Today in History:

35 Series I Volume XXXIV-I Serial 61 - Red River Campaign Part I


General Sherman, leaving a force to hold Atlanta, with the remainder of his army fell upon him and drove him to Gadsden, Ala. Seeing the constant annoyance he would have with the roads to his rear if we attempted to hold Atlanta, General Sherman proposed the abandonment and destruction of that place, with all the railroads leading to it, and telegraphed me as follows:

CENTREVILLE, GA., October 10, 1864-noon.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Dispatch about Wilson just received. Hood is now crossing Coosa River, 12 miles below Rome, bound west. If he passes over the Mobile and Ohio road, had I not better execute the plan of my letter sent by Colonel Porter, and leave General Thomas, with the troops now in Tennessee, to defend the State? He will have an ample force when the re-enforcements ordered reach Nashville.



For a full understanding of the plan referred to in this dispatch, I quote from the letter sent by Colonel Porter:

I will therefore give my opinion that your army and Canby's should be re-enforced to the maximum; that, after you get Wilmington, you strike for Savannah and the river; that Canby be instructed to hold the Mississippi River, and send a force to get Columbus, Ga., either by the way of the Alabama or Appalachicola, and that I keep Hood employed and put my army in final order for a march on Augusta, Columbia, and Charleston, to be ready as soon as Wilmington is sealed as to commerce and the city of Savannah is in our possession.

This was in reply to a letter of mine of date September 12, in answer to a dispatch of his containing substantially the same proposition, and in which I informed him of proposed movement against Wilmington, and of the situation in Virginia, &c.

CITY POINT, VA., October 11, 1864-11 a.m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

Your dispatch of October 10 received. Does it not look as if Hood was going to attempt the invasion of Middle Tennessee, using the Mobile and Ohio and Memphis and Charleston roads to supply his base on the Tennessee River, about Florence or Decatur? If he does this he ought to be met and prevented from getting north of the Tennessee River. If you were to cut loose, I do not believe you would meet Hood's army, but would be bushwhacked by all the old men, little boys, and such railroad guards as are still left at home. Hood would probably strike for Nashville, thinking that by going north he could inflict greater damage upon us than we could upon the rebels by going south. If there is any way of getting at Hood's army I would prefer that; but I must trust to your own judgment. I find I shall not be able to send a force from here to act with you on Savannah. Your movements, therefore, will be independent of mine, at least until the fall of Richmond takes place. I am afraid Thomas, with such lines of road as he has to protect, could not prevent Hood from going north. With Wilson turned loose with all your cavalry, you will find the rebels put much more on the defensive than heretofore.



KINGSTON, GA., October 11, 1864-11 a.m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Hood moved his army from Palmetto Station across by Dallas and Cedartown, and is now on the Coosa Rive, south of Rome. He threw one corps on my road at Acworth, and I was forced to follow. I hold Atlanta with the Twentieth Corps, and have strong detachments along my line. This reduces my active force to a comparatively small army We cannot remain here on the defensive. With the 25,000 men, and the bold cavalry he has, he can constantly break my roads. I would infinitely prefer to make a wreck of the road and of the country from Chattanooga to Atlanta, including the latter city, send back all my wounded and worthless, and, with my effective army, move through Georgia, smashing things to the sea. Hood may turn into Tennessee and Kentucky, but I believe he will be forced