In the Field, September 2, 1864-4 a.m.
I have your dispatch of 7.15 last evening, since which time you have a letter from me. I heard explosions and firing about Atlanta at 2 o’clock and at this moment I hear more seemingly nearer us, but due north; it must be Garrard, but what force he engages I don’t know. Please ascertain whether Stewart’s corps came into Jonesborough from the direction of Flat Rock, and let me know. If the firing at the north be not explained, prepare to meet any interruption of our operations from that quarter, and act without further orders if the occasion calls for it, otherwise I want you to attack Jonesborough from the east. Try and communicate with Garrard, and ascertain what the force to our rear is, and move to meet it. Our trains are at the Renfroe Place, out about four miles northwest of Jonesborough. I am near General Howard, at the Flint River, two miles northwest of Jonesborough. A road leads from here due east a little north, which I think passes by where you are.
Major-General, Commanding.

September 2, 1864-8 a.m.
Major-General SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: I have your dispatches of 8 last evening and 4 this morning. I have heard from Garrard this morning. The noise last night sounded to him as to us, to be at Atlanta. The last, about 4 o’clock, probably at East Point. We watched it closely. Very large fires were visible in the direction of Atlanta. Brilliant flashes followed at regular intervals by loud explosions, far too loud for any artillery, and then by very rapid explosions of shell. The interval between the flash and explosion gave the distance to Atlanta. All the circumstances indicate the burning of magazines at Atlanta. At the time of the later and near explosions the fires and flashes were not visible. I have no doubt these last were at East Point. I cannot explain the phenomena of last night in any other way. No battle I have ever witnessed would begin to account for it. Citizens here report that a large column of rebel troops passed down the Flat Rock road, just in front of Stanley, yesterday morning. What troops they were I have not yet learned, but am searching for information. Garrard’s cavalry went yesterday to about two miles this side of East Point, met some cavalry, and returned. Prisoners and citizens there all said that Stewart’s corps and the militia were still about Atlanta. I have sent an infantry reconnaissance up the Flat Rock road to see what can be learned in that direction. Garrard will be here soon, when I will get him started off toward the east. As soon as I can learn there is no force in our rear I will move in and attack the enemy’s right.
Very respectfully,