Villa Rica, and will move this evening to Sweet Water. I have ordered him to come on over to Turner's Ferry and relieve General Blair, whom I have ordered to draw out of sight of the enemy to-night and move to-morrow for Roswell. You may therefore make all preparations to cross at Pace's Ferry to-morrow night or next morning and move out to control the bridge over Nancy's Creek. I will move my headquarters to-morrow to Powers' Ferry. The redoubt from which General McCook is to control the lower bridge over Peach Tree Creek should be prepared for him to-night by infantry. Cavalry cannot work on parapets to-morrow.
W. T. SHERMAN,
CAMP NEAR VILLA RICA, July 15, 1864.
GENERAL: As I indicated to you in my last note, we completed the bridge (Moore's), and were ready to cross at daybreak yesterday morning, but before we essayed it a report came from Major Buck, in command of a battalion seven miles above, that the enemy had been crossing above him on a boat or a bridge, and that his pickets had been ut off. I, of course, made preparations accordingly, and found that the report originated in the sound made by the enemy crossing a bridge over a creek on the other side of the river, and nearly opposite to Major Buck. On attempting to cross the bridge the enemy opened upon it with four pieces of artillery front he edge of the timbers on the opposite side and made an endeavor to retake their rifle-pits near the water's edge. Deeming it inexpedient to push our endeavors farther, and knowing that it was easier to retain the men long enough to burn the bridge than tog et them back again after they had been driven off, I ordered the bridge to be burned and the boats that had been collected there for security destroyed. During the day I sent scouts down the river to within thirteen miles of Franklin, where there is another bridge, and found neither ford nor ferry-boats, and in the evening came to this point. We shall remain here and graze during the day, and in the evening move to the vicinity of Sweet Water Town, or within eight miles of it. Colonel Biddle, who was left with his brigade at Campbellton, reports the enemy quite strong at that point, with two guns of long range in each of the two redoubts on the opposite bluff, which are opened upon him whenever any of his men show themselves. We get plenty of forage for the horses, beef, and blackberries, and some bacon for the men, and are getting of finely. We want horseshoes and nails, and a little time where we can avail ourselves of a blacksmith shop to fit the shoes, to complete the cavalry and make it ready for any service. The artillery, however, want better horses and better ammunition, as the horses they have would be unable to make long consecutive marches, and the ammunition is but little better than solid-shot. I was very anxious to strike the railroad from personal as well as other considerations, but I became convinced that to attempt it would incur risks inadequate to the results, and unless we could hold the bridge, as well as penetrate into the country, the risk of capture or dispersion, with loss of animals (as I could hear of no ford), was almost certain. It is impossible to move without every step we take being known, women as well as men acting as scouts and messengers. I have sent to the rear about 40 prisoners, 1 of them the commander of the picket
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