of a costly failure, which the assault of fortified lines had almost invariably proved to be.
I did not see Thomas
for some days before the assault, but I believe their judgment, like mine, was opposed to it. Undoubtedly it was generally opposed, though deferentially as became subordinates toward the commanding general
The responsibility was entirely Sherman
's, as he afterward frankly stated; and I presume he did not mean to imply otherwise by the language used in his ‘Memoirs’ above quoted (Vol.
II, page 60). General Sherman
's orders, issued on June 24 (Special Field Orders, No. 28), directed each of the three armies to make an attack (under the word ‘assault’ for Thomas
and ‘attack’ for McPherson
and me). I had made all preparations to carry out the order on my part.
Being visited by General Sherman
a day or two before the date named for the execution of the order (June 27), I explained to him what I had done, and how little hope there was of success, on account of the smallness of my reserve to push the advantage even if we should break the line, when he at once replied that it was not intended that I should make an attack in front, but to make a strong demonstration in my front, and gain what advantage I could on the enemy's flank.
During the day Cox
's division forced the passage of Olley's Creek and secured a position on the head of Nickajack
, which was spoken of by Sherman
as the only success of the day.
There were doubtless many occasions in the Atlanta campaign
when the enemy's intrenchments could have been assaulted with success.
These were when the position had been but recently occupied and the fortifications were very slight.
After several days' occupation, as at the points attacked by Thomas
, the lines became impregnable.
Frequent efforts were made, and by none more earnestly than by General Sherman
, to press the troops to a vigorous assault of the enemy's position