Newton commenced to take position with his division on the height ground on the east side of the creek at Thorn's Mill. 2 p. m., Wood's column ran into the Twenty-third Corps and halted for it to pass; this delayed us in our march half an hour. 3.15 p. m., reached the Atlanta and Macon Railroad. The Twenty-third Corps reached it a few moments before us. This corps started from Morrow's Mill at the same hour that we did, and marched on a parallel road. Cox's division, of the same, tore up a part of the railroad track. 3.30 p. m., commenced to form line of battle and build barricades. Our left rests on the railroad, Kimball's division on the left, then Wood's, then Newton's. This line is straight and runs from the railroad to Crooked Creek at Thorn's Mill. It is one mile and three-quarters long and faces Jonesborough. General Schofield's right connects with us on the railroad and his line of battle faces Atlanta; thus the two lines of battle form a V, facing in different directions. 6 p. m., instructions were given to division commanders to send ut strong working parties at 3 o'clock to-morrow morning to destroy the railroad. Heavy firing heard this p. m. since 2 o'clock in the direction of Jonesborough. The Army of the Tennessee arrived within half a mile of the road at that point last night. It is supposed they are having an engagement. The Fourteenth Corps struck the Macon railroad about half way between the point where we struck it and Jonesborough at 5 this p. m.
LATER.-Hardee's and Lee's corps (of Hood's army) assaulted General Howard (Army of the Tennessee) twice this p. m. and were repulsed. Stevenson's [Stewart's] corps (Hood's army) and the Georgia militia are in Atlanta, and we are between them and the rest of Hood's army. They can pass around our left and go to Jonesborough, as the country is covered with roads. Day very hot and clear. No men lost to-day.
NOTE.-The following received to-day:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Poplar Springs, Ga., August 31, 1864.
Major General D. S. STANLEY,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that the following letter of instructions from Major-General Sherman be copied for your information and guidance.
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
"HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
"In the Field, August 31, 1864.
"I send you for perusal Howard's letter of 3 a. m. He did not get the road, though I doubt not he is too close for the comfort of the enemy. We must not fail in this. Order one of Davis' divisions down at once to Renfroe's and move all of your trains well to your right, so that you can rapidly fling your whole command over to Jonesborough. Then let Davis send out from his front, obliquely to the right front, a strong skirmish line with supports, as though to reach the railroad three or four miles above Jonesborough. Have Stanely do the same toward, but below, Rough and Ready. Impress on these commanders that it is not so necessary to have united lines, but rather column of attack. We are not on the defensive, but offensive, and must risk everything rather than dilly-dally about. We must confuse the enemy. As soon as Schofield comes up I will put him against Rough and Ready till he meets formidable resistance.
"W. T. SHERMAN,
"P. S.-The messengers to Schofield are back, and Stanley may look for him about Morrow's in two hours at furthest."