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[57] with the few remaining railroads in the South-West. He must either move towards Blue Mountain, or to the Tennessee river, or attack Sherman's communications. He chose the last named course, and at the same time Forrest captured Athens and moved up into the interior of Tennessee, threatening the line between Thomas and Nashville. On the 3rd of October, Hood reached Lost Mountain, which made it certain that he would attempt to strike the railroad in the neighborhood of Marietta, in Sherman's rear. Sherman at once ordered the Twentieth corps to hold Atlanta, and moved himself with the remainder of his army, upon Marietta.

He crossed the Chattahoochee on the 3rd and 4th of October, and learned that heavy masses of artillery, infantry, and cavalry had been seen from Kenesaw mountain, marching north. Allatoona, where more than a million of rations were stored, was evidently their objective point. It was held by only a small brigade. Sherman signalled from mountain-top to mountain-top, over the heads of the enemy, a message for Corse, who was at Rome with a division of infantry, to hasten to the succor of Allatoona, and himself reached Kenesaw early on the morning of the 5th. But the rebels had already struck the railroad, and the whole line at his feet for fifteen miles was marked by the fires of the burning road. He could discern the smoke of the battle of Allatoona, and hear the faint reverberation of the cannon, eighteen miles away.

He at once ordered the Twenty-third corps to march due west, burning houses or piles of brush as it advanced, to mark the head of the column.

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