previous next

[61] for special instances of daring, and merit, but could find none, so admirable was the behavior of all alike. It was a special pleasure of the officers to speak of the magnificent enthusiasm with which the men “went in,” and the steadiness they exhibited under the galling fire which met them. General Thomas publicly declared that he had not at any time seen men bear themselves more bravely than these. Let this verdict suffice for every one who is anxious for the good name of the Twentieth corps.

Few prisoners were taken on either side. The loss on our side was probably greater than that of the enemy, amounting to about one thousand five hundred killed, wounded, and missing. The substantial fruits of the day's work are a gain of two miles of ground, giving us a favorable position, two pieces of artillery, and a better arrangement of the line for subsequent operations.

The fighting was conducted by General Hooker on his favorite plan, and with his wonted dash and audacity. At one time the Second division was exposed alone to the attack of the whole rebel force; but the General, who was, as always, at every right place at the right time, instead of halting for assistance to arrive, or falling back, which would have insured an attack and rout, dashed the division headlong against the rebels, and, what with the belief this inspired in them of a larger force, and the stun and panic of the shock, drove them before him at will. Supreme daring in this case was supreme safety. The General's peculiar and admirable tactics were here clearly shown. Forming the men in several lines of battle, he pushes them rapidly on by a continual sort of a revolution. As the front line becomes exhausted, it is halted, and the extreme rear is hurried to the front, which is thus kept constantly fresh.

Night put an end to the firing, but all night trains and ambulances and artillery were rumbling to and fro, troops were marching into line, and everything gave promise of stern work on the morrow. But it did not come. The woods were thick, the fortifications had all to be built, the lines of troops were immensely long, winding off to the left and right into their places, and so the whole of May twenty-six passed away, and nothing was accomplished save getting into position. But this was much, far more than one who has not seen it with his own eyes can believe. A continuous front of many miles in extent, in dense forests, over creeks and hills and valleys, with only a few rugged and narrow parallel roads, out of which to deliver the huge masses of men and guns, is not the creation of an hour, nor of a day. But during the night a part of the Fourth corps had come up and gone in to the left, and in the morning Gibson's brigade (Willich's old) was thrown out as skirmishers. During the day, the Twenty-third and part of the Fourteenth corps advanced to the extreme left, but General McPherson failed to come up on the right, as was expected. Scattering shots of musketry flew either way all day, and two or three batteries were planted on a commanding ridge of ground, which failed to elicit any reply from the other side, besides an occasional angry shell. The rebels were chary of their powder, saving it for sterner uses, and anxious to conceal their pieces that they might again employ them at a range of their own choosing, as on the day before. They were very quiet, and concealed themselves in the thick undergrowth to such an extent that our gunners must fire pretty much at random, and seek to discover their whereabouts. Evidently they had not completed their preparations, had not yet received all the reinforcements they expected, and felt that they could afford to bide their time while their skirmishers were harassing ours, and their silence was emptying our caissons to no purpose, till every-thing was well ready. Some prisoners brought in in the evening, and examined rigorously and apart, disclosed the fact that they had received reinforcements from Florida, and now claimed an effective strength of seventy thousand. As their stories agreed, it was concluded that reinforcements had probably arrived, but not in such numbers as represented. It was accordingly expected that the next day would see a general engagement; but either they or we were not even yet ready. The skirmishing was sharp and continuous, but neither party seemed to advance or retreat. A few of the rebel rifle-pits were carried, and in the evening the lines got afoul of each other, and a small squad of prisoners was brought in. The undergrowth, which covers the whole face of the ground, prevents the lines from seeing each other till very close, consequently many of the wounds are very severe. About a hundred may be set down as the day's losses along a front of three miles.

May 27.
The expectations of the day before were not destined to be realized, for operations on both sides were confined to a desultory artillery practice, fortifying and manoeuvring into better positions. McPherson was expected to have closed up the gap on the right, and his failure, for some reason, to do so, postponed still further an active work of any magnitude. A general attack was to have been made early in the day, but with the whole right wing floating loose and detached, it was utterly impossible. General Jeff. C. Davis' division of the Fourteenth corps, however, occupied Dallas, and, late in the evening, intelligence arrived that McPherson had reported himself on Davis' right, and that the latter had “side stepped” to the left, so as to fill up the gap intervening between himself and the Twentieth corps. On the right, then, all was as it should be. On the left, also, connection was made between Schofield and the three infantry divisions under Elliott, commanded by Murray (Kilpatrick's division), Garrard, and Ed. McCook, General McCook connecting with the infantry. General Stoneman had an independent command, also, on the immediate left. At day-light

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Dallas, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
McPherson (3)
Edward McCook (2)
Jefferson C. Davis (2)
Willich (1)
George H. Thomas (1)
George Stoneman (1)
J. M. Schofield (1)
Murray (1)
J. Kilpatrick (1)
Joe Hooker (1)
Garrard (1)
Elliott (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 27th (1)
May 26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: