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[306] be more easy of execution before the enemy had made more thorough preparation or regained full confidence, and accordingly I ordered General Schofield across from his position on the Sandtown road to Smyrna Camp-ground, and next to the Chattahoochee. near the mouth of Soap's creek, and effect a lodegment on the east bank. This was most successfully and skilfully accomplished on the seventh of July, General Schofield capturing a gun, completely surprising the guard, laying a good pontoon bridge and a trestle-bridge, and effecting a strong lodgement on high and commanding ground, with good roads leading to the east. At the same time General Garrard moved rapidly on Roswell, and destroyed the factories which had supplied the rebel armies with cloth for years. Over one of these, the woollen factory, the nominal owner displayed the French flag, which was not respected, of course. A neutral, surely, is no better than one of our own citizens, and we do not permit our own citizens to fabricate cloth for hostile uses.

General Garrard was then ordered to secure the shallow ford at Roswell, and hold it until he could be relieved by infantry; and as I contemplated transferring the Army of the Tennessee from the extreme right to the left, I ordered General Thomas to send a division of his infantry that was nearest up to Roswell to hold the ford until General McPherson could send up a corps from the neighborhood of Nickajack. General Newton's division was sent, and held the ford until the arrival of General Dodge's corps, which was soon followed by General McPherson's whole army. About the same time General Howard had also built a bridge at Powers' ferry, two miles below General Schofield, had crossed over and taken a position on his right. Thus during the ninth we had secured three good and safe points of passage over the Chattahoochee, above the enemy, with good roads leading to Atlanta, and Johnston abandoned his tele du pont, burned his bridges, and left us undisputed masters north and west of the Chattahoochee, at daylight on the tenth of July.

This was one, if not the chief, object of the campaign, viz: the advancement of our lines from the Tennessee to the Chattahoochee, but Atlanta lay before us, only eight miles distant, and was too important a place in the hands of an enemy to be left undisturbed, with its magazines, stores, arsenals, workshops, foundries, &c., and more especially its railroads, which converge there from the four great cardinal points. But the men had worked hard and needed rest, and we accordingly took a short spell. But in antieipation of this contingency, I had collected a well-appointed force of cavalry,about two thousand strong, at Decatur, Alabama, with orders, on receiving notice by telegraph, to push rapidly south, cross the Coosa, at the railroad bridge or the Ten Islands, and thence by the most direct route to Opelika. There is but one stem of finished railroad connecting the channels of trade and travel between Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi, which runs from Montgomery to Opelika, and my purpose was to break it up effectually and thereby cut off Johnston's army from that source of supply and reinforcement.

General Rousseau, commanding the District of Tennessee, asked permission to command the expedition, and received it. As soon as Johnston was well across the Chattahoochee, and as I had begun to maneuvre on Atlanta, I gave the requisite notice, and General Rousseau started punctually on the tenth of July. He fulfilled his orders and instructions to the very letter, whipping the rebel General Clanton en route ; he passed through Talladega, and reached the railroad on the sixteenth, about twenty-five miles west of Opelika, and broke it well up to that place. Also three miles of the branch toward Columbus, and two toward West Point. He then turned north, and brought his command safely to Marietta, arriving on the twenty-third having sustained a trifling loss — not to exceed thirty men.

The main armies remained quiet in their camps on the Chattahoochee until the sixteenth of July, but the time was employed in collecting stores at Allatoona, Marietta, and Vining's station, strengthening the railroad guards and garrisons, and improving the pier bridges and roads leading across the river. Generals Stoneman's and McCook's cavalry had scouted well down the river, to draw attention in that.direction, and all things being ready for a general advance, I ordered it to commence on the seventeenth; General Thomas to cross at Powers' and Pace's ferry bridges, and to march by Buckhead; General Schofield, already across at the mouth of Soap's creek, to march by Cross Keys; and General McPherson to direct his course from Roswell straight against the Augusta road, at some point east of Decatur, near Stone Mountain. General Garrard's cavalry acted with General McPherson, and Generals Stoneman and McCook watched the river and roads below the railroad, On the seventeenth the whole army advanced from their camps and formed a general line along the old Peach-tree road.

Continuing on a general right wheel, General McPherson reached the Augusta railroad on the eighteenth, at a point seven miles east of Decatur, and with General Garrard's cavalry, and General Morgan L. Smith's infantry division of the Fifteenth corps, broke up a section of about four miles, and General Scllofield reached the town of Decatur.

On the nineteenth, General McPherson turned along the railroad into Decatur, and General Schofield followed a road toward Atlanta, leading by Colonel Howard's house and distillery, and General Thomas crossed Peach-tree creek in force by numerous bridges, in the face of the enemy's intrenched lines. All found the enemy in more or less force, and skirmished heavily.

On the twentieth all the armies had closed in, converging toward Atlanta, but as a gap existed

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