July 18.-12.30 a. m., the following order received from Major-General Thomas by General Howard: "You will commenced the execution of the orders of General Sherman, copies of which were sent you this evening, at daylight to-morrow a. m." 1 a. m., received answer to signal dispatch to General Thomas saying, "Prepare to move at daylight; will send orders by courier." 1 a. m., sent to the division commanders orders of the day for the fourth Army Corps for July 18, 1864, as follows:*
5 a. m., received from headquarters Department of the Cumberland (General Thomas) the orders of the day for July 18, 1864, as follows:*
Accompanying this order was a copy of a letter of instructions, dated headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, July 17, 1864, and written to General Thomas by Major-General Sherman. The following is a copy:*
4.30 a. m., the corps left camp, Newton leading, followed by Stanley, and then Wood; about two miles out from camp met the enemy's skirmishers-dismounted cavalry or infantry; soon drove them back, skirmishing all of the way to Nancy's Creek. 7 a.m., arrived at Nancy's Creek and drove the enemy's skirmishers across it. Here he made quite a stubborn stand for the force he had. He opened upon us two guns from the high ridge on the opposite side. The bridge over the creek had been destroyed by the enemy, and the road had been blockaded. 9 a. m., two regiments from Hooker's corps, out on a reconnaissance to find the Fourth Corps, came up on our right. They did not go farther than Nancy's Creek, and afterward returned to their corps. 9.40, having opened upon the enemy with artillery, and pressed our skirmishers across the creek, we drove him back. We were obliged to halt here until we could rebuild the bridge for the passage of troops and artillery. 11 a. m., again started forward. 11.45 a. m., after having proceeded one fourth of a mile again caught up with the enemy. After considerable skirmishing and little artillery firing, again drove him. 12.30 p. m., Newton's head of column, with General Howard and staff, arrived at Buck Head, and found that General Hooker's column had no yet come up, and sent Captain Pearson, commissary of musters, to inform him that the Fourth Corps had arrived, an to tell him of the disposition that would be made of the troops; all on the left of the road down which we marched, and just beyond and covering the Turner's Ferry and Buck Head road. General Newton went into camp, his division that would be made of the troops; all on the left of the road down which we marched, and just beyond and covering the Turner's Ferry and Buck Head road. General Newton went into camp, his division in two lines, the right resting on the Roswell Factory and Atlanta road (the road on which he marched), and in front of and covering the Tuner's Ferry and Buck Head (or Roswell Factory) road. 2 p. m., General Stanely's division arrived and went into position in two lines on the left of General Newton's division, covering the same road. 3 p. m., Brigadier-General Knipe, of the Twentieth Corps, arrived at Buck Head, and stated that the Twentieth Corps had not yet left camp, but he supposed General Hooker intended to march as soon as he built some bridges over Nancy's Creek. 3 p. m., General Wood's division arrived. As General Hooker has not yet arrived, and as there is no prospect of his arriving before night, General Wood, by direction, placed Hazen's brigade on the right of Roswell Factory and Atlanta road, his left connecting with Newton's right, and placed his two remaining bri-
*For full text of orders and letter (here omitted) see Part V.