War of the Rebellion: Serial 076 Page 0858 Chapter L. THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN.

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CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

HEADQUARTERS MARTIN'S DIVISION,

July 1, 1864.

Major BURFORD,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

MAJOR: Lieutenant Buice, scout, has just returned from the rear of the enemy on the Bell's Ferry road, and reports that Garrard's division moved camp on Tuesday to the neighborhood of Robert McAfee's. Garrard's headquarters are at McAfee's house. He saw a pass dated from there to-day, 9 a. m.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALFRED IVERSON,

Brigadier-General.

ATHENS, GA., July 1, 1864.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

MY DEAR SIR: I am here for two days only, to organize the local force for the defense of this place against threatened raids. I think I shall have sufficient force for its protection, but I would again urge the appointment or assignment of a suitable officer as commandant of this post. The public interest here in the way of factories, the armory, &c., justifies and requires that arrangements for the defense of the place should be made. All that is now wanting is a proper commandant of the post. I have heretofore approved the application made by the citizens for the appointment of Colonel Mell, of this place. He would be an acceptable and good appointment. I have suggested in former letters other names, and am personally indifferent as to the man, but feel anxious for the appointment of some suitable officer.

Allow me, in this unofficial letter, to express to you an opinion which I feel so strongly that I desire to express it to yourself and the President. While I know too little of the condition of our different armies in the field to express an opinion worthy of much consideration, yet there is a conviction upon my mind so strong and overwhelming that I cannot throw it off, that the defense of Atlanta and Georgia, and the certain defeat and destruction of Sherman's army, are involved in some movement to be made by Forrest (if possible) or some other cavalry on Sherman's line of communication. Unless it is done, I see no end to the slow process of Sherman's advance through Georgia. If his communication was cut for ten days his army would be destroyed, and Georgia, as well as Alabama and Mississippi, saved, and Tennessee recovered. To effect such a result could we not afford to uncover for a short time the country protected by Forrest? It does seem to me that the object to be accomplished makes the proposition worthy of consideration. It is proper I should say that our people are in the best spirits, hopeful and confident. They have the utmost confidence in General Johnston, which has not been shaken by his falling back, and they believe that the President will do all that any man can do. I trust you will pardon the liberty I take in making these suggestions, and be assured that I only do so because I feel a conviction that impressed me with the idea that it is the only certain solution of the present impending danger.

With the assurance of my continued sincere regard,

I am, very truly, yours, &c.,

HOWELL COBB.