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Doc. 39. Sherman's Atlanta campaign.

in the field, near Dallas, Georgia, June 3.
Thirty-five days of active campaigning under Sherman; thirty-five nights of march, picket, skirmish, battle, or of uneasy slumber on beds of grass, leaves, rails, rocks, or mother earth, with the blue heavens for a canopy; and to-day, a seat beside a mountain stream a mile from camp, with no sign of man's handiwork visible save the few rails that form my seat, can not be expected to fit your correspondent well for the task of giving a graphic account of military operations for the last ten days. Right well pleased am I to know, however, that the tardiness of my pen will work no disadvantage to the readers of the Gazette, since a “relief” in the form of another of the knights of the quill has arrived and made this portion of the army his particular field. Yet, I know that there are some of the events that transpire among us, unimportant, perhaps, historically, but of much interest to many, which I may tell without repeating what may be better written by another.1

To make a little resume of the whole ten days, let us go back to Kingston, May twenty-second--the date of my last letter. On that day portions of the army had advanced some miles beyond Kingston, and were skirmishing with the enemy; while Sherman's energy had completed the railroad to his army and had thrown forward twenty days rations, ready for a move without a base to begin next morning. But never perhaps was the saying that “large bodies move slowly,” more fully verified than to the troops which formed the rear guard of McPherson's command that day. Early in the morning orders to be ready at a moment's notice were given, but the morning wore away and left the troops lying as the sunrise found them. Gladly, at noon, was the sound to fall in heard. Let the weather be as it may, there is nothing so perplexing and so troublesome as a night march; no soldiers likes to have it in prospect. Appearances, however, all deceive in a soldier's life. Doomed to a night march, it was of no avail that orders came early. It required just so many hours to get the immense wagon train in line, and the rear guard could not go until that was done. It was actually sunset when the last of the troops filed out of Kingston. A night march of course followed, and one of the most unpleasant imaginable. Following the trains would certainly wear the patience of the most patient. A movement forward of ten feet, then a halt of two minutes, another move, and another halt ad infinitum made up the order of march. Plunging into gutters, tumbling over rocks and stumps, and irregularities that could not be distinguished for the darkness, is it any wonder that the poor soldier dreads a night march? Then, on this particular occasion, the dust was inches in depth; penetrating every crevice and fold, and covering the whole man with its dirty gray mist, it is the most disagreeable element, save gunpowder, with which the soldier has to contend.

This is the history of the first night's march of six miles or eight across the Etowah river, on the Van Wert road.

As it had been at Dalton, so it was to be at the Etowah. McPherson, Sherman's right-hand man, was to take the right and flank the position, not only of Etowah but of Altoona. Hence his movement by the Van Wert road, crossing the Etowah at a bridge a few miles from Kingston, which the rebels did not destroy. On the twenty-fourth his command encamped at Van Wert, a little village twenty miles southwest of Kingston, and apparently far away from any military operations. From this place the line of march was changed to the southeast, pointing towards Dallas. On the twenty-sixth, at four P. M., after slight skirmishing, McPherson's command and Jefferson C. Davis' division of the Fourteenth corps, marched by different roads simultaneously into Dallas, the county seat of Paulding county. This is some thirty miles northwest of Atlanta, and nearly twenty miles west of Marietta, the nearest point on the railroad. It was, to many, a source of considerable surprise to find next morning the whole rebel army confronting us, that is confronting Sherman, who was now about ready to form line.

All day of the twenty-seventh was most busily occupied in getting into position. General Fuller's, Colonel Rice's, and Colonel Sprague's brigades, were fiercely engaged all day in as heavy and severe a skirmish as I ever witnessed. Night found them, however, in good position, a half a mile further advanced than they were in the morning. In this skirmish the Twenty-seventh Ohio lost Captain Sawyer, killed, and Lieutenant De Bote, wounded. The Sixty-sixth Indiana lost Captain H. S. McRae, wounded, besides a number of enlisted men. The Sixty-sixth Illinois, formerly known as Birge's sharpshooters, were at the front, and lost quite heavily. The Fifteenth corps, which took position on the right of the Sixteenth, also lost heavily. A portion of the Ninth Iowa was surprised and captured at breakfast.

At night the whole line threw up slight works, and, as well as it could be done, amid a continual popping of skirmishers' guns, the men rested.

All day of the twenty-eighth there had been a continuous rattle of musketry, interspersed with an occasional shot from artillery, which kept a slow procession of ambulances passing to and from the lines to convey the wounded to hospital. Toward evening an unusual activity among the rebels in front of Logan, who was on Dodge's right, appeared. Suddenly a force of infantry was seen hastening toward the rebel

1 See Document 8, page 24, ante.

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