pontoon across the Coosa and to feel forward to Center and down in the direction of Blue Mountain. The Army of the Cumberland, was held in reserve at Gaylesville and all the troops were instructed to draw heavily for supplies from the surrounding country. In the mean time communications were opened to Rome, and a heavy force set to work in repairing the damages done to our railroads. Atlanta was abundantly supplied with provisions, but forage was scarce, and General Slocum was instructed to send strong foraging parties out in the direction of South River and collect all the corn and fodder possible, and to put his own trains in good condition for further service.
Hood's movements and strategy had demonstrated that he had an army capable of endangering at all times my communications but unable to meet me in open fight. To follow him would simply amount to being decoyed away from Georgia, with little prospect of overtaking an the defensive would have been bad policy for an army of so great value as the one I then commanded, and I was forced to adopt a course more fruitful in results than the naked one of following him to the southwest. I had previously submitted to the Commander-in-Chief a general plan, which amounted substantially to the destruction of Atlanta and the railroad back to Chattanooga, and sallying forth from Atlanta through the heart of Georgia to capture one or more of the great Atlantic seaports. This I renewed from Gaylesville, modified somewhat by the change of events
On the 26th of October, satisfied that Hood had moved westward from Gadsden across Sand Mountain, I detached the Fourth Corps. Major- General Stanley, and ordered him to proceed to Chattanooga and report to Major-General Thomas at Nashville. Subsequently on the 30th of October, I also detached the Twenty-THIRD Corps, major- General Schofield, with the same destination; and delegated to Major-General Thomas full power over all the troops subject to my command, except the four corps with which I designed to move into Georgia. This gave him the two DIVISIONS under A. J. Smith, then in Missouri, but en route for Tennessee, the two corps named, and all the garrisons in Tennessee as also all the cavalry of my military DIVISION, except one DIVISION under Brigadier-General Kilpatrick, which was ordered to rendezvous at Marietta. Brevet Major-General Wilson had arrived from the Army of the Potomac to assume command of the cavalry of my army, and I dispatched him back to Nashville with all dismounted detachments, and orders as rapidly as possible to collect the cavalry serving in Kentucky and Tennessee, to mount, organize, and equip them, and report to Major-General Thomas for duty. These forces I judged would enable General Thomas to defend the railroad from Chattanooga back, including Nashville and Decatur and give him an army with which he could successfully cope with Hood should the latter cross the Tennessee northward.
By the 1st of November Hood's army had moved from Gadsden and made its appearance in the neighborhood of Decatur, where a feint was made; he then passed on to Tuscumbia and laid a pontoon bridge opposite Florence. I then began my preparations for the march through Georgia, having received the sanction of the Commander-in- Chief for carrying into effect my plan, the details of which were explained to all my corps commanders and heads of staff departments, with strict injunctions of secrecy. I had also communicated full details to General Thomas, and had informed him I would not leave the neighborhood of Kingston until he felt perfectly confident that he was entirely prepared