War of the Rebellion: Serial 076 Page 0183 Chapter L. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

In the Field, near Decatur, Ga., July 19, 1864.

General THOMAS:

I sent General Corse to you this morning to explain the various positions of the troops and to explain my wishes. I think you have too much of your force the other side of Nancy's Creek. One division would be ample there, and all the rest in a general line, with Buck Head as a center. Howard's corps should then feel to the left and cross the forks of the Peach Tree, toward Pea Vine Creek. I take it for granted all the main crossings of Peach Tree in that quarter are well covered, but can be turned by the left. We are across all the forks of the Peach Tree, and the head of Schofield's column is beyond the forks of the road leading to Decatur and Atlanta, where Powers' is on our map. The Atlanta road is a big one and about half a mile west of Powell's forks, the left to Atlanta six miles, and the right to Pace's Ferry. After crossing the Middle Fork, a main fork of the Peach Tree, General Schofield sent Colonel Hartsuff, of his staff, to feel down. He went to the crossing places of Peach Tree, approaching from the south, and was fired on from the bank supposed to be occupied by Howard, and had an orderly wounded. I have no doubt Howard can cross anywhere above the forks. I have seen an Atlanta paper of the 18th, containing Johnston's farewell order to his troops. From its tone and substance I infer he has been relieved by Jeff. Davis, who sent Bragg to Atlanta to bear the order. I also infer it is for the purpose of getting another command. Hood succeeds.

You must get across Peach Tree either by moving direct on Atlanta, or, if necessary, leave a force to watch the brigade in possession of the enemy and move by the left. This is very important, and at once, as we may have to fight all of Hood's from east of Atlanta. I prefer you should let Howard open the way at once along the Pace's Ferry and Decatur road, or any other in that direction. I will push for the occupation of Decatur and then west for Atlanta, till we know exactly what the artificial defenses are. I have already advised you that McPherson has taken the railroad between Decatur a Stone Mountain, and I except him and Schofield to make a junction in Decatur to-day, in which case I will move Schofield on the road from Powell's to Atlanta. Schofield reports that his skirmishers are just in the edge of Decatur-1,05 p. m. A paragraph in the Atlanta paper of yesterday says the people in Montgomery were in great apprehensions about a Yankee raid, and were rushing to arms for the defense of the city. That means Rousseau.

Yours,

SHERMAN,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,

July 19, 1864-3.30 p. m.

Major-General SHERMAN,

Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: I have seen your note of General Howard. I am at the crossing of Peach Tree Creek with General Wood's division, who has crossed one brigade and is crossing another on the main road to Atlanta. General Davis is across Peach Tree at two places. General Geary