HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 57.
In the Field, near Atlanta, August 16, 1864.
The movement of the army against the Macon railroad will begin Thursday night, August 18, and will be continued on the following general plan:
I. All army commanders will send across the Chattahoochee River and within the old rebel works at the bridge an down as far as Turner’s Ferry all surplus wagons, horses, men, and materials not absolutely necessary to the success of the expedition, and will collect in their wagons with best teams bread, meat, sugar, coffee, &c., for fifteen days after the 19th instant, and ammunition, and park them near Utoy Creek.
First move: General Kilpatrick’s cavalry will move to Camp Creek; General Schofield will cover the Campbellton road, and General Thomas will move one corps (General Williams’) to the Chattahoochee bridge, with orders to hold it, Pace’s Ferry bridge, and a pontoon (Captain Kossak’s), at Turner’s Ferry, ready to be laid down if necessary. The other corps, General Stanley’s, will move south of Proctor’s Creek, to near the Utoy, behind the right center of the Army of the Tennessee, prepared to cover the Bell’s Ferry road. General Garrard’s cavalry will fall behind Peach Tree Creek, and act against the enemy should he sally against General Williams’ or General Stanley’s corps during the movements.
Second move: The Army of the Tennessee will withdraw, cross Utoy Creek, and move by the most direct road toward Fairburn, going as far as Camp Creek. General Thomas will mass his two corps, Generals Stanley’s and Johnson’s, below Utoy Creek, and General Garrard’s cavalry will join General Thomas by the most direct road or by way of Sandtown bridge, and act with him during the rest of the move. General Schofield will advance abreast of and in communication with the Army of the Tennessee as far as Camp Creek.
Third move: The Armies of the Ohio and Tennessee will move direct for the West Point road, aiming to strike it between Red Oak and Fairburn. General Thomas will follow well closed up in two column, the trains between. General Kilpatrick will act as the advance, and General Garrard will cover the rear, under direction of General Thomas. The bridges at Sandtown will be kept and protected by a detachment of cavalry detailed by General Elliott, with a section of guns or four- gun battery.
II. During the movement, and until the army returns to the river, the utmost care will be taken to expose as little as possible the trains of cars and wagons. The depots at the bridge, at Allatoona, and Marietta will be held against any attack, land communication kept up with the army as far as possible by way of Sandtown. On reaching any railroad, the troops will at once be disposed for defense, and at least one- third put to work to tear up track and destroy iron, ties, and all railroad materials.
By order of Major-General Sherman:
Aide-de- Camp.