In the Field, near Atlanta, July 21, 1864-1 a. m.
General McPHERSON,
Army of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: I have yours of 8.45 last evening and regret much the wound which will deprive us of the services of General Gresham. I was in hopes you could have made a closer approach to Atlanta yesterday, as I was satisfied you had a less force and more inferior works than will be revealed by daylight, if, as I suppose, Hood propose to hold Atlanta to the death. All afternoon heavy and desperate sallies were made against Thomas, all along his lines from left to right Particularly heavy against Newton and Geary, but in every instance he was roughly handled; considerable firing has been going on all night along Howard’s lines, and still continues. To-morrow I propose to press along the whole line, and try to advance Thomas, so that we will command the Chattahoochee’s east bank, and contact our lines by diminishing the circle. I think to-morrow Hood will draw from his left and re-enforce his right. Nevertheless, I deem it necessary that you should gain ground so that your artillery can reach the town easily; say within 1,000 yards of the inner or main lines. I have ordered Garrard to send to Roswell his wagons and impediments and push rapidly and boldly on the bridges across the Yellow River and Ulcofauhachee, near Covington, to be gone two days. Giver orders that in the mean time no trains come up you from Roswell. He will substantially cover the road back because all the cavalry in that direction will be driven away, still seem squads might be left about Stone Mountain, as he will take the direct road from Decatur to Covington, passing considerably south of Stone Mountain. Order you ordnance wagons and those that you may have left about Decatur up to your immediate rear. I will ride over to Thomas to-morrow morning and would like to hear from you before starting. If at any time you see signs of retreat on the part of the enemy follow up with all possible vigor, keeping to the left or south of Atlanta and following roads that will keep you on that flank. If Hood was as roughly handled by Thomas this afternoon as reported, and in addition the little artillery he has displayed to-day, I would not be astonished to find him off in the morning, but I see no signs looking that way yet. In case he retreats it will be toward Macon, whither all the advance stores have been sent, and most of the provisions. I want him pursued vigorously for a couple of days.
Yours, truly,
Major-General, Commanding.