3. Major-General Blair, will at the hour of withdrawal, carefully move back his corps through to the rear of his barricades, take the advance on the road pursued by the Sixteenth Corps forming the left column.
4. The right column, under Major-General Logan, will pursue the road on which he advanced, drawing out at the same hour with the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps.
5. All trains, ammunition wagons, ambulances, &c., will be sent in advance. The hour of moving the trains and troops will be designated hereafter.
* * * * *
By order of Major General O. O. Howard:
WM. T. CLARK,
[SEPTEMBER 4, 1864. - For Grant to Sherman, acknowledging receipt of dispatch announcing capture of Atlanta, &c., see Part I, p.87.]
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI
In the Field, near Lovejoy's, twenty-six miles south of Atlanta,
September 4, 1864.
MY DEAR FRIEND; I owe you a private letter, and believe one at this time will be acceptable to you. I appreciate your position and the delicate responsibilities that devolve on you, but believe you will master and surmount them all. I confess I owe you all I now enjoy of fame, for a I had allowed myself in 1861 to sink into a perfect "slough of despond," and do believe if I could I would have run away and hid from the dangers and complications that surrounded us. You alone seemed to be confident, and opened to us the first avenue of success and hope, and you gradually put me in the way of recovering from what might have proved an ignoble end. When Grant spoke of my promotion as a major-general of the regular army, I asked him to decline in my name till this campaign tested us. Even when my commission came, which you were kind enough to send, I doubted its wisdom, but now that I have taken Atlanta as much by strategy as by force, I suppose the military world will approve it.
Through the official bulletins you are better acquainted with all the steps of our progress than any other man in the country, but I will try and point out to you more clearly the recent achievement. By the rapid falling off of my command, by expiration of service, I found myself reduced in number, close up against Atlanta, which was so protected by earth-works that I dared not assault. Fortunately Hood detached 6,000 of his best cavalry to break the Macon road, over which his provisions and supplies me. I knew my cavalry was the superior to his, but he managed skillfully to send a brigade of infantry, which, in connection with his cavalry, about 4,000, managed so to occupy mine that though Kilpatrick reached the road he could work but little. The damage was soon repaired, and nothing was left me but to raise the siege, and move with army. I moved one corps by night back to the bridge, which had been intrenched, using mostly old rebel works, then withdrawing from the left I got my whole army over on the West Point road, from Red Oak to