previous next

[48] corps, and General M. S. Hascall appointed in his place. The latter commander has steadily progressed in the confidence and esteem of the army since he came to the Department of the Ohio.

I have just seen a copy of the Confederacy, published at Atlanta, May fifteen, which contains an editorial article copied from the Chicago Times of April thirty, giving the exact strength of General Steele's army in Louisiana, the position of his forces, and the exact distance of his army from his base of supplies; also hinting that small reinforcements of Price would be able to overwhelm and capture his whole command. Here is “liberty of the press” with a vengeance.

Battle of Sugar Valley, or Resacca.

The heaviest fighting of the campaign has taken place to-day, and though it was indecisive, we have cause to be thankful at the results.

Our line, as formed last night, was in the form of a semicircle, to the north-west of Sugar Valley, while the Oostenaula River completes the circle on the south-east. Sugar Valley is a fertile little plain of about ten square miles in size, much broken by hills, which at this season of the year are covered by a dense undergrowth of small trees and vines, rendering them very difficult to penetrate. It was in this valley, between the projected Rome and Dalton Railroad and the river that encircles Resacca and Tilton, that the enemy made a stand after being closely pressed on his retreat from Dalton. From our centre to the river, the distance this morning was about seven miles. Our line extends completely around the valley, McPherson's right resting on the river near its junction with the Oothkalaga Creek, or Calhoun, while the left strikes the river north of Tilton, near the junction of the river with Swamp Creek, that takes its rise in the hills of Sugar Valley. Lick and Camp creeks also burst out from the hills in the valley and empty their waters into the Oostenaula River, which is very broad and deep, but can be forded, when the water is low, at six points. The above is as intelligible a description of the field as can be given without the aid of a map; and now for the opening of the ball.

As I have already said, our line was formed in a half circle, extending from the river on the left to a point on the river near Calhoun. The corps occupied positions in the line as follows, extending from right to left: first, McPherson; second, Hooker; third, Palmer; fourth, Schofield; fifth, Howard.

Skirmishing commenced early in the morning, and many prisoners were brought in as the result, although the attack made by us was but faintly responded to. Skirmishing continued, with occasional truces, lasting from ten to thirty minutes, all the morning. Meantime our General officers were not idle. Generals Sherman and Thomas, with their indefatigable corps commanders, rode along the line with their staffs, personally superintending the parking of ambulances and ammunition trains, and assigning batteries to positions where they could be of the most service in the event of a general engagement.

At nine o'clock General Schofield was ordered to withdraw his corps from the part of the line between Palmer and Hooker, and take a new position on the left of Newton's division of the Fourth corps. Palmer closed up the gap between his left and Newton, and Judah's and Cox's divisions of Schofield's corps came up in the place assigned to them. Hovey's brigade of the Second corps was left in reserve, and did not participate in the battle of to-day. By some mistake in the giving or reception of the order, General Cox's division failed to get up in time, and Judah and the force on his right advanced upon the enemy, thus leaving a gap of half a mile between Judah's left and Stanley's right, which was promptly filled by cavalry. Considerable confusion followed the announcement of the existence of this gap, and staff officers in vain rode for hours in search of Cox's division through the thick underbrush in which our line was formed. It was lost, and staff officers reported that General Schofield could obtain no intelligence from it.

General Judah, just before noon, received an order from General Schofield to open the attack, and though his left flank was liable at any moment to be turned, he informed General Schofield of the fact, and at once moved forward upon the enemy's skirmishers. The boys moved rapidly through the vines and shrubbery, down the valley, drove the enemy before them, and with a cheer crossed the deep gorge near which the enemy had thrown up strong breastworks commanding the valley. The enemy opened a very destructive fire, and for half an hour the battle was a bloody one, the main lines being within a few yards of each other. The enemy at once opened a destructive fire from their artillery, which the brave division stood for some time, vainly striving by superhuman efforts to carry the breastworks. It was repulsed after a gallant effort, and retired into the valley in disorder. We had not yet got up on the left, and no artillery support was at hand. Nevertheless, General Judah resolved not to retire without one more effort. Collecting together the fragments of his broken but not discouraged regiments, a new line was hastily formed, and the whole division was just in the act of advancing in a charge which all felt would have put it in possession of the enemy's line of works, when the division was relieved by General Newton's division of the Eleventh corps. In the meantime the gap in the line was filled, Cox took his position, and for an hour the incessant roll of the musketry, as volley after volley was poured into the ranks of the enemy, and as vigorously returned, told that the conflict was a desperate one. Artillery fire was delivered into the enemy's ranks rapidly, and with excellent

Creative Commons License
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.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. M. Schofield (6)
Judah (5)
C. C. Cox (4)
William J. Palmer (3)
Newton (3)
McPherson (2)
Joe Hooker (2)
Tilton (1)
George H. Thomas (1)
F. Steele (1)
D. S. Stanley (1)
W. T. Sherman (1)
J. H. Price (1)
O. O. Howard (1)
Hovey (1)
M. S. Hascall (1)
James M. Calhoun (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 15th (1)
April 30th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: