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[470] our position so that it became impassable, the Federal army, under cover of this stream, extended its lines several miles beyond Johnston's left flank toward the Chattahoochee, causing a further retrograde movement by a portion of his force. For several days brisk fighting occurred at various points of our line.

The cavalry attack on Wheeler's force on the 20th, the attack upon Hardee's position on the 24th, and the general assault upon the Confederate position on the 27th were firmly met and handsomely repulsed. On July 4th it having been reported by General G. W. Smith, in command of about a thousand militia, and occupying the extreme left of our army, that the enemy's ‘cavalry was pressing him in such force that he would be compelled to abandon the ground he had been holding and retire before morning to General Shoup's line of redoubts,’1 constructed on the high ground near the Chattahoochee and covering the approaches to the railroad bridge and Turner's Ferry, General Johnston deemed it necessary to abandon his position at Kenesaw on July 5th and fall back to the line constructed by General Shoup, as the enemy's position covered one of the main roads to Atlanta, and was nearer to that city than the main body of General Johnston's force. On the 9th, Sherman having crossed the Chattahoochee with two corps on the day previous, the Confederate army crossed that river and established itself two miles in its rear.

Thus, from Dalton to Resaca, from Resaca to Adairsville, from Adairsville to Alatoona (involving by the evacuation of Kingston the loss of Rome, with its valuable mills, foundries, and large quantities of military stores), from Alatoona to Kenesaw, from Kenesaw to the Chattahoochee, and then to Atlanta; retreat followed retreat, during seventyfour days of anxious hope and bitter disappointment, until at last the Army of Tennessee fell back within the fortifications of Atlanta. The Federal army soon occupied the arc of a circle extending from the railroad between Atlanta and the Chattahoochee River to some miles south of the Georgia Railroad (from Atlanta to Augusta) in a direction north and northeast of Atlanta. We had suffered a disastrous loss of territory.

Whether the superior numerical strength of the enemy, by enabling him to extend his force beyond the flank of ours, did thereby necessitate the abandonment of every position taken by our army, and whether the enemy, declining to assault any of our entrenched camps, would have ventured to leave it in rear, upon his only line of communication and supply, or whether we might have obtained more advantageous results

1 Johnston's Narrative, p. 346.

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