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[628] sharp skirmishing between our van and his rear-guard; until, having passed through Kingston, he was again found1 holding a strong and fortified position about Cassville, apparently intent on a decisive battle. Upon being pressed, however, he retreated, under cover of night, across the Etowah; burning the railroad and other bridges, and taking a still stronger position covering the Allatoona pass, where the country again becomes mountainous, rugged, and difficult, and where he doubtless had determined to fight in earnest.

Sherman, after halting two days to rest and reconnoiter, decided to flank him out of this by moving well to the right, concentrating his army on Dallas; to which point Jeff. C. Davis, at Rome, had already been directed, and on which Thomas now advanced; McPherson moving still farther to the right, by Van Wert, and swinging in on Thomas's right; while Schofield, moving on the east, should aim to come in on Thomas's left. Johnston promptly divined this movement, and prepared to baffle it.

Thomas, advancing from Burnt Hickory to Dallas, was confronted 2 at Pumpkinvine creek by Rebel cavalry, whom he rapidly pushed across, saving the burning bridge; but, as Hooker's corps, in the van, pushed on, his foremost division (Geary's) found the enemy in line of battle; and a severe conflict ensued, without decisive result. Hooker finally concentrated his command four miles north of Dallas, and struck hard, by Sherman's order, at Stewart's position covering New Hope church; whence, though he gained some ground, he was unable to drive the well sheltered foe. Next morning, the Rebel intrenched lines stretched unbrokenly from Dallas to Marietta, over a most difficult region, wherein days were necessarily spent by Sherman, amid continual skirmishing and fighting, in making careful approaches. He had just ordered Schofield to advance our left and flank the enemy's right, when Johnston struck heavily at our right at Dallas, held by McPherson. But this attack gave our men the advantage of breastworks, and was repulsed with loss; as one made by Howard's corps on Cleburne, farther toward the center, was repulsed by the enemy. Our army was now moved3 to the left along the Rebel front, enveloping the Allatoona pass, and compelling the enemy to evacuate it; as he soon after did his intrenchments covering New Hope church, and Ackworth also. Allatoona pass was promptly garrisoned by Sherman, and made a secondary base of supplies: the railroad bridge across the Etowah being repaired, and our trains down the road run to this point.

Gen. Frank Blair here came up,4 with two divisions of the 17th corps, and Col. Long's brigade of cavalry; raising Sherman's effective force nearly to that with which he left Chattanooga; and he moved forward next day to Big Shanty.

Kenesaw mountain, with its almost equally formidable neighbors, Pine and Lost mountains, now loomed before him with Rebel lines two miles long covering the points not impregnable by nature — lines which the enemy were actively strengthening each hour. Here Sherman halted perforce, and studied and planned

1 May 19.

2 May 25.

3 June 1.

4 June 8.

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