HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Ship's Gap, Ga., October 17, 1864 - 12 m.
Hood won't dare go into Tennessee. I hope he will. We now occupy Ship's Gap and La Fayette, and Hood is retreating toward Alpine and gadsen. I am moving General Garrard to-day to Dirt Town, and will move General Corse out to Coosaville, and with the main army move on Summerville. If Hood wants to go into Tennessee WEST of Huntsville let him go, and then we can all turn on him and he cannot escape. The gun-boats can break any bridge he may attempt above Decatur. If he attempts to cross let him do so in part, and then let a gun-boat break through his bridge. I will follow him to Gadsden, and then want my whole army united for the grand move into Georgia.
W. T. SHERMAN,
SHIP'S GAP, GA., October 17, 1864 - 2 p. m.
(Received 7 p. m. 18th.)
To-morrow I move on Summervillw. Hood is not going to enter Tennessee. Keep enough force to watch the river below and at the Shoals, and let all the rest march toward me, or to re-enfore the railroad. Order in my name the renewal of the attempt to get Eastport, and ask porter, if necessary, to send up an iron-clad. We should command the Tennessee up to Muscle Shoals perfectly. I will follow Hood to and below Gadsden. He cannot maintain an army north of the Tennessee, especially if we hold Eastport, and thereby control or threaten the railroad from Corinth to Decatur, which I am told has been partially restored by Forrest, who is not now with Hood.
W. T. SHERMAN,
GENERAL: This cipher was so badly bulled, either in putting up, or first transmission, that we could make no sense to it. I held until now for correction. We received it first at 11 last eve.
CHATTANOOGA, October 17, 1864.
I left General Sherman at Ship's Gap, our troops holding the crest and down the WEST side. The general thought Hood going south, as one corps was reported to have turned south at Villanow. The general halted to close up columns to get further information of Hood's course. He wants you to send him Morgan's and Newton's [Wagner's] DIVISIONS, and wants Wilson to join him as soon as possible with all the cavalry he can raise. I leave here in the morning to rejoin the general and then return to Nashville to take comand of One hundred and eightieth Ohio, to which I have been appointed colonel. Where is it? What news have you of Hood?
Lieutenant Colonel and Actg. Insp. General, Military Div. of the Mississippi.