October 4th, 1864:
On the 3rd, Stewart’s Corps marched on and took Big Shanty and the garrison there, they began destroying the railroad. Loring’s Division was sent to Acworth and Walthall’s Division went to Moon Station about two miles north of Big Shanty. Upon arriving at Acworth, Loring’s Division camped just outside of town.
On the morning of the 4th, the acting commander of the Federals in Acworth, attacked Loring. The Federals had been up all night and were preparing for the Rebels to attack at first light, when they did not attack, the Federals did. The attack was a surprise to many of the men, but once the Confederates reorganized after the initial assault, they were able to surround the town and force the Federals to surrender. The Federal prisoners were rounded up and sent on their way, meanwhile the Confederates began to destroy the railroad. In all they were able to destroy about eight miles of track running north from Big Shanty.
Around noon on the 3rd Stewart received an order from Hood, directing him to send two of his Divisions back toward the main Confederate Army and send French’s further north to Allatoona Pass to destroy the tacks and fill in the railroad cut. After that they were to march to New Hope Church and link up with the other Divisions of the Corps. If French was able to determine if the garrison at the bridge over the Etowah was small, he was to attack and destroy the bridge if possible.
Having marched all the previous day and having spent all night and the morning destroying the railroad, French’s Division began marching north toward Allatoona. They were the furthest Division of their Corps, but were ordered their straight away. They had 8 miles to march, Loring’s Division, also the largest of the Corps, was only 4 miles away, but had been ordered to return back to the Confederate Army.
Sherman’s forces were also on the move. They were making their way toward Marietta and had already crossed the Chattahoochee by the the end of the day. Sherman also sent word to General Corse, who was in garrison at Rome, to move his division to Cartersville and to be ready to offer support when needed. Late in the afternoon, Sherman changed his orders to Corse and ordered him to Allatoona.
French’s Divison was on the move to Allatoona by foot and Corse was moving a greater distance, but had the advantage of using the railroad. It was essentially a race, yet the racers did not know they were racing.