viz, to hang on the Forrest and prevent his coming to Tennessee. I will, however, renew the order. I advanced from the Chattahoochee in force on the 17th. On the 18th General McPherson and Garrard's cavalry reached the August road and destroyed Peach Tree Creek, General McPherson occupying Decatur. To-day we moved on Atlanta, and have been fighting all day. Our line now extends from a point on the railroad two miles and a half east of Atlanta, and extends around by the north to the mouth of Peach Tree Creek. We find the enemy in force, but will close in to-morrow. By the Atlanta papers we learn that Johnston is relieved and hood commands; that Rousseau is on the railroad at Opelika, and that most of the newspapers and people have left Atlanta. General Thomas is on my right, General Schofield the center, and General McPherson on the left, General Garrard's cavalry on the left rear of General McPherson, and Generals Stoneman and McCook on the west bank, guarding our right flank. The enemy still clings to his intrenchments. If General Grant can keep Lee from re-enforcing this army for a week, I think I can dispose of it. We have taken several hundred prisoners, and had some short severe encounters, but they were partial; but we have pressed the enemy back at all points until our rifle-shot can reach the town. If he strengthens his works I will gradually swing around between him and his only source of supplies Macon.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, near Decatur, Ga., July 20, 1864-1.55 a. m.
I am now in possession of your sketch, which is perfectly clear and plain. In advancing this morning, of course we will bring on a heavy battle, and should be as fully prepared as possible. I think as your troops are now disposed your right will be too strong as compared with your left. I have, therefore, to request that Stanley and Newton, of Howard's corps, move by the road Stanley is now on, making a right wheel gradually until they can met with Schofield and Wood. In other words, I wish you to strengthen your left and risk more to your right, for the reason that as Atlanta is threatened the enemy will look to its rather than the river. Now, I have read the papers, and Rousseau has surely broken up the road about Opelika very opportunely. We have done complete works east of decatur, and luckily it appears that a locomotive has blown up and encumbered the track on the Macon road, so now is the time for us to strike in force. Do keep me fully advised, as I am pressed from right, left, and center with questions as to the dispositions of the different commands. But all now are in good position, and it only remains to find out where is the artificial defenses of the enemy.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,