Doc. 58.-operations of the army of Tennessee.
General Joseph E. Johnston's order.
headquarters army of Tennessee, July 17, 1864.In obedience to orders of the War Department, I “turn over to General Hood the command of the Army and Department of Tennessee.” I cannot leave this noble army without expressing my admiration of the high military qualities it has displayed. A long and arduous campaign has made conspicuous every soldierly virtue — endurance of toils, obedience to orders, brilliant courage. The enemy has never attacked but to be repulsed and severely punished. You, soldiers, have never argued but from your courage, and never counted your foes. No longer your leader, I will still watch your career and will rejoice in your victories. To one and all I offer assurances of my friendship, and bid an affectionate farewell.
General Orders No. 4.
General Orders No. 4.
General J. B. Hood's order.
headquarters army of Tennessee, in the field, July 18, 1864.soldiers: In obedience to orders from the War Department, I assume command of this Army and Department. I feel the weight of the responsibility so suddenly and unexpectedly devolved upon me by this position, and shall bend all my energies and employ all my skill to meet its requirements. I look with confidence to your patriotism to stand by me, and rely upon your prowess to wrest your country from the grasp of the invader, entitling yourselves to the proud distinction of being called the deliverers of an oppressed people. Respectfully,
General Johnston's official report.
Vineville, Ga., October 20, 1864.Sir: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the Army of Tennessee, while it was under my command. Want of the reports of the Lieutenant-Generals, for which I have waited until now, prevents me from being circumstantial: In obedience to the orders of the President, received by telegraph at Clinton, Mississippi, December eighteenth, 1863, I assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, at Dalton, on the twenty-seventh of that month. Letters from the President and Secretary of War, dated respectively twenty-third and twentieth of December, impressed upon me the importance of soon commencing active operations against the enemy. The relative forces, including the moral effect of the affair of Missionary Ridge, condition of artillery horses, most of those of the cavalry, and want of field-transportation, made it impracticable to effect these wishes of the Executive. On the thirty-first of December the effective total of the infantry and artillery of that army, including two brigades belonging to the Department of Mississippi, was 36,826 ; the effective total of the cavalry, including Roddy's command at Tuscumbia, was 5,613. The Federal force in our front, exclusive of cavalry and the Ninth and Twenty-third corps at Knoxville, was estimated at 80.000. The winter was mainly employed in improving the discipline and equipment of the army and bringing back absentees to the ranks. At the end of April more than five thousand had rejoined their regiments. The horses of the artillery and cavalry had been much reduced in condition by the previous campaign. As full supplies of forage could not be furnished them at Dalton, it was necessary to send about half of each of these arms of service far to the rear. where the country  could furnish food. On that account, Brigadier-General Roddy was ordered, with about three-fourths of his troops, from Tuscumbia to Dalton, and arrived at the end of February. On the second of April, however, he was sent back to his former position by the Secretary of War. On the fifteenth and sixteenth of January, Baldwin's and Quarles' brigades returned to the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, to which they belonged. His Excellency Joseph E. Brown added to the army two regiments of State troops, which were used to guard the railroad bridges between Dalton and Atlanta. On the seventeenth of February the President ordered me, by telegraph, to detach Lieutenant-General Hardee, with the infantry of his corps, except Stevenson's division, to aid Lieutenant-General Polk against Sherman in Mississippi. This order was obeyed as promptly as our means of transportation permitted. The force detached was probably exaggerated to Major-General Thomas--for on the twenty-third the Federal army advanced to Ringgold — on the twenty-fourth drove in our outposts — and on the twenty-fifth skirmished at Mill Creek Gap, and in the Crow Valley east of Rocky Face Mountain. We were successful at both places. In the latter, Clayton's brigade, after a sharp action of half an hour, defeated double its number. At night it was reported that a United States brigade was occupying Dug Gap, from which it had driven our troops. Granbury's Texan brigade, returning from Mississippi, had just arrived. It was ordered to march to the foot of the mountain immediately, and to retake the Gap at sunrise next morning, which was done. In the night of the twenty-sixth the enemy retired. On the twenty-seventh of February I suggested to the Executive by letter, through General Bragg, that all preparations for a forward movement should be made without further delay. In a letter, dated fourth of March, General Bragg desired me “to have all things ready at the earliest practicable moment for the movement indicated.” In replying, on the twelfth, I reminded him that the regulations of the War Department do not leave such preparations to commanders of troops, but to officers who receive their orders from Richmond. On the eighteenth, a letter was received from General Bragg, sketching a plan of offensive operations, and enumerating the troops to be used in them under me. I was invited to express my views on the subject. In doing so, both by telegraph and mail, I suggested modifications, and urged that the additional troops named should be sent immediately, to enable us, should the enemy advance, to beat him, and then move forward; or should he not advance, do so ourselves. General Bragg replied by telegraph, on the twenty-first: “Your despatch of nineteenth does not indicate acceptance of plan proposed. Troops can only be drawn from other points for advance. Upon your decision of that point further action must depend.” I replied, by telegraph, on the twenty-second: “In my despatch of nineteenth, I expressly accept taking offensive — only differ with you as to details. I assume that the enemy will be prepared for advance before we are, and will make it, to our advantage. Therefore I propose, both for offensive and defensive, to assemble our troops here immediately.” This was not noticed. Therefore, on the twenty-fifth, I again urged the necessity of reinforcing the Army of Tennessee, because the enemy was collecting a larger force than that of the last campaign, while ours was less than it had been then. On the third of April Lieutenant-Colonel A. H. Cole arrived at Dalton to direct the procuring of artillery horses and field-transportation, to enable the army to advance. On the fourth, under Orders 32 of 1864, I applied to the chief of the conscript service for 1,000 negro teamsters. None were received. On the eighth of April, Colonel B. S. Ewell, A. A. G., was sent to Richmond to represent to the President my wish to take the offensive with proper means, and to learn his views. A few days after Brigadier-General Pendleton arrived from Richmond to explain to me the President's wishes on that subject. I explained to him the modification of the plan communicated by General Bragg, which seemed to me essential — which required that the intended reinforcements should be sent to Dalton. I urged that this should be done without delay — because our present force was not sufficient even for defence — and to enable us to take the offensive, if the enemy did not. On the first of May I reported the enemy about to advance. On the second, Brigadier-General Mercer's command arrived, about 1,400 effective infantry. On the fourth I expressed myself “satisfied” that the enemy was about to attack with his united forces, and again urged that a part of Lieutenant-General Polk's troops should be put at my disposal. I was informed by General Bragg that orders to that effect were given. Major-General Martin, whose division of cavalry, coming from East Tennessee, had been halted on the Etowah to recruit its horses, was ordered with it to observe the Oostanaula from Resaca to Rome, and Brigadier-General Kelly was ordered with his command from the neighborhood of Resaca, to report to Major-General Wheeler. The effective artillery and infantry of the Army of Tennessee, after the arrival of Mercer's brigade, amounted to 40,900; the effective cavalry to about 4,000. Major-General Sherman's army was composed of that of Missionary Ridge (then 80,000) increased by several recruits: 5,000 men under Hovey, the Twenty-Third (Schofield's) from Knoxville, and two divisions of the Sixteenth from North Alabama. Major-General Wheeler estimated the cavalry of that army as 15,000.  On the fifth of May this army was in line between Ringgold and Tunnel Hill, and after skirmishing on that and the following day, on the seventh pressed back our advanced troops to Mill Creek Gap. On the same day Canty reached Resaca with his brigade, and was halted there. On the eighth, at 4 P. M., a division of Hooker's corps assaulted Dug Gap, which was bravely held by two regiments of Reynolds' Arkansas brigade, and Grigsby's brigade of Kentucky cavalry fighting on foot, until the arrival of Lieutenant-General Hardee with Granbury's brigade, when the enemy was put to flight. On the ninth five assaults were made on Lieutenant-General Hood's troops on Rocky Face Mountain. They were repulsed. In the afternoon a report was received that Logan's and Dodge's corps were in Snake Greek Gap. Three divisions under Lieutenant-General Hood were therefore sent to Resaca. On the tenth Lieutenant-General Hood reported the enemy retiring. Skirmishing to our advantage continued all day near Dalton. Major-General Bates repulsed a vigorous attack at night. On the eleventh Brigadier-General Canty reported that the enemy was again approaching Resaca. Lieutenant-General Polk arrived in the evening with Loring's division, and was instructed to defend the place with those troops and Canty's. The usual skirmishing continued near Dalton. Rocky Face Mountain, and Snake Creek Gap, at its south end, completely covered for the enemy the operation of burning Dalton. On the 12th the Federal army, covered by the mountain, moved by Snake Creek Gap towards Resaca. Major-General Wheeler, with 2,200 of ours, attacked and defeated more than double that number of Federal cavalry near Varnell's Station. At night our artillery and infantry marched for Resaca. The cavalry followed on the thirteenth. On that day the enemy approaching on the Snake Creek Gap road, was checked by Loring's troops, which gave time for the formation of Hardee's and Hood's corps, just arriving. As the army was formed, the left of Polk's corps was on the Oostanaula, and the right of Hood's on the Connasauga. There was brisk skirmishing during the afternoon on Polk's front and Hardee's left. On the fourteenth the enemy made several attacks — the most vigorous on Hindman's division (Hood's left). All were handsomely repulsed. At six P. M. Hood advanced with Stevenson's and Stewart's divisions, supported by two of Walker's brigades, driving the enemy from his ground before night. He was instructed to be ready to continue the offensive next morning. At nine P. M. I learned that Lieutenant-General Polk's troops had lost a position commanding our bridges, and received from Major-General Martin a report that Federal infantry was crossing the Oostanaula near Calhoun, on a pontoon bridge. The instructions to Lieutenant-General Hood were revoked, and Walker's division sent to the point named by Major-General Martin. On the fifteenth there was severe skirmishing on the whole front. Major-General Walker reported no movement near Calhoun, Lieutenant-General Hood was directed to prepare to move forward, his right leading, supported by two brigades from Polk's and Hardee's corps. When he was about to move, information came from Major-General Walker that the Federal right was crossing the river. To meet this movement Lieutenant-General Hood's attack was countermanded. Stewart's division not receiving the order from corps headquarters in time, attacked unsuccessfully. The army was ordered to cross the Oostanaula that night, destroying the bridges behind it. On the sixteenth the enemy crossed the Oostanaula. Lieutenant-General Hardee skirmished with them successfully near Calhoun. The fact that a part of Polk's troops were still in the rear, and the great numerical superiority of the Federal army, made it expedient to risk battle only when the position or some blunder on the part of the enemy might give us counterbalancing advantages. I therefore determined to fall back slowly, until circumstances should put the chances of battle in our favor — keeping so near the United States army as to prevent its sending reinforcements to Grant — and hoping, by taking advantage of positions and opportunities, to reduce the odds against us by partial engagements. I also expected it to be materially reduced before the end of June, by the expiration of the terms of service of many of the regiments which had not re-enlisted. In this way we fell back to Cassville, in two marches. At Adairsville, about midday on the seventeenth, Polk's cavalry, under Brigaadier-General Jackson, met the army, and Hardee, after severe skirmishing, checked the enemy. At this point, on the eighteenth, Polk's and Hood's corps took the direct road to Cassville — Hardee's that by Kingston. About half the Federal army took each road. French's division having joined Polk's corps on the eighteenth, on the morning of the nineteenth, when half the Federal army was near Kingston, the two corps at Cassville were ordered to advance against the troops that had followed them from Adairsville — Hood's leading on the right. When this corps had advanced some two miles, one of his staff officers reported to Lieutenant-General Hood that the enemy was approaching on the Canton road in rear of the right of our original position. He drew back his troops and formed them across that road. When it was discovered that the officer was mistaken the opportunity had passed, by the near approach of the two portions of the Federal army. Expecting to be attacked, I drew up the troops in what seemed to me an excellent position — a bold ridge immediately in the rear of Cassville, with an open valley before it. The fire of the enemy's artillery commenced soon after the troops were formed, and continued until night. Soon after dark Lieutenant-Generals Polk and Hood together expressed to  me, decidedly, the opinion, formed upon the observation of the afternoon, that the Federal artillery would render their positions untenable the next day, and urged me to abandon the ground immediately and cross the Etowah. Lieutenant-General Hardee, whose position I thought the weakest, was confident that he could hold it. The other two officers were so earnest, however, and so unwilling to depend on the ability of their corps to defend the ground, that I yielded, and the army crossed the Etowah on the twentieth, a step which I have regretted ever since. Wheeler's cavalry was placed in observation above and Jackson's below the railroad. On the twenty-second Major-General Wheeler was sent with all his troops not required for observation to the enemy's rear, and on the twenty-fourth beat a brigade at Cassville and took or burned two hundred and fifty loaded wagons. In the meantime the enemy was reported, by Jackson's troops, moving down the Etowah, as if to cross it near Stilesboro, and crossing on the twenty-third. On the twenty-fourth Polk's and Hardee's corps reached the road from Stilesboro to Atlanta, a few miles south of Dallas, and Hood's four miles from New Hope Church, on the road from Alatoona. On the twenty-fifth the enemy was found to be intrenched near and east of Dallas. Hood's corps was placed with its centre at New Hope Church, and Polk's and Hardee's ordered between it and the Atlanta road, which Hardee's left was to cover. An hour before sunset Stewart's division was fiercely attacked by Hooker's corps, which it repulsed after a hot engagement of two hours. Skirmishing was kept up on the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh. At half-past 5 P. M., on the twenty-seventh, Howard's corps assailed Cleburne's division, and was driven back with great slaughter. In these two actions our troops were not intrenched. Our loss in each was about four hundred and fifty killed and wounded. On the twenty-seventh the enemy's dead, except those borne off, were counted--six hundred. We therefore estimated their whole loss at three thousand at least. It was probably greater on the twenty-fifth, as we had a larger force engaged then, both of infantry and artillery. The usual skirmishing was kept up on the twenty-eighth. Lieutenant-General Hood was instructed to put his corps in position during the night to attack the enemy's left flank at dawn next morning, the rest of the army to join in the action successively from right to left. On the twenty-ninth Lieutenant-General Hood, finding the Federal left covered by a division which had intrenched itself in the night, thought it inexpedient to attack — so reported and asked for instructions. As the resulting delay made the attack inexpedient, even if it had not been so before, by preventing the surprise, upon which success in a great degree depended, he was recalled. Skirmishing continued until the fourth of June--the enemy gradually extending his intrenched line toward the railroad at Acworth. On the morning of the fifth the army was formed, with its left at Lost Mountain, its centre near Gilgath Church, and its right near the railroad. On the seventh the right, covered by Noonday Creek, was extended across the Marietta and Acworth road. The enemy approached under cover of successive lines of intrenchments. There was brisk and incessant skirmishing until the eighteenth. On the fourteenth the brave Lieutenant-General Polk, distinguished in every battle in which this army had fought, fell by a cannon shot at an advanced post. Major-General Loring succeeded to the command, which he held until the seventh of July with great efficiency. On the fourth of June a letter from Governor Brown informed me that he had organized a division of infantry and placed it under my orders. These troops, when ready for service, under Major-General G. W. Smith, were employed to defend the crossings of the Chattahoochee, to prevent the surprise of Atlanta by the Federal Cavalry. On the nineteenth a new line was taken by the army — Hood's corps with its right on the Marietta and Canton road, Loring's on the Kennesaw Mountain, and Hardee's with its left extending across the Lost Mountain and Marietta road. The enemy approached, as usual, under cover of successive lines of intrenchments. In this position there was incessant fighting and skirmishing until July third--the enemy gradually extending his intrenched right toward Atlanta. On the twentieth of June, Wheeler, with eleven hundred men, routed Garrard's division of Federal cavalry on our right. On the twenty-first Hood's corps was transferred from right to left, Wheeler's cavalry taking charge of the position which it left. On the twenty-second Lieutenant-General Hood reported that Hindman's and Stevenson's divisions of his corps being attacked, drove back the enemy, taking a line of his breastworks, but were compelled to withdraw by the fire of fortified artillery. In the twenty-fourth Hardee's skirmishers repulsed a line of battle, as did Stevenson's, of Hood's corps, on the twenty-fifth. On the twenty-seventh, after a furious cannonade of several hours, the enemy made a general advance, but was everywhere repulsed with heavy loss. The assaults were most vigorous on Cheatham's and Cleburne's divisions of Hardee's corps and French's and Featherstone's of Loring's. Lieutenant-General Hardee reports that Cheatham's division lost in killed, wounded, and missing, one hundred and ninety-five; the enemy opposed to it, by the statement of a staff officer subsequently captured, two thousand; the loss of Cleburne's division, eleven; that of the enemy in his front, one thousand. Major-General Loring reported two hundred and thirty-six of his corps killed, wounded, and missing; and the loss of the enemy, by their own  estimates, at between two thousand five hundred and three thousand, which he thinks very small. On the first of July Major-General Smith's division was ordered to support the cavalry on our left. Their effective total was about one thousand five hundred. On the second, the enemy's right being nearer to Atlanta by several miles than our left, the army fell back during the night to Smyrna Church. On the fourth, Major-General Smith reported that he should be compelled to withdraw on the morning of the fifth to the line of intrenchments covering the railroad bridge and Turner's Ferry. The army was therefore ordered to retire at the same time to that line to secure our bridges. The cavalry crossed the Chattahoochee, Wheeler observing it for some twenty miles above, and Jackson as far below. The enemy advanced as usual, covered by intrenchments. Skirmishing continued until the ninth. Our infantry and artillery were brought to the south-east side of the river that night, because two Federal corps had crossed it above Powers' Ferry on the eighth, and intrenched. Lieutenant-General Stewart took command of his corps on the seventh. The character of Peachtree Creek, and the numerous fords in the Chattahoochee above its mouth, prevented my attempting to defend that part of the river. The broad and muddy channel of the creek would have separated the two parts of the army. It, and the river below its mouth, were therefore taken as our line. A position on the high ground south of the creek was selected for the army, from which to attack the enemy while crossing. The engineer officers, with a large force of negroes, were set to work to strengthen the fortifications of Atlanta, and mount on them seven heavy rifles borrowed from Major-General Maury. The Chief-Engineer was instructed to devote his attention, first, to the works between the Marietta and Decatur roads; to put them in such condition that they might be held by State troops, so that the army might attack the enemy in flank when he approached the town: this in the event that we should be unsuccessful in attacking the Federal army in its passage of Peachtree Creek. After the armies were separated by the Chattahoochee, skirmishing became less severe. On the fourteenth a division of Federal cavalry crossed the river by Moore's Bridge, near Newnan, but was driven back by Armstrong's brigade, sent by Brigadier-General Jackson to meet it. On the fifteenth Governor Brown informed me orally that he hoped to reinforce the army before the end of the month with near ten thousand State troops. On the seventeenth the main body of the Federal army crossed the Chattahoochee between Roswell and Powers' Ferry. At ten o'clock P. M., while I was giving Lieutenant-Colonel Prestman, Chief Engineer, instructions in regard to his work of the next day on the fortifications of Atlanta, a telegram was received from General Cooper, informing me, by direction of the Secretary of War, that, as I had failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of Atlanta, and expressed no confidence that I could defeat or repel him, I was relieved from the command of the Army and Department of Tennessee, which would be immediately turned over to General Hood. This was done at once. On the morning of the eighteenth the enemy was reported to be advancing, and at General Hood's request I continued to give orders until afternoon, placing the troops in the position selected near Peachtree Creek. In transferring the command to General Hood, I explained my plans to him: First: to attack the Federal army while crossing Peachtree Creek. If we were successful, great results might be hoped for, as the enemy would have both the creek and the river to intercept his retreat. Second: if unsuccessful, to keep back the enemy by intrenching, to give time for the assembling of the State troops promised by Governor Brown, to garrison Atlanta with those troops, and when the Federal army approached the town, attack it on its most exposed flank with all the Confederate troops. These troops, who had been for seventy-four days in the immediate presence of the enemy, laboring and fighting daily, enduring toil, exposure, and danger with equal cheerfulness, more confident and high-spirited than when the Federal army presented itself near Dalton, were then inferior to none who ever served the Confederacy. Under the excellent administration of Brigadier-General Mackall, Chief of Staff, the troops were well equipped, and abundantly supplied. The draught animals of the artillery and Quartermaster's Department were in better condition on the eighteenth of July than on the fifth of May. We lost no material in the retreat, except the four field-pieces mentioned in the accompanying report of General Hood. I commenced the campaign with General Bragg's Army of Missionary Ridge, with one brigade added (Mercer's), and two taken away (Baldwin's and Quarles'). That opposed to us was Grant's army of Missionary Ridge, then estimated at eighty thousand by our principal officers, increased, as I have stated, by two corps, a division, and several thousand recruits — in all, at least thirty thousand men. The cavalry of that army was estimated by Major-General Wheeler at fifteen thousand. The reinforcements which joined our army amounted to fifteen thousand infantry and artillery, and four thousand cavalry. Our scouts reported much greater numbers joining the United States army--garrisons and bridge-guards from Tennessee and Kentucky, relieved by “one-hundred days men,” and the Seventeenth corps with two thousand cavalry. The loss of our infantry and artillery from the fifth of May had been about ten thousand in killed and wounded, and four thousand seven hundred from all other causes — mainly slight  sickness produced by heavy cold rains, which prevailed in the latter half of June. These and the slightly wounded were beginning to rejoin their regiments. For want of reports I am unable to give the loss or the services of the cavalry, which was less under my eye than the rest of the army. Its effective strength was increased by about two thousand during the campaign. The effective force transferred to General Hood was about forty-one thousand infantry and artillery and ten thousand cavalry. According to the opinions of our most experienced officers, daily reports of prisoners, and statements of Northern papers, the enemy's loss in action could not have been less than five times as great as ours. In the cases in which we had the means of estimating it, it ranged from seventy to one to ninety to one, compared to ours, and averaged thirteen to one. The Federal prisoners concurred in saying that their heaviest loss occurred in the daily attacks made in line of battle upon our skirmishers in their rifle-pits. Whether they succeeded in dislodging our skirmishers or not, their loss was heavy and ours almost nothing. At Dalton the great numerical superiority of the enemy made the chances of battle much against us, and even if beaten, they had a safe refuge behind the fortified pass of Ringgold, and in the fortress of Chattanooga. Our refuge, in case of defeat, was in Atlanta, one hundred miles off, with three rivers intervening. Therefore, victory for us could not have been decisive, while defeat would have been utterly disastrous. Between Dalton and the Chattahoochee we could have given battle only by attacking the enemy intrenched, or so near intrenchments that the only result of success to us would have been his falling back into them. While defeat would have been our ruin. In the course pursued, our troops always fighting under cover, had very trifling losses compared with those they inflicted, so that the enemy's numerical superiority was reduced daily and rapidly, and we could reasonably have expected to cope with the Federal army on equal ground by the time the Chattahoochee was passed. Defeat on this side of that river would have been its destruction. We, if beaten, had a place of refuge in Atlanta — too strong to be assaulted, and too extensive to be invested. I had also hoped that by the breaking of the railroad in its rear the Federal army might be compelled to attack us in a position of our own choosing, or to a retreat easily converted into rout. After we crossed the Etowah five detachments of cavalry were successively sent with instructions to destroy as much as they could of the railroad between Dalton and the Etowah. All failed — because too weak. We could never spare a sufficient body of cavalry for this service, as its assistance was absolutely necessary in the defence of every position we occupied. Captain Harvey, an officer of great courage and sagacity, was detached on this service with one hundred men on the eleventh of June, and remained for several weeks near the railroad, frequently interrupting, although not strong enough to prevent its use. Early in the campaign, the statements of the strength of the cavalry in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, given me by Lieutenant-General Polk, just from the command of that department, and my telegraphic correspondence with his successor, Lieutenant-General S. D. Lee, gave me reason to hope that a competent force could be sent from Mississippi and Alabama, to prevent the use of the railroad by the United States army. I therefore suggested it to the president directly on the thirteenth June and sixteenth July, and through General Bragg on the third, twelfth, thirteenth, sixteenth, and twenty-sixth June, and also to Lieutenant-General Lee on the tenth May and third, eleventh, and sixteenth June. I did so in the belief that this cavalry would serve the Confederacy better by insuring the defeat of Major-General Sherman's army, than by repelling a raid in Mississippi. Besides the causes of my removal alleged in the telegram announcing it, various other accusations have been made against me, some published in newspapers in such a manner as to appear to have official authority, and others circulated orally in Georgia and Alabama, and imputed to General Bragg. The principal are: That I persistently disregarded the instructions of the president. That I would not fight the enemy. That I refused to defend Atlanta. That I refused to communicate with General Bragg, in relation to the operations of the army. That I disregarded his entreaties to change my course and attack the enemy. And gross exaggerations of the losses of the army. I had not the advantage of receiving the president's instructions in relation to the manner of conducting the campaign, but as the conduct of my predecessor in retreating before odds less than those confronting me had apparently been approved, and as General Lee in keeping on the defensive, and retreating towards Grant's objective point, under circumstances like mine, was adding to his great fame, both in the estimation of the administration and people, I supposed that my course would not be censured. I believed then as I do now, that it was the only one at my command which promised success. I think that the foregoing narrative shows that the Army of Tennessee did fight, and with at least as much effect, as it had ever done before. The proofs that I intended to hold Atlanta are, the fact that under my orders the work of strengthening its defenses was going on vigorously, the communication on the subject made by me to General Hood, and the fact that my family was in the town. That the public workshops were removed and no large supplies deposited in the town, as alleged by General  Bragg, were measures of common prudence, and no more indicated an intention to abandon the place, than the sending the wagons of an army to the rear on a day of battle proves a foregone determination to abandon the field. While General Bragg was at Atlanta, about the middle of July, we had no other conversation concerning the army there, than such as I introduced. He asked me questions regarding its operations past or future — made no comments upon them, nor any suggestions, and had not the slightest reason to suppose that Atlanta would not be defended. He told me that the object of his journey was to confer with Lieutenant-General Lee, and communicate with General E. K. Smith, in relation to reinforcements for me. He talked much more of affairs in Virginia than Georgia, asserting, what I believed, that Sherman's army outnumbered Grant's, and impressed me with the belief that his visits to me were unofficial. A brief report by General Hood as Lieutenant-General, accompanies this. Most respectfully, Your obedient servant,
J. E. Johnston, General.