Sherman and his staff continue on toward Atlanta. They move south from Allatoona and passed through Acworth. All but a few homes in Acworth were destroyed. Major Connolly described it as “a heap of ruins”. Many officers were unable to or perhaps unwilling to stop the destructive and plundering nature of the soldiers under their command. As Sherman and his staff approached Marietta, they passed through some of the earthworks that had been abandoned during the summer. As they traveled they were able to see large, black columns of smoke coming form Marietta. General Kilpatrick and his cavalry were in the town. Guards had been posted to prevent Arson and looting, but were not able to do so and some officers were greatly disturbed by the unauthorized burning of the town. While in Marietta, Sherman reviewed General Kilpatrick’s command. He rode past and reviewed 5000 cavalry and at the end he took up a position to watch as they all road past cheering their General. The business district of the town around the square had been burned and destroyed.
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.
Sherman began to receive reports that General Hood had crossed the Chattahoochee River and were moving toward Marietta. Sherman, unsure of where Hood was moving, began sending messages to all points along his supply line and also sent additional troops to Chattanooga. He thought Hood would do one of two things; attack the supply line between Atlanta and Chattanooga or move toward northern Alabama to meet up with General Forrest to attack the supply depots in Tennessee. Sherman also mobilized his troops in Atlanta in an attempt to chase down and engage Hood. He left the XX Corps to garrison Atlanta and move the remaining troops northwest toward Marietta.
Hood was moving toward the northwest as well. He was not moving on Marietta directly and was making a wide move around it and the formidable Kennesaw Mountain. As the Confederate Army was marching, General Stewart’s Corps was the farthest to the right (east) of the column. They marched throughout the day and Stewart’s Corps made camp a few miles south of Lost Mountain. Hood and the remainder of his army camped in area southeast of Dallas near Flint Hill Church.
On the evening of the October 2nd, Hood sent orders to Stewart. His orders were to move his entire Corps, in the morning, to Big Shanty (now called Kennesaw). Stewart was assigned to capture and destroy as much of the railroad as possible and if he was able to take Big Shanty, he was to send a Division to Acworth to do the same thing there. Hood suggested that he should be back in two days to link up with the remainder of the army. These actions, were to set into motion, all the pieces for the Battle of Allatoona Pass.