Reports of Major General Oliver O. Howard, U. S. Army, commanding Army of the T ennessee.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
East Point, Ga., September 17, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the operations of the Army of the Tennessee during the present campaign:
On the 1st of May the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Corps, of this army, were guarding the railroad from Nashville Tn to Huntsville and from Huntsville to Stevenson, covering also the fords and bridges across the Tennessee River, which occupy the approaches to that sectin of country. One brigade of the Sixteenth Corps was located as an ojuutpost at Decatur, Ala. That portion of the Seventeenth Corps which the commandier of the department designated to take part in the campign was organizing at Cairo, Ill. The latter command was somewhat scattered at this date. Major- General McPherson, commanding the department, applied himself to the task of concentrating a column, from 20,000 to 25,000 strong, at Chattanooga. The Fifteenth Corps, Major- General Logan, arrived at Chattanooga on the 4th of May, with an effective force of 12,441. One division of this corps, Brigadier General John E. Smith commanding, was left to guard the Huntsville rairoad. The Left Wing, Sixteenth Corps, Brigadier- General Dodge commanding, excepting the brigade at Decatur, arrived at Chattanooga May 5, with an effective force of 11,649. The aggregate strength of the portions of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Corps present was 24,090, viz: 22,437 infantry, 1,404 artillery, and 249 cavalry. May 6, in accordance with Special Field Orders, Numbers 1, headquarters Department of the Tennessee, the command, as above constituted, marched to Gordon's Mills. At this date the Army of the Cumberland was in the vicinity of R inggold and Catoosa Springs, and the Army of the Ohio at Red Clay. By examining these positions it will be seen that the three armies occupied a relative position, generally preserved throughout the campign- that is, the Army of the Cumberland in the center and the other two upon the flanks. The rebel army, under Johnston, was in the vicinity of Dlton. The plan of campign contemplated that this army should turn the enemy's left flank at Dalton, while the other armies pushed more directly upon that place; wherupon, May 7, General McPherson moved his column toward Villanow, and halted for the night at a point west of Gordon's Springs Gap. may 8, Major- General Logan marched through this gap, whilst the rest of the command moved south as far as Villanow, and formed a junction with a brigade of cavalry, under General Kilpatrick; encamped with the advance within seven miles of Resaca, near Snake Creek Gap. In field orders from this camp, Generla McPherson uses these words: "The object being to make a bold and rapid movement on the enemy's flank, or line of communication, all wagons and baggage of every kind will be left begind, " &c. With such a purpose the movement of the following day was ordered,"the command to pass through Snake Creek Gap in the direction of Resaca." May 9, the column moved, General Dodge leading, at 5 a. m., preceded by a portion of Generl Kilpatrick's cavalry,* The enemy's cavalry pickets were encountered on debouching from the gap at the eastern
*Dodge says (p. 375) that his mounted advance consisted of the Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry, of his own command, not Kilpatrick's.