HEADQUARTERS FOURTH CORPS,
Buck Head, July 19, 1864.
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: General Corse just left me for General Thomas. On the main road to Atlanta I find the bridge burnt, stream about fifty paces wide, a bridge-head pretty well constructed for infantry and will manned with troops armed with rifles. No further works can be seen on the main ridge beyond the creek. I do not deem a crossing at this point practicable. On the Decatur road General Stanley finds the bridge burning, which he will try to secure and repair. Very little force in his front. This brigade was across the north fork of Peach Tree Creek. General Newton, upon an intermediate road between Stanley and Wood, finds infantry works defended by troops. On Wood the enemy opened with two pieces of artillery and made demonstration as if to turn his right flank, but it resulted in nothing further. The rumor is (from prisoners and scouts) that Hood is in command, and that Johnston has gone east. A scout who was there reports that the rebel right flank (infantry) was last night at dark near this bridge on the Atlanta road, where Wood now is.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. O. HOWARD,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, one [mile] and a half from Decatur, July 19, 1864-12 m.
I have received your note. It is true Johnston is relieved and gone east. I have seen a copy of his order of farewell to his troops. Hood is in command and at Atlanta.
I want Thomas to have more of his command at Buck Head. A division will be ample west of Nancy's. All the rest should be from Buck Head east. I wish him to press hard at all the crossings of the main Peach Tree Creek, but your corps should be across in the direction of Decatur or Pea Vine Creek.
General Schofield sent to communicate with you, and the bearer, approached by one of the crossings, the second one from the mouth of the South Fork, but was fired on, he thinks, by your pickets, wounding an orderly, and he returned. You will have no trouble in crossing the two forks of Peach Tree any where above the forks. General Schofield now holds the forks of the Atlanta and Decatur road, and is skirmishing on both, but thinks he will soon have the head of his column at Decatur. McPherson is approaching the same objective point from the east, having broken up the railroad good. I will write to General Thomas by a courier, and give him such orders as will enable you to put your corps across both forks of Peach Tree between Schofield and your present position.
W. T. SHERMAN,