The other two-thirds will be from to eight miles off. Colonel Garrard's cavalry passed along the flank to-day unopposed, and I do not think the West Point road more than two miles from General Hascall's present flank. You will, therefore, make the expedition with one division, the other either placed intermediate or ready to act. Of course without abandoning our present base or dividing our forces into two equal parts I have no other corps to give you. You may consider it a reconnaissance in force not to go over three miles from General Cox's present right. I know a full proportion of the enemy is on our left and center, and if any change occurs in the night I will be sure to advise you. Our heavy ordnance, playing for the past thirty hours from the Buck Head road into Atlanta, has kept to the parapets a full proportion of the enemy all the way round to your old position and beyond, and if I am to give weight to the testimony from official sources the enemy at this moment exhibits most force on his present right. I have no idea that he can throw on you even a third of his reserve force, because he will look upon the movement as a decoy to weaken his line somewhat that we may break in. Besides, we know his line as well as ours is so stretched out that his reserves are not over 1,000 men per mile, for his infantry line three miles east of the Howard's house round to the Macon road below East Point is full fifteen miles long, requiring at his parapets 40,000 men, leaving him no reserve on that flank that can disturb two divisions. We must act. We cannot sit down and do nothing because it involves risk. Being on the offensive we must risk, and that is the flank on which we calculated to make the risk, indeed have been maneuvering to that end ever since the Army of the Tennessee shifted from left to right.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO,
August 11, 1864.
I will thin out the Fourteenth Corps so as to relieve Cox, and will send Hascall, supported by Cox, to destroy the road. I may overestimate the difficulties and dangers of this movement. I have made several like it, which were regarded somewhat hazardous, but they were trifling compared to this. I will do the best I can, and hope at least to remove your impression that I have shown a want of enterprise.
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, near Atlanta, August 11, 1864.
To make sure I am right in my conclusion that the enemy is as strong on his right as left, I will now order General Stanley at daylight to make a pretty sharp dash opposite the Howard house, at that hill to the left of the artillery, and to report to me the result as early as possible.
W. T. SHERMAN,