previous next

[310] his force to escape back while he held the enemy in check with the remainder, about seven hundred men, and a section of light guns. One brigade, Colonel Adams, came in almost intact. Another, commanded by Colonel Capron, was surprised on the way back and scattered, many were captured and killed, and the balance got in mostly unarmed and afoot, and the General himself surrendered his small command, and is now a prisoner at Macon. His mistake was in not making the first concentration with Generals McCook and Garrard near Lovejoy's, according to his orders, which is yet unexplained.

General McCook, in the execution of his part, went down the west bank of the Chattahoochee to near Rivertown, where he laid a pontoon bridge with which he was provided, crossed his command, and moved rapidly on Palmetto station of the West Point road, where he tore up a section of track, leaving a regiment to create a diversion toward Campbelltown, which regiment fulfilled its duty, and returned to camp by way of, and escorting back, the pontoon-bridge train. General McCook then rapidly moved to Fayetteville, where he found a large number of the wagons belonging to the rebel army in Atlanta. These he burned to the number of five hundred, killing eight hundred mules, and carrying along others, and taking two hundred and fifty prisoners, mostly quartermasters and men belonging to the trains. He then pushed for the railroad, reaching it at Lovejoy station at the time appointed. He burned the depot, tore up a section of the road, and continued to work until forced to leave off to defend himself against an accumulating force of the enemy. He could hear nothing of General Stoneman, and finding his progress east too strongly opposed, he moved south and west, and reaching Newnan, on the West Point road, where he encountered an infantry force coming from Mississippi to Atlanta, which had been stopped by the break he had made at Palmetto. This force, with the pursuing cavalry, hemmed him in, and forced him to fight. He was compelled to drop his prisoners and captures, and cut his way out, losing some five hundred officers and men, among them a most valuable officer, Colonel Harrison, who, when fighting his men as skirmishers on foot, was overcome and made prisoner, and is now at Macon. He cut his way out, reached the Chattahoochee, crossed and got to Marietta, without further loss.

General McCook is entitled to much credit for thus saving his command, which was endangered by the failure of General Stoneman to reach Lovejoy's. But on the whole, the cavalry raid is not deemed a success, for the real purpose was to break the enemy's communications, which, though done, was on so limited a scale, that I knew the damages would soon be repaired.

Pursuant to the general plan the Army of the Tennessee drew out of its lines near the Decatur road during the night of July twenty-sixth, and on the twenty-seventh moved behind the rest of the army to Proctor's creek, and south, to prolong our line due south, facing east. On that day, by appointment of the President of the United States, Major-General Howard assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee, and had the general supervision of the movement, which was made en echelon, General Dodge's corps, Sixteenth, on the left, nearest the enemy, General Blair's corps, Seventeenth, next to come up on its right, and General Logan's corps, Fifteenth, to come up on its right, and refused as a flank, the whole to gain as much ground due south from the flank already established on Proctor's creek as was consistent with a proper strength. General Dodge's men got into line in the evening of the twenty-seventh, and General Blair's came into line on his right early on the morning of the twenty-eighth, his right reaching an old meeting-house called Ezra Church, near some large open fields by the poor-house, on a road known as the Bell's ferry or Lickskillet road. Here the Fifteenth corps, General Logan's, joined on and refused along a ridge well wooded, which partially commanded a view over the same fields. About ten A. M., all the army was in position, and the men were busy in throwing up the accustomed piles of rails and logs, which after awhile assumed the form of a parapet. The skill and rapidity with which our men construct them is wonderful, and is something new in the art of war. I rode along his whole line about that time, and as I approached Ezra Church there was considerable artillery firing, enfilading the road in which I was riding, killing an orderly's horse just behind my staff. I struck across an open field to where General Howard was standing in the rear of the Fifteeenth corps, and walked up to the ridge with General Morgan L. Smith, to see if the battery which enfiladed the main road and line of rail-piles could not be disposed of, and heard General Smith give the necessary orders for the deployment of one regiment forward and another to make a circuit to the right, when I returned to where General Howard was, and remained there until twelve o'clock. During this time there was nothing to indicate serious battle save the shelling by one, or at most two, batteries from beyond the large field in front of the Fifteenth corps.

Wishing to be well prepared to defeat the enemy if he repeated his game of the twenty-second, I had, the night before, ordered General Davis' division of General Palmer's corps, which, by the movements of the Army of the Tennessee, had been left, as it were, in reserve, to move down to Turner's ferry, and thence to ward Whitehall or East Point, aiming to reach the flank of General Howard's new line, hoping that in case of an attack this division would in turn catch the attacking force in flank or rear at an unexpected moment. I explained it to General Howard, and bade him expect the arrival of such a force in case of battle. Indeed, I expected to hear the fire of its skirmishers by noon. General Davis was sick that day, and Brigadier General Morgan commanded the division which

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 26th (1)
28th (1)
27th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: