were still pursued on the other side of the river and a number captured, thus completing the entire destruction of the entire command. This proved to be a picked body of cavalry, and its destruction destroyed the flower of General Sharman's vast cavalry organization. General Iverson had been equally successful in his pursuit of General Stoneman, whom he met, defeated, and captured, with 500 of his command, some twenty miles from Macon. the remainder of Stoneman's command was much demoralized and scattered. Colonel Breckinridge pursued and, in successive engagements, defeated and captured the only organized party which attempted escape.
Thus ended in most ignominious defeat and destruction the most stupendous cavalry operation of the war. As was acknowledged by the brigade commanders captured, their plan was to move these columns on the railroad north of Macon, destroy the railroad, then move rapidly upon and released the 30,000 prisoners of war we held at Andersonville. At this he was thoroughly thwarted at the cost of about 5,000 men, with their horses, arms, equipments, colors, cannon, &c. The force which was sent on this expedition numbered as follows, all picked cavalry:
Garrard's division........................ 4,000
McCook's division......................... 3,200
Stoneman's division....................... 2,200
Garrard returned to the army without sustaining much damage except the morale of defeat. McCook, according to the enemy's own accounts, only succeeded in returning with 500 men, most of whom were dismounted and unarmed, while none but a few stragglers from Stoneman's column ever returned, making their entire los over 5,000 men. Of these I am informed 3,200 were lodged in prison, and the remainder killed, wounded, or scattered through the country. McCook's column was a picked body of men selected from his own division and a division a short time previously brought from Tennessee by Major-General Rousseau. All this was accomplished by a force of cavalry not exceeding an aggregate of 3,800 men.
On my return to the army I was ordered by General Hood to move upon the enemy's line of communications, destroy them at various points between Marietta and Chattanooga; then cross the Tennessee River, break the line of communication on the two roads running from Nashville to the army; to then leave 1,200 men to continue their operations on those roads; to then return again striking the railroad south of Chattanooga, and join the main army.
My command was much worn from the rapid marching and scarcity of forage for my horses. I nevertheless started promptly [August 10] with a force of 4,000 men, first tore up the railroad a few miles above Marietta, next near Cassville, and next near Calhoun. At Calhoun Hannon's brigade captured 1,700 head of beef-cattle, several wagons, a number of prisoners, and several horses. These he brought safely to Ellijay, and pursuant to my orders returned with them to the army, where he arrived safely with the greater part of the captured property, although pursued by a superior body of the enemy's cavalry. For this service Colonel Hannon and his command deserve the highest commendation.
On August 14 Humes' and Kelly's commands attacked and captured Dalton with a large amount of stores and Government property,