rations and forage to be issued, and that he intends to go to our rear. The spoke of Cartersville as one point. They say, as every one says to men, that Wheeler draws forage for 15,000 horses. If Wheeler goes he can take with him about 8,000 men, and then leave enough to picket the right of their army.
These deserters say the papers have been abusing Wheeler for his inactivity and want of success, and for his losses and failures when he has met me, and that he is now desirous of doing something to redeem his character. If Wheeler starts and I am to go after him, I should be ahead of him and across the Etowah before he gets there, somewhere in the neighborhood of Cartersville.
This story has the air of probability, and I think it true; still, something might prevent it.
The proper place for a force to prevent a raid is north of the Etowah. Where I am, or anywhere in this vicinity it is impossible to counteract the movements of the enemy's cavalry, as it is so much more numerous, and it can move out of sight and reach of my scouts and pickets, and cross the Etowah east of Canton, and still keep a force in my front.
It seems large to say the enemy has 15,000 cavalry, but every one-deserters, prisoners, &c., - confirms it. Allow him 8,000, he then has two to my one and could spare 3,000 to make a raid. Wheeler is to start some time to-morrow or next day. If I can be spared would it not be well to have me move back to a position north of the Etowah, where I can interpose between him and his proposed raid?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
(Forwarded to General Sherman.)
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, near Kenesaw, July 1, 1864.
To-morrow I propose to move in such a way that my communication with the railroad may be broken for some days, and great attention must be given to the line of the Etowah, especially Cartersville and Allatoona. Now that you have General John E. Smith's division, send to Allatoona and Rome the two regiments that belong there that have been detained along the road. You will now have all of Lowe's division of cavalry for guarding off to the east; it has heretofore been tied down to Kingston, but should now be over about Adairsville and Talking Rock, scouting all the time.
W. T. SHERMAN,
JULY 1, 1864.
Don't fail to order Colonel Pugh to Allatoona as he and his regiment will be needed there at once.
W. T. SHERMAN,