had marched early for Turner's ferry, but many of the roads laid down on our maps did not exist at all, and General Morgan was delayed thereby. I rode back to make more particular inquiries as to this division, and had just reached General Davis' headquarters at Proctor's creek when I heard musketry open heavily on the right. The enemy had come out of Atlanta by the Bell's ferry road, and formed his masses in the open fields behind a swell of ground, and after the artillery firing I have described, advanced in parallel lines directly against the Fifteenth corps, expecting to catch that flank in air. His advance was magnificent, but founded in an error that cost him sadly, for our men coolly and deliberately cut down his men, and spite of the efforts of the rebel officers, his ranks broke and fled. But they were rallied again and again, as often as six times at some points, and a few of the rebel officers and men reached our lines of rail piles only to be killed or hauled over as prisoners. These assaults occurred from noon until about four P. M., when the enemy disappeared, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands; as many as six hundred and forty-two dead were counted and buried, and still others are known to have been buried which were not counted by the regularly detailed burial-parties. General Logan on this occasion was conspicuous as on the twenty-second, his corps being chiefly engaged; but General Howard had drawn from the other corps, Sixteenth and Seventeenth, certain reserves which were near at hand but not used. Our entire loss is reported less than six hundred, whereas that of the enemy in killed and wounded was not less than five thousand. Had General Davis' division come up on the Bull's ferry road as I calculated, at any time before four o'clock, what was simply a complete repulse would have been a disastrous rout to the enemy; but I cannot attribute the failure to want of energy or intelligence, and must charge it, like many other things in this campaign, to the peculiar, tangled nature of the forests and absence of roads that would admit the rapid movement of troops. This affair terminated all efforts of the enemy to check our extension by the flank, which afterward proceeded with comparative ease, but he met our extensions to the south by rapid and well-constructed forts and rifle-pits, built between us and the railroad, to and below East Point, remaining perfectly on the defensive. Finding that the right flank of the Army of the Tennessee did not reach, I was forced to shift General Schofield to that flank also, and afterward General Palmer's corps of General Thomas' army. General Schofield moved from the left on the first of August, and General Palmer's corps followed at once, taking a line below Utoycreek, and General Schofield prolonged it to a point near East Point. The enemy made no offensive opposition, but watched our movements and extended his lines and parapets accordingly. About this time several changes in important commands occurred, which should be noted. General Hooker, offended that General Howard was preferred to him as the successor of General McPherson, resigned his command of the Twentieth cops, to which General Slocum was appointed; but he was at Vicksburg, and until he joined, the command of the corps devolved on General H. S. Williams, who handled it admirably. General Palmer also resigned the command of the Fourteenth corps, and General Jeff. C. Davis was appointed to his place. Major-General D. S. Stanley had succeeded General Howard in the command of the Fourth corps. From the second to the fifth we continued to extend to the right, demonstrating strongly on the left and along our whole line. General Reiley's brigade of General Cox's division, General Schofield's army, on the fifth, tried to break through the enemy's line about a mile below Utoy creek, but failed to carry the position, losing about four hundred men, who were caught in the entanglements and abatis; but the next day the position was turned by General Hascall, and General Schofield advanced his whole line close up to and facing the enemy below Utoy creek Still he did not gain the desired foothold on either the West Point or Macon railroad. The enemy's line at that time must have been nearly fifteen miles long, extending from near Decatur to below East Point. This he was enabled to do by the use of a large force of State militia, and his position was so masked by the shape of the ground that we were unable to discover the weak parts. I had become satisfied that, to reach the Macon road and thereby control the supplies for Atlanta, I would have to move the whole army; but before beginning I ordered down from Chattanooga four four and a half inch rifled guns, to try their effect. These arrived on the tenth, and were put to work night and day, and did execution on the city, causing frequent fires, and creating confusion, yet the enemy seemed determined to hold his forts, even if the city should be destroyed. On the sixteenth of August I made my Orders, number fifty-seven, prescribing the mode and mariner of executing the grand movement by the right flank, to begin on the eighteenth. This movement contemplated the withdrawal of the Twentieth corps, General Williams, to the intrenched position at the Chattahoochee bridge, and the march of the main army to the West Point railroad, near Fairburn, and afterward to the Macon road, at or near Jonesboroa, with our wagons loaded with provisions for fifteen days. About the time of the publication of these orders I learned that Wheeler, with a large mounted force of the enemy, variously estimated from six thousand to ten thousand men, had passed around by the east and north, and had made his appearance on our lines of communication near Adairsville and had succeeded in capturing nine hundred of our beef cattle, and had made a break of the railroad
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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.