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er cover of darkness, marched to and across the Chattahoochee, upon the flat plains of Georgia. After our passage of this river on the night of the 9th of July, Sherman moved rapidly to the eastward and across the Chattahoochee, some distance above Peach Tree creek. He formed a line parallel to this creek, with his right on the river, and approached Atlanta from the north, whilst Schofield and McPherson, on the left, marched rapidly in the direction of Decatur to destroy the railroad to Augusta. General Johnston thus relates the sequel: Johnston's Narrative, pages 348, 349, 350. On the 17th, Major General Wheeler reported that the whole Federal Army had crossed the Chattahoochee. * * * The following telegram was received from General Cooper, dated July 17th: Lieutenant General J. B. Hood has been commissioned to the temporary rank of General, under the late law of Congress. I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you that, as you have failed to arrest the adv
ommander to fall back to Macon? I shall now glance at his two plans for the defence of Atlanta, one of which was to insure the security of that city forever. By his first plan, he hoped to attack the enemy as they crossed Peach Tree creek. Within thirty-six hours, almost before he had time to select quarters in Macon after his departure on the evening of the 18th of July, General Thomas was crossing Peach Tree creek, whilst McPherson and Schofield were moving to destroy the railroad to Augusta. General Johnston evidently had little faith in this plan, since he was unwilling to await thirty-six hours to test its feasibility. By his second, and, far more promising plan, as he designates it, he intended to man the works of Atlanta, on the side towards Peach Tree creek, with the Georgia State troops; and. upon the approach of the enemy, to attack with the three corps of the Army in conjunction with the cavalry. When the advance sheets of Johnston's Narrative appeared before th
rs in my name, and, in reality, I did not become Commander-in-Chief until about night of that day, when I received information of his departure. Much confusion necessarily arose during this interval; and this condition of affairs accounts for the circumstance, which must seem strange to military men, that at this late date I am apprised for the first time, and through Sherman's Memoirs, of the presence of the enemy's left wing, at 2 p. m. on the 18th of July, upon the railroad leading to Augusta. It must seem equally strange that, if I was regarded as chief in command, this important movement was not made known to me at headquarters by our cavalry, which was, generally, very prompt in reporting all such information. I cannot but think, therefore, that General Johnston was cognizant before 4 o'clock that day, and before his departure for Macon, of the enemy's presence on the Augusta Railroad, within six or eight miles of Atlanta. If such is not the case, our cavalry, stationed up
e intention, as I supposed, of interrupting our main line of communication, the Macon Railroad. We had lost the road to Augusta previous to the departure of General Johnston on the I8th, and, by the 22d, thirty miles or more thereof had been utterlenever he moved far enough to the right to place his left flank upon the river. Therefore, after the destruction of the Augusta road, the holding of Atlanta — unless some favorable opportunity offered itself to defeat the Federals in battle — depenr of this body of the enemy-leaving General Iverson to pursue General Stoneman who, after some-what further damaging the Augusta road, and burning the bridges across Walnut creek and the Oconee river, had moved against Macon. These operations hadlved at once to proceed to the execution of my original plan. Our cavalry also drove a brigade of the enemy from the Augusta road on the 22d, which affair, together with the happy results obtained in the engagement with Kilpatrick, demonstrated
ee, as he approached Atlanta, and the move of McPherson and Schofield upon the Augusta road was ably conceived and executed. Thomas, however, should not have formedrations against the city, whilst McPherson and Schofield destroyed the road to Augusta. At the same time, by use of the batteries near the mouth of Peach Tree creek, without the ability to strike a blow in its defence. After my loss of the Augusta road, McPherson and Schofield should have marched by the right flank down Peacbody should have made heavy demonstrations along the line of Peach Tree to the Augusta road, which diversion would have held my Army in position on the north side ofSchofield and McPherson to move rapidly, as they had done upon Decatur and the Augusta road, to deploy on Thomas's right along the south bank of South river and east In lieu thereof, Sherman, during or immediately after the destruction of the Augusta road, threw Thomas across Peach Tree creek, into the cul de sac aforementioned
f Fortress Monroe. In the construction of permanent works, every exertion is made to render them as strong and durable as possible. It might be supposed, from General Sherman's Memoirs, that Atlanta was not only a thoroughly fortified town, but was provisioned to endure a siege of a year or more, after all communication was cut off; that it possessed arsenals and machine shops as extensive as those in Richmond and Macon — an illusion created, probably, by a dilapidated foundry, near the Augusta road, which had been in use prior to the war. General Sherman, therefore, cannot assert, in order to justify certain acts, that Atlanta was a regularly fortified town. And whereas I marched out at night, allowing him the following day to enter the city, unopposed, as he himself acknowledges, and whereas no provocation was given by the authorities, civil or military, he can in no manner claim that extreme war measures were a necessity. It has been argued that Wellington sanctioned extrem
jor General M. L. Smith, chief engineer, was instructed to not only fortify Macon, but likewise Augusta and Columbus; the chief commissary was directed to remove the depot of supplies to the West Poi a part of the important machinery at Macon to the east of the Oconee river, and do the same at Augusta to the east side of the Savannah river? If done, it will be important to make the transfer so ain. This will, I think, force Sherman to move on us or to move south. Should he move towards Augusta, all available troops should be sent there with an able officer of high rank to command. Couldh. I received at this juncture a copy of the following order from President Davis: Augusta, Georgia, October 2d, 1864. General G. T. Beauregard, Augusta, Georgia. General:--I desire that,Augusta, Georgia. General:--I desire that, with as little delay as practicable, you will assume command of the military departments now commanded respectively by General Hood, and Lieutenant General Taylor. You will establish the headquar
to be encountered in a movement southward to Georgia. This letter is dated the 6th of December, but I insert it at this point, since it treats of events under consideration, and which occurred just prior to the advance into Tennessee: Augusta, Georgia, December 6th, 1864. to his Excellency, Jefferson Davis, President Confederate States. Sir:--Your letter of the 30th ult., acknowledging the receipt of my telegram of the 24th November, was received by me on the road from Macon to this plas been done, under existing circumstances to oppose the advance of Sherman's forces towards the Atlantic coast. That we have not thus far been more successful, none can regret more than myself; but he will doubtless be prevented from capturing Augusta, Charleston, and Savannah, and he may yet be made to experience serious loss before reaching the coast. On the i6th of November, when about leaving Tuscumbia, Alabama, on a tour of inspection to Corinth, Mississippi, I was informed by General
ns also furloughed at Tupelo. I cannot form any estimate of the number of men thus furloughed, because you will remember that all the organization furloughs were given by the corps commanders (your sanction having been previously obtained); consequently the strength of such organizations, at the time they were furloughed, was not furnished the assistant adjutant general's office at Army headquarters. The Field return above referred to was sent to Colonel Brent, and was in his office in Augusta when I passed there a few weeks since. Most respectfully your obedient servant, A. P. Mason, Lieutenant Colonel, A. A. G. Under the foregoing order not less than three thousand five hundred (3500) men were furloughed prior to the date upon which the return was made up. Now since Colonel Mason was the adjutant general under whose direction it was made, there can hardly be any question but that the Army, after its arrival at Tupelo, numbered from eighteen thousand (18,000) to nineteen