August 16, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that under your orders I proceeded with the effective force of my division, less the old and new picket details for the security of this flank, to test the strength of the cavalry on the enemy’s left. I started at 8 a. m. and arrived at Decatur about 12 m., it being ten miles from my camp the route necessary for me to travel. Decatur is the center of eight roads, Atlanta, Fayetteville, McDonough, Flat Rock, Covington, Stone Mountain, Lawrenceville, and Roswell. To find the enemy’s position all these roads except two had to be examined some four or five miles from town, for, until very recently, there had been strong force of cavalry on them and I was sent to find out where that cavalry now is and the strength of it. No opposition was met on any of the roads except those leading to Atlanta direct from Decatur and from the McDonough road into Atlanta. By driving in the pickets and reserves, and the capture of a few men, I am able to inform you, with some degree of certainty, that there is no rebel cavalry camp north of south River, or west of Yellow River, outside of the rebel breast-works. That Ferguson’s brigade and two regiments just from Savannah are on the enemy’s right. Their camp is in a woods about a mile inside of the works, and toward Atlanta from there, rather to the right rear. That they keep 200 or 300-probably more-out mounted as patrols and scouts. That there has been no movement of cavalry since Wheeler’s forces went to Covington. That report says a few of Armstrong’s men are also with Ferguson. Wheeler is reported to have taken his whole effective force. They followed up the regiment I sent down the Atlanta road with some spirit, and showed a skirmish line of 200 or 300 men, but it was impossible to gain any advantage over them. They showed no line of battle, and would fall back when we advanced, and then follow to observe us. I returned to camp by 12 midnight. My examination did not take the body of my command near the railroad, and to break the road would require three or four days. I did not deem it advisable to attempt it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General Kenner Garrard,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.