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[312] near Calhoun. I could not have asked anything better, for I had provided well against such a contingency, and this detachment left me superior to the enemy in cavalry. I suspended the execution of my orders for the time being, and ordered General Kilpatrick to make up a well-appointed force of about five thousand cavalry, and to move from his camp about Sandtown during the night of the eighteenth to the West Point road, and break it good near Fairburn; thence to proceed across to the Macon road, and tear it up thoroughly; to avoid as far as possible the enemy's infantry, but to attack any cavalry he could find. I thought this cavalry would save the necessity of moving the main army across, and that in case of his success it would leave me in better position to take full advantage of the result.

General Kilpatrick got off at the time appointed, and broke the West Point road, and afterward reached the Macon road at Jonesboroa, where he whipped Ross' cavalry and got possession of the railroad, which he held for five hours, damaging it considerably; but a brigade of the enemy's infantry which had been despatched below Jonesboroa in ears was run back, and disembarked, and with Jackson's rebel cavalry, made it impossible for him to continue his work. He drew off to the east, and made a circuit, and struck the railroad about Lovejoy's station, but was again threatened by the enemy, who moved on shorter lines, when he charged through their cavalry, taking many prisoners, of whom he brought in seventy, and captured a four-gun battery, which he destroyed, except one gun, which he brought in. He estimated the damage done to the road as enough to interrupt its use for ten days, after which he returned by a circuit north and east, reaching Decatur on the twenty-second. After an interview with General Kilpatrick, I was satisfied that whatever damage he had done would not produce the result desired, and I renewed my orders for the movement of the whole army. This involved the necessity of raising the siege of Atlanta, taking the field with our main force, and using it against the communications of Atlanta instead of against its intrenchments. All the army commanders were at once notified to send their surplus wagons, encumbrances of all kinds, and sick, back to our intrenched position at the bridge, and that the movement would begin during the night of the twenty-fifth. Accordingly, all things being ready, the Fourth corps, General Stanley, drew out of its lines on our extreme left, and marched to a position below Proctor's creek. The Twentieth corps, General Williams, moved back to the Chattahoochee. This movement was made without loss, save a few things left in our camps by thoughtless officers or men. The night of the twenty-sixth the movement continued, the Army of the Tennessee drawing out and moving rapidly by a circuit, well toward Sandtown and across Camp creek, the Army of the Cumberland below Utoy creek, General Schofield remaining in position. This was effected with the loss of but a single man in the Army of the Tennessee, wounded by a shell from the enemy. The third movement brought the Army of the Tennessee on the West Point railroad, above Fairburn, the Army of the Cumberland about Red Oak, and General Schofield closed in near Digs and Mins. I then ordered one day's work to be expended in destroying that road, and it was done with a will. Twelve and one half miles were destroyed, the ties burned, and the iron rails heated and tortured by the utmost ingenuity of old hands at the work. Several cuts were filled up with the trunks of trees, with logs, rock, and earth intermingled with loaded shells, prepared as torpedoes, to explode in case of an attempt to clear them out. Having personally inspected this work, and satisfied with its execution, I ordered the whole army to move the next day eastward by several roads. General Howard on the right toward Jonesboroa, General Thomas, the centre, by Shoal Creek Church to Couch's, on the Decatur and Fayettville road, and General Schofield, on the left, about Morrow's mills. An inspection of the map will show the strategic advantages of this position. The railroad from Atlanta to Macon follows substantially the ridge or “divide” between the waters of Flint and Ocmulgee rivers, and from East Point to Jonesboroa makes a wide bend to the east. Therefore, the position I have described, which had been well studied on paper, was my first “objective.” It gave me “interior lines,” something our enemy had enjoyed too long, and I was anxious for once to get the inside track, and therefore my haste and desire to secure it.

The several columns moved punctually on the morning of the twenty-ninth. General Thomas, on the centre, encountered little opposition or difficulty save what resulted from the narrow roads, and reached his position at Couch's early in the afternoon. General Schofield, being closer to the enemy, who still clung to East Point, moved cautiously on a small circle around that point, and came into position toward Rough-and-Ready; and General Howard, having the outer circle, had a greater distance to move. He encountered cavalry, which he drove rapidly to the crossing of Shoal creek, where the enemy also had artillery. Here a short delay occurred, and some cannonading and skirmishing, but General Howard started them again, and kept them moving, passed the Renfro place on the Decatur road, which was the point indicated for him in the orders of that day, but he wisely and well kept on and pushed on toward Jonesboroa, saved the bridge across Flint river, and did not halt until darkness compelled him, within half a mile of Jonesboroa. Here he rested for the night, and on the morning of August thirty-first, finding himself in the presence of a heavy force of the enemy, he deployed the Fifteenth corps and disposed the Sixteenth and Seventeenth on its flanks. The men covered their front with the usual parapet, and were soon prepared to act

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