War of the Rebellion: Serial 076 Page 0551 Chapter L. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,

August 17, 1864.

Major-General SHERMAN:

Information from all scouts seems to confirm the report that Wheeler has taken off the greater part of his cavalry. I therefore think this will be as good a time as could be taken to make another raid on the Macon railroad, but if you send Kilpatrick I would insist on his taking the most practicable route and avoid the enemy's infantry as much as possible.

GEO. H. THOMAS,

Major-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

In the Field, near Atlanta, August 17, 1864.

Major-General THOMAS,

Commanding army of the Cumberland:

GENERAL: I beg you will convey the following orders to govern General Kilpatrick in his movement on the Macon road. It is not a raid, but a deliberate attack for the purpose of so disabling that road that the enemy will be unable to supply his army in Atlanta. He will have his own division of cavalry and two good bridges from General Garrard's division. With these he will move to-morrow night, aiming to cross the West Point road between Red Oak and Fairburn. If he has time he should remove a small section of the road without using fire, simply to lessen the chances of an infantry force being sent to intercept his return. He should then move in force to the nearest point of the Macon road, about Jonesborough, and should destroy as much of that arms and horse for battle. He should avoid battle with infantry of artillery, but may safely fight any cavalry he encounters, because we know that the enemy has sent Wheeler with full 6,000 cavalry up into East Tennessee. I leave the extent of the break to General Kilpatrick, but will only say that he cannot destroy too much. Having fulfilled his task he will return and resume his post on the right flank of the army and send General Garrard's brigades back to their division on the left. General Schofield will be instructed to move to his right as far as prudent the day after to-morrow and all the army should so engage the attention of the enemy that he cannot detach infantry as against General Kilpatrick. Instruct the general to advise us a the earliest possible moment of his success.

I am, with respect, yours, truly,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

THOMAS' HEADQUARTERS,

August 17, 1864.

Major-General SHERMAN:

Your dispatch ordering the preparation of two brigades of General Garrard's cavalry to report to General Kilpatrick has been received, and the necessary orders have been given, not only to Garrard, but to Stanley, regarding the demonstration on the enemy.

GEO. H. THOMAS,

Major-General.