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[361] and then move his command below Florence to await further orders. At the same time General Morgan was directed to return to Athens.

Pending these operations in Tennessee, the whole aspect of affairs about Atlanta had under-gone a change. Hood had crossed the Chattahoochee river, and had sent one corps of his army to destroy the railroad between Allatoona and Marietta, which he had effectually accomplished for a distance of over twenty miles, interrupting all communication between the forces in Tennessee, and the main army with General Sherman in Georgia. He then moved around south of Rome, to the west side of the Coosa river, and taking a north-easterly course, marched toward Summerville and Lafayette, threatening Chattanooga and Bridgeport.

The following dispositions were made on the eleventh: Croxton's cavalry brigade was to move to some point sufficiently near his supplies at Athens, and not too far removed from the Tennessee river to protect its crossings from Decatur down as far as Eastport. Morgan's division of the Fourteenth corps to move without delay from Athens to Chattanooga by rail, and Steedman's command following Morgan's from Decatur to Bridgeport. General Rousseau's troops were recalled from below Florence, and ordered to concentrate at Athens without delay. The district of Northern Alabama, comprising the posts of Decatur, Huntsville, Stevenson, and intermediate points, was left with its ordinary garrisons, and our whole attention turned toward Hood's movements in Northern Georgia.

On the twelfth the enemy's cavalry attacked Resaca, but the place was resolutely held by Watkins' brigade of cavalry, and the railroad bridge saved from destruction. The same day Brigadier-General Wagner reported from Chattanooga the enemy's cavalry, two hundred and fifty strong, had occupied Lafayette, Georgia, whereupon directions were sent him to call in the detachments at Tunnel Hill, Ringgold, and intermediate points along the railroad between there and Chattanooga, and quietly make preparations to defend his post. On the thirteenth, one corps of Hood's army appeared in front of Dalton, and a summons to surrender, signed by Hood in person, was sent in to Colonel Johnson, Forty-fourth United States colored troops, commanding the garrison. Colonel Johnson being convinced of the uselessness of contending against so overwhelming a force of the enemy, and knowing there was no succor at hand, complied with the demand.

On the fourteenth,Morgan's division reached Chattanooga, and General Steedman's command arrived at Bridgeport, where he received orders to proceed to Chattanooga.

After remaining at Dalton one day, during which he destroyed about five miles of railroad, the enemy moved off to the westward, through Nickajack Gap, to rejoin the remainder of Hood's army near Summerville, to which point he had been followed by General Sherman with the Fourth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Seventeenth corps, the Twentieth corps having been left behind at Atlanta to hold the place.

In compliance with instructions from Major-General Sherman, Morgan's division, of the Fourteenth corps, and Wagner's, of the Fourth, were sent from Chattanooga to rejoin their respective commands at Summerville.

A force of one thousand five hundred men was set to work, under the direction of Colonel W. W. Wright, Chief Engineer United States Military Railroads, to repair the railroad south of Chattanooga, there being twenty-four miles of rails and ties totally destroyed, besides several important bridges carried away by high water; yet with characteristic energy on the part of Colonel Wright and Captain J. C. Van Duzer, Superintendent of Military Telegraph, the repairs were rapidly carried forward. Telegraphic communication with Atlanta was restored on the twenty-first, and trains commenced running regularly on the twenty-eighth. On the latter date the enemy was at Gadsden, Alabama, while General Sherman's forces were at Gaylesville, both armies remaining inactive and watchful of the other's movements. While at the latter place Special Field Order No. 105, Military Division of the Mississippi, was issued by General Sherman, and the substance of it sent to me by telegraph, as follows:

In the event of military movements or the accidents of war separating the general in command from his military division, Major-General George H. Thomas, commanding the Department of the Cumberland, will exercise command over all the troops and garrisons not absolutely in the presence of the general-in-chief.

A written communication received a few days previous, in which I was instructed to remain in Tennessee and defend the line of the Tennessee river, gave a detailed account of his plans for a campaign into the heart of Georgia. The Fourteenth and Twentieth corps of my command were to go with General Sherman, the Fourth corps remaining with me in Tennessee. My instructions were to pursue the enemy if he followed General Sherman's column, but in any event to hold Tennessee. On the twenty-sixth the enemy's infantry made its appearance in strong force in front of Decatur, Alabama, and during the afternoon attacked the garrison, but not vigorously, and without effect. Reinforcements amounting to two full regiments were sent from Chattanooga to General Granger at that point, and he was directed to bold his post at all hazards. On the twenty-seventh the enemy commenced intrenching his position around Decatur, working steadily throughout the day and skirmishing continually, but no artillery was used. At night their camp-fires showed a heavy force. Under cover of the darkness and with a strong column, the enemy drove in our pickets and established a line of rifle-pits within five hundred yards of the town. On the twenty-eighth a sortie was made by a part of the garrison, which advanced under cover of the

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