on until they had passed the crest of the little elevation, when a storm of shell from out battery, and a blinding shower of bullets from the First brigade, brought terror into their ranks. Their line halted — then wavered — rallied — wavered again, and then melted away, leaving traces of its position by the blood of the wounded and the bodies of the slain. During this little affair — as pretty an engagement as you ever saw depicted on paper — the Second brigade, Colonel Burke, was in line along the river bank, and, although only skirmishers were actually engaged, yet many of the men could not repress their desire to “have a pop,” and consequently a considerable little volley was sent. The rebel lines were near enough for some of the balls to reach us. One man, of the Sixty-sixth Illinois, was killed here, and Color Sergeant John A. Wilson, Eighty-first Ohio, was wounded while defiantly waving his flag in the face of the foe. With this the enemy withdrew, leaving their dead and wounded on the field. Among them was Captain Whitaker, commanding a battery of artillery. Battle of Rome Cross Roads. The remainder of General Dodge's command was immediately ordered up, but could not arrive until some time the next day; consequently, the Second division built temporary works to guard against surprise in the night, and waited. It was ten o'clock of Monday when General Sweeney's division started towards Calhoun. General Veatch's division was considerably in the rear. At the distance of a mile or two a strong defensive position was found evacuated, showing that retreat was in progress. About one o'clock our advance became engaged. At the same time General Dodge arrived, having ridden all the way from Resacca, and immediately set about putting his command in position. The First brigade was formed on the left of the road, facing eastwardly, the Third brigade on the right of the First, forming the centre, facing north-east, and on the right of the Third was the Second, facing nearly north. Thus disposed, a heavy line of skirmishers was sent out to ascertain the position of the enemy. It was soon found that their line was formed to protect a road a little in the rear of what is known as the Rome road, which crossed the Calhoun road a little in advance of the right of the Second brigade. Along this back road a heavy train of wagons was passing, and it was important that it should be well guarded. Cleburne's and Walker's divisions, the best of Johnston's army, were detailed for this duty, and were strongly posted. Of course, General McPherson, who was also present, did not desire to engage these troops until the remainder or a portion of the rest of his command should come up. General Veatch's division and the Fifteenth corps were coming; consequently orders were given to not press an engagement. Firing all along the skirmish line was quite brisk, but especially on the right of the entire line, which was bent back so as to cover the flank and also conform to the enemy's line in front of the Rome road. Two hours of skirmishing ensued, with an occasional shot from our batteries, when our boys on the right, becoming impatient, advanced and drove the rebel line beyond the Rome road. This portion of our skirmish line was composed of three companies of the Sixty-sixth Illinois, under command of Captain George A. Taylor, of Lima, Ohio. Brave as the bravest, and always impetuous, this officer, on reaching the Rome road and perceiving a party of rebels retreating in that direction, took four or five men with him and started in pursuit. Reckless of life, he followed until suddenly a volley from a strong line in ambush burst upon him, and he fell dead-shot through the brain. His men could not bear off his body, and it was left to rebel magnanimity. When found next morning, his boots, pants, hat, money, watch, and ring, were gone, and the buttons were cut from his coat. He was decently interred by the men of his regiment, as soon as possible next day. The death of Captain Taylor had such a disheartening effect on his men that they began to yield gradually the ground they had gained. Almost the entire regiment of sharpshooters (One Hundred and Sixty-sixth Illinois) was deployed as skirmishers, and several companies of the Eighty-first Ohio were sent out to support. Still, the Fourth division did not come up, and we could not attack. Perceiving this, and perhaps thinking we were weak, the enemy began to press our lines. Stronger and stronger came the firing on the right, until it became evident their attack would be there. Colonel Burke went forward to learn, as well as possible, the ground and the position of the enemy. It was almost all a dense forest, thickly covered with pine brush, and it was impossible to learn anything except by hearing. Both General McPherson and General Dodge now came to the right, and the former ordered the right to fall back. Although the enemy was hidden from view and the balls striking among the trees, General Dodge rode forward to the advanced line and gave directions in person as to its position. The attack was coming on the right flank of the Second brigade. The Sixty-sixth Illinois was scattered along a mile of skirmish line; the Eighty-first Ohio was divided into three battalions, under Lieutenant-Colonel Adams, Major Evans, and Captain Hill, and each battalion separated from the others. The Twelfth Illinois, still on the left of the Eighty-first, was almost entire, only one or two companies out skirmishing. A change of front by the battalions of the Eighty-first Ohio, was ordered so as to face towards the Rome road. Hardly was this done when the rebels advanced in force on the right battalion of the Eighty-first Ohio, under Captain Hill, and were pressing it hard when the centre battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel
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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 .
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