Adams, joined it and checked the advance. The Twelfth Illinois was hurried forward to fill the gap now made between Colonel Adams and Major Evans, who, with the left battalion of the Eighty-first, was ordered to hold that valley until further orders. Before the Twelfth got into position, the rebel line had so overlapped the right of the Eighty-first Ohio, that it was compelled to fall back a short distance, which was done in good order, and a position taken. But by this time Major Evans perceived a line advancing upon him, and relying on the tried gallantry of his command, without stopping to think how many were in his front, he ordered a charge. With a cheer which I wish might ring in every disloyal ear in the North, the line moved forward like one man, stopping for no obstacles. Volley after volley went rattling and thundering through the rebel ranks as the line kept still advancing. By this time, too, the Twelfth got in position on the right, and a volley from them told the rebel Generals that our commanders understood their business. Back, back, fell the rebels, and on sped the gallant Second brigade. Even when the rebel line was passed, and their right overlapped our left, there was no pause; but two companies, quickly changing front and having advantage of position, drove them like sheep before them. In the meantime the Third brigade, commanded by Colonel Bane, was menaced. A party of sharpshooters attempted to capture one of his batteries, which was well forward. The battery had to be withdrawn. A few shells were thrown directly upon or near the house where General McPherson and General Dodge and staff were stopping, doing no more damage than causing a little sensation among the glittering officers, and cutting off a horse's tail. As it was now late, and the Second brigade had driven the enemy in confusion, the order was given to withdraw it, and relieve the whole division with the Fourth division, which had just come up. The withdrawal was made in excellent order, and so confused was the enemy that not a shot was fired as the brigade retired. Colonel Burke was in the front from the beginning. Early in the engagement a ball struck his left leg below the knee, and shattered the bone, then penetrated through his horse. The horse was not killed instantly, and the Colonel rode up to Lieutenant-Colonel Adams, Eighty-first Ohio, and quietly remarking that he was wounded, turned over the command to him and rode away. His leg had to be amputated. During the short time that Colonel Burke has been in command of the brigade, he has endeared himself to his entire command by his gentlemanly courtesy and uniform kindness. By his bearing in the field, every soldier who knew him was constrained to place the fullest confidence in him. An important and responsible command (that of the Second brigade) devolves by this casualty upon Lieutenant-Colonel R. N. Adams, Eighty-first Ohio. It was a matter of wonder, after the engagement, to ascertain that the loss in action did not exceed seventy-five. It could only be accounted for by the fact that the rebels fired too high, their balls striking always above our heads. The rebel loss in killed was much greater than ours, though it was impossible to ascertain it correctly. I could not imagine a more gallant charge made with more fearful courage and confidence than that made by Colonel Burke's brigade through that dense forest. Heedless alike of dangers seen and unseen, every man felt himself a host, and pressed forward with as much condence of success as if the battle was over and the victory already won. Nothing short of annihilation could resist them. When they learned afterwards that they had fought the flower of the rebel army, their victory grew the brighter, and they felt certain of the result when the final contest shall come. Retreat and Pursuit. That heading tells the rest of my story. No man can tell you now where General Sherman's army has been since Monday last, unless the General himself. Every road, every field, every by-path, day and night, has been thronged and crowded by the hot pursuit of this great army. It has been a grand charge forward of men, horses, artillery, and trains — the earth has trembled with the vast movement. All the wonderful energy and restlessness of its great leader seem to be instilled into every part of the army, and with one mind and one purpose everything goes forward. Nobody doubts the result; every one knows it will be glorious. With the exception of here and there a rich plateau or valley, the country from Calhoun to Kingston is a barren pine-covered wilderness. At Adairsville there is a long, fertile strip of country. Here the soil is good in some places, but covered with broken stone. Only here and there, at long intervals, do we see a good farmhouse or country residence. Citizens are more scarce than houses. Everybody is gone. I have seen but one slave man in the State of Georgia. In the operations so far, General Dodge's command has taken one hundred prisoners. Of these thirty-two were captured by Colonel Burke's brigade, twenty-two of whom were taken by a party of not more than fifty, at the first crossing of the Oostenaula, on the fourteenth. After the battle of the sixteenth, one rebel found two or three of our men lost, and volunteered to show them back to our camp. They trusted him, and he was faithful. He gave himself up as a deserter.
the front military division of the Mississippi, May 21, 1864.On Monday, immediately after the rebel army had evacuated its position at Sugar. Grove, the Union army was mobilized, and at noon was on the move in pursuit of the retreating rebels.