A Confederate soldier manning the fortifications surrounding Atlanta wrote of the surprise in learning the Federals had vacated the earthworks outside the city: “No one seems to know what the enemy intends to do, whether he is retreating or on another flank movement. If the latter, he has never taken his whole army with him; therefore, it looks like a retreat. I suppose Gen. Hood knows.”
Gen. John Bell Hood, commanding the Army of Tennessee, did not yet fully apprehend the meaning of the Federal maneuvers away from Atlanta.