no opposition, but General Howard has fought two brigades of cavalry all the way from Fairburn. Last night darkness overtook him within a mile of Jonesborough, having pushed the cavalry so close that he secured the Flint River bridge. To-day I press at all points, but expect to make a lodgment on the road at or below Jonesborough, when I propose to swing the whole army upon it and break it all to pieces. I expect, and am prepared for, hard fighting, and have the army well in hand.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, August 31, 1864.
Commanding Army of the Cumberland:
I have reports from Generals Howard and Schofield, and from a signal dispatch of the former I infer Hardee will attempt to-night to move back to Atlanta to form a junction with Hood. It also appears that Stanley ranks Schofield, raising that old question of who commands. Of course my decision is that the senior commission, which is Stanely's; but as my instructions have been made to Schofield, I wish you would make them to Stanley to move very early in the morning down on Jonesborough (or the enemy wherever he may be), breaking railroad as he moves south. I don't believe anybody recognizes how important it is now to destroy this railroad. Should it appear the enemy is trying to make a junction round by the east, we must strike him in motion.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Renfroe's, August 31, 1864-7 p. m.
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: What do you think of this: Let Stanley and Schofield, covered by Garrard, destroy the railroad to-morrow to their rear until they come down to Baird; then for me to draw off the Army of the Cumberland and throw it on the railroad east of Fayetteville, say at Lovejoy's, or some point below, Howard confronting and holding the enemy at Jonesborough. Prisoners taken by Stanley report five trains in Atlanta which cannot get out; they also confirm the report that the militia and probably one corps have been left in Atlanta. I understand that General Howard repulsed the enemy, inflicting a heavy loss upon him; if so, I think the move on Fayetteville would be eminently beneficial. I am happy to report that General Baird is also on the railroad; he reached it at 5 p. m., and set 400 men at work immediately to destroy the road. I think Hood has gone up or ordered to Macon.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
P. S.-All the prisoners captured by Baird say there are but two corps in Jonesborough. Baird has taken between 40 and 50 prisoners.
G. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.