[Jonathan Beacher’s notes: Sherman in his final report on the Atlanta campaign discusses Kilpatrick’s Raid on the railroad at Jonesboro and Lovejoy Station and his subsequent decision that the only way to cut off the Confederates from the railroad supply to Macon was to shift his infantry.]
Sherman’s report
Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.
On the 16th of August I made my Orders, Numbers 57, prescribing the mode and manner of executing the grand movement by the right flank to begin on the 18th. This movement contemplated the withdrawal of the Twentieth Corps, General Williams, to the intrenched position at the Chattahoochee bridge and the march of the main army to the West Point Railroad near Fairburn, and afterward to the Macon road, at or near Jonesborough, with our wagons loaded with provisions for fifteen days. About the time of the publication of these orders, I learned that Wheeler, with a large mounted force of the enemy, variously estimated from 6,000 to 10-,000 men, had passed round by the east and north and had made his appearance on our line of communication near Adairsville, and had succeeded in capturing 900 of our beef- cattle, and had made a break of the railroad near Calhoun. I could not have asked for anything better, for I had provided well against such a contingency, and this detachment left me superior to the enemy in cavalry. I suspended the execution of my orders for the time being and ordered General Kilpatrick to make up a well appointed force of about 5,000 cavalry, and to move from his camp about Sandtown during the night of the 18th to the West Point road and break it good near Fairburn, then to proceed across to the Macon road and tear it up thoroughly, but to avoid as far as possible the enemy’s infantry, but to attack any cavalry he could find. I thought this cavalry would save the necessity of moving the main army across, and that in case of his success it would leave me in better position to take full advantage of the result. General Kilpatrick got off at the time appointed and broke the West Point road and afterward reached the Macon road at Jonesborough, where he whipped Ross’s cavalry and got possession of the railroad, which he held for five hours, damaging it considerably, but a brigade of the enemy’s infantry, which had been dispatched below Jonesborough in cars, was run back and disembarked, and with Jackson’s rebel cavalry made it impossible for him to continue his work. He drew off to the east and made a circuit an struck the railroad about Lovejoy’s Station, but was again threatened by the enemy, who moved on shorter line, when he charged through their cavalry, taking many prisoners, of which he brought in 70, ad captured a 4- gun battery, which he destroyed, except one gun, which he brought in. He estimated the damage done to the road as enough to interrupt its use for then days, after which he returned by a circuit north and east, reaching Decatur on the 22.
After an interview with General Kilpatrick I was satisfied that whatever damage he had done would not produce the result desired, and I renewed my orders for the movement of the whole army. This involved the necessity of raising the siege of Atlanta, taking the field with our main force and using it against the communications of Atlanta instead of against its intrenchments. 
Major-General, Commanding.