detachment Twelfth Illinois Adams brigade, one hundred and fifty men, Captain Koehler commanding; total one thousand and fifty-four-making an aggregate of one thousand nine hundred and forty-four. Even at this early hour, (two A. M.,) a brisk fire was maintained on the skirmish-line, and Colonel Tourtelotte was compelled to send the Eighteenth Wisconsin out to reenforce the outposts, and before dawn I found it necessary to throw a battalion of the Seventh Illinois infantry out in support, as the enemy pressed warmly at all points from the south toward the depot. At daybreak, under cover of a strong line of skirmishers, I withdrew the forces from the town to the summit of the ridge on either side of the railroad cut. About six A. M., the troops were in the following position, namely, the Seventh Illinois and Thirty-ninth Iowa in line of battle, facing west, on a spur that covered the redoubt immediately on the line over the cut; one battalion of the Ninety-third Illinois in reserve, the other in line of skirmishers, moving along the ridge in a westerly direction, feeling for the enemy who was endeavoring to push a force around our right flank. The Fourth Minnesota, Fiftieth and Twelfth Illinois were in the works on the hill east of the railroad cut. The balance of the command were out on skirmish and outpost duty. Under a brisk cannonade, kept up for near two hours, with sharp skirmishing on our south front and our west flank, the enemy pushed a brigade of infantry around north of us, cut the railroad and telegraph, severing our communication with Cartersville and Rome. The cannonading and musketry had not ceased, when, at half-past 8 A. M., I received by flag of truce, which came from the north, on the Cartersville road, the following summons to surrender:
To which I made the following reply:S. G. French, Major-General Commanding Forces C. S.
I then hastened to my different commands, informing them of the object of the flag, etc., my answer, and the importance and necessity of their preparing for hard fighting. I directed Colonel Rowett to hold the spur, on which the Thirty-ninth Iowa and Seventh Illinois were formed; sent Colonel Tourtelotte over to the east hill, with orders to hold it to the last, sending to me for reenforcements, if needed. Taking two companies of the Ninety-third Illinois down a spur parallel with railroad and along the brink of the cut, so disposed them as to hold the north side as long as possible. Three companies of the Ninety-third, which had been driven in from the west end of the ridge, were distributed in the ditch south of the redoubt, with instructions to keep the town well covered by their fire and watch the depot, where were stored over a million rations. The remaining battalion, under Major Fisher, lay between the redoubt and Rowett's line, ready to reenforce wherever most needed. I had hardly issued the incipient orders, when the storm broke in all its fury on the Thirty-ninth Iowa and Seventh Illinois. Young's brigade of Texans, one thousand nine hundred strong, had gained the west end of the ridge, and moved with great impetuosity along its crest, till they struck Rowett's command, where they received a severe check; but, undaunted, they came again and again. Rowett, reenforced by the Ninety-third Illinois, and aided by the gallant Redfield, encouraged me to hope we were safe here, when I observed a brigade of the enemy, under General Sears, moving from the north, its left extending across the railroad. I rushed to the two companies of the Ninety-third Illinois, which were on the brink of the cut running north from the redoubt and parallel with the railroad, they having been reenforced by the retreating pickets, and urged them to hold on to the spur; but it was of no avail. The enemy's line of battle swept us like so much chaff, and struck the Thirty-ninth Iowa in flank, threatening to engulf our little band without further ado. Fortunately for us, Colonel Tourtelotte's fire caught Sears in flank, and broke him so badly as to enable me to get a staff-officer over the cut with orders to bring the Fiftieth Illinois over to reenforce Rowett, who had lost very heavily. However, before the regiment sent for could arrive, Sears and Young both rallied, and made their assaults in front and on the flank with so much vigor and in such force, as to break Rowett's line, and had not the Thirty-ninth Iowa fought with the desperation it did, I never would have been able to get a man back into the redoubt. As it was, their hand-to-hand conflict and stubborn stand broke the enemy to that extent, he must stop and reform, before undertaking the assault on the fort. Under cover of the blow they gave the enemy, the Seventh and Ninety-third Illinois, and what remained of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, fell back into the fort. The fighting up to this time (about eleven A. M.) was of a most extraordinary character. Attacked from the north, from the west, and from the south, these three regiments, Thirty-ninth Iowa, Seventh and Ninety-third Illinois, held Young'sheadquarters Fourth division, Fifteenth army corps, Allatoona, Ga., 8.30 A. M., October 5, 1864.Your communication demanding surrender of my command, I acknowledge receipt of, and respectfully reply that we are prepared for the “needless effusion of blood,” whenever it is agreeable to you. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General S. G. French, C. S. Army, etc.:John M. Corse, Brigadier-General Commanding Forces U. S.