Our force moved in three grand columns, sweeping the country for twenty miles. The rebel wounded and dead were scattered along the road and in the edges of the woods, where temporary hospitals had been established. Our surgeons had the rebel wounded conveyed to our own hospitals in the rear and cared for. At Resacca the rebel commissary left behind in his flight a considerable quantity of corn and meal, which was turned over to the hospitals, or given to the soldiers. While the fight was progressing on Saturday and Sunday at Sugar Creek, McPherson was engaged in shelling Resacca, to interrupt the passage of the rebel army, which, late in the day, was observed to be moving in long and unbroken trains. The houses, stores, depot buildings, telegraph office, were riddled by the exploding shells and round shot, and the place rendered very uncomfortable. The inhabitants, like most of the people from Dalton and Tilton, took the train with their household effects, provisions, etc., and went South. The few who remained stated that a massacre and destruction of the people was expected, from the statements of the rebel officers and men. The order for the army to fall back was captured from the rebel courier on his way from Johnston's headquarters, and the whole programme thus revealed to us. Taking the main road to Resacca, the enemy's rear passed the Coosawatchee on Sunday forenoon, and burned the railroad bridge. They also attempted, but failed, to destroy the trestle-bridge near it, which, with our pontoon, served an admirable purpose for crossing our artillery and ambulance train. Resacca was strongly fortified by earthworks commanding the road, which passes through a line of irregular hills, so as to enfilade the approach. Being in the bend of the river, which protects it on three sides, and with forts crowning all the prominent hills on each side of the road, as well as long lines of rifle-pits running zig-zag along the sides and bases of the undulating ground, it would have been next to impossible to have carried the place by assault without the greatest destruction to the attacking force. It might have been taken by overcoming, first, any force stationed on the south side, and then by laying siege to the place, and driving out the enemy by artillery at long range. It was evidently no part of the rebel programme to make a stand at Resacca. There was some necessary detention in crossing the river by the limited means provided, but before sunset the large portion of the forces, with the immense wagon train, were winding over the hills beyond Resacca, while the left wing was crossing the river at Field's Ferry, and going by the way of Newtown. Stragglers and deserters were picked up at every mile of the march; many of them purposely stopping behind and giving themselves up. The road was lined and thickly strewed with broken muskets, blankets, and clothing, which the retreating forces had thrown away to facilitate their flight. On Monday evening the rear-guard skirmished lightly with our advance, but as they were not pushed very hard, the fight was not a serious one. On Tuesday the centre column, which the rebels chiefly pursued, came up to and passed Calhoun, a quiet country town of about four hundred inhabitants, which possesses many attractions for a country residence. The houses indicated to some extent wealth and thrift; there were handsome gardens, shade trees, an abundance of flowers, and other evidences of refinement and comfort. The people had mostly followed the Army South. Three miles beyond, at the “Graves House,” the rebels made a determined stand, and our skirmishers, assisted by artillery, were engaged for over two hours in a spirited contest with the enemy, whose sharpshooters occupied the octagon cement house, which served them quite well for a fort. The Union skirmishers of General Howard's Fourth corps, Newton's division, occupied rail barricades and trees, behind which they had partial shelter while peppering away at the enemy. An accident occurred here from the premature bursting of a shell fired from the Sixth Ohio battery, which killed six of our own men and wounded several others. There is too much of this defective ammunition among our ordnance stores. Who is in fault? We had but few casualties, and went into camp on the ground, the heavens being lighted up by the flames of burning buildings on the Saxton estate, where the fight had occurred. General Thomas' and General Howard's headquarters were at the front. Early Wednesday morning the army was again in motion, the Fourth corps leading the way. The estate where the rebels had made their stand, and which the rebel Generals had occupied for their headquarters, was a fine cotton farm, with all the buildings, presses, gins, etc., attached. The dwelling was also a good one, of quite large dimensions. The soldiers were permitted to rifle it of the old rags and rubbish left by the occupants, and then to set it on fire, with all the other buildings on the estate — a bad use to make of an enemy's property, and a very foolish one, if it were not our own by the treasonable act of the owner. How far this vandalism is to be tolerated remains to be seen. The owners were undoubtedly rebels, as shown by the letters found upon the premises, but has the army of the Union come into Georgia to burn all rebel property, and to lay waste the country? and if not, why this incendiary beginning? The country becomes more open as we advance. There are finely cultivated fields of corn and wheat. Some of the houses are large, with ample shaded grounds, with cotton-presses, barns, and other evidences of wealth. We have passed through the poor North Georgia
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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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