War of the Rebellion: Serial 076 Page 0888 Chapter L. THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN.

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ATLANTA, July 18, 1864.

General S. COOPER:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of my appointment as general of the Army of Tennessee. There is now heavy skirmishing and indications of a general advance. I deem it dangerous to change the commanders of this army at this particular time, and to be to the interest of the service that no change should be made until the fate of Atlanta is decided.

Respectfully,

J. B. HOOD,

General.

RICHMOND, July 18, 1864.

General HOOD:

Your telegram of this date received. A change of commanders, under existing circumstances, was regarded as so objectionable that I only accepted it as the alternative of continuing in a policy which had proved so disastrous. Reluctance to make the change induced me to send a telegram of inquiry to the commanding general on the 16th instant. His reply but confirmed previous apprehensions. There can be but one question which you and I can entertain-that is, what will best promote the public good; and to each of you I confidently look for the sacrifice of every personal consideration in conflict with that object. The order has been executed, and I cannot suspend it without making the case worse than it was before the order was issued.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

(Same to Generals Hardee and Stewart.)

MONTGOMERY, July 18, 1864.

Colonel JOHN B. SALE:

The enemy cut the West Point railroad last night above Loachapoka, and are supposed to have gone east. There is no cavalry here to pursue them. This is but a reconnaissance, to be followed up. General S. D. Lee is sending some few troops, and will meet me here to-morrow. The situation is most unsatisfactory, and the only remedy is action by the army at Atlanta.

B. BRAGG.

NEAR ATLANTA, July 18, 1864.

General S. COOPER,

Richmond:

Your dispatch of yesterday received and obeyed. Command of the Army and Department of Tennessee has been transferred to General Hood. As to the alleged cause of my removal, I assert that Sherman's army is much stronger compared with that of Tennessee than Grant's compared with that of Northern Virginia. Yet the enemy has been compelled to advance much more slowly to the vicinity of Atlanta than to that of Richmond and Petersburg, and has penetrated much deeper into Virginia than into Georgia. Confident language by a military commander is not usually regarded as evidence of competency.

J. E. JOHNSTON.