NEAR LOVEJOY’S GA., September 4, 1864-9 a.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.;
The Twentieth Corps now occupies Atlanta and the Chattahoochee bridges. The main army is now here, grouped below Jonesborough. The enemy holds a line facing us, with front well covered by parapets, and flanks by Walnut Creek on the right and a confluent of Flint River on his left. His position is too strong to attack in front, and to turn it would carry me too far from our base at this time. Besides, there is no commensurate object, as there is no valuable point to his rear till we reach Macon, 103 miles from Atlanta. We are not prepared for that, and I will gradually fall back and occupy Atlanta, which was and is our grand objective point, already secured. For the future I propose that of the drafted men I receive my due share, say 50,000; that and equal or greater number go to General Canby, who should now proceed with all energy to get Montgomery and the reach of the Alabama River above Selma; that when I know he can move on Columbus, Ga., I move on La Grange and West Point, keeping to the east of the Chattahoochee; that we form a junction repair roads to Montgomery and open up the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers to Columbus and move from it as a base straight on Macon. This campaign can be made in the river winter and we can safely rely on the corn of the Flint and Chattahoochee to supply forage. If the Tensas Channel of the Alabama can be used, General Gardner, with the rebel garrison, could continue to hold Mobile for our use when we want it. I propose to remove all he inhabitants of Atlanta, sending those committed to our cause to the rear, and the rebel families to the front. I will allow no trade, manufactories nor any citizens there at all, so that we will have the entire use of railroad back, as also such corn and forage as may be reached by our troops. If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty I will answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking. If they want peace they and their relatives must stop war.