NEAR MARIETTA, June 27, 1864.
C. S. Army, Richmond:
GENERAL: I have endeavored by my telegram to keep you informed of the course of military events in this department. I have not been able, however, in that brief style of correspondence to explain the mode of operating by which we have been pressed back so gradually but continually. I informed the Government, through Brigadier-General Pendleton, that Sherman’s army was more than double that under my command. I could not prevent such superior forces from turning the position at Dalton, under cover of Rocky Face Ridge, by Snake Creek [Gap]; so that Dalton was necessarily abandoned. The intrenched position of the enemy before Resaca also threatened our communications. The attempt to hold that place would have compromised the army. It was, therefore, abandoned also. In falling back from that point I intended to take advantage of the first good position to give battle, but found none capable of giving us such advantages as our inferior numbers required; or, indeed, any. In this way we crossed the Etowah. A few days after the Federal army also crossed that river more than a day’s march below the railroad bridge. On May 24 we found it intrenched near Dallas, and our own was placed between it and Atlanta. By his engineering operations (rendered easy by superior numbers and the character of the country, which is densely wooded) the enemy has pressed us back to a position the right of which is about two miles north of Marietta. The left was at first due west from the town, the extent of the line being five miles. The usual gradual extension of the enemy’s intrenched line to his right southwardly has compelled us to lengthen ours on the same side at least three miles.
Since May 7 in almost daily skirmishes and the attacks upon different points of our lines (which have been reported to you by telegraph), we have lost about 9,000 men in killed and wounded. Long and cold, wet weather, which ended five days ago, produced a great deal of sickness Our superior officers think that we have inflicted a loss on the enemy treble our own, as our men have almost always fought under cover or under favorable circumstances. The Federal army has received no other re-enforcements, I believe, than Blair’s troops, estimated at from 5,000 to 7,000, and garrison and bridge guards relieved by 100-days’ men.
I have been unable so far to stop the enemy’s progress by gradual approaches on account of his numerous army and the character of the country, which is favorable to that method. Our best mode of operating against it would be to use strong parties of cavalry to cut his railroad communications. Our own cavalry is so weak compared with that of the Federal army that I have been unable to do it. If you can employ cavalry in that way quickly great benefit must result from it-probably Sherman’s speedy discomfiture.
J. E. JOHNSTON,
From General Joseph E. Johnston to General Braxton Bragg – June 27, 1864