything definite to-morrow, and therefore we should act to-morrow. If he retreats toward the Chattahoochee, give him no peace. We can leave our wagons, and the cars now here can supply us bread, and we have beeves on the hoof. If we gain ground, McPherson will follow also, leaving a small guard here and at Kenesaw. Make all your orders to-night, and advise me about daylight. Howard’s success is most important, but instead of turning against Kenesaw we should ignore it and move against Johnston, merely watching Kenesaw.
Yours, truly,