previous next

[63] suffering, is worthy of all praise. Cheerily, and even merrily, those who can do so, hop away to the rear on poles and sticks, or leaning on the shoulder of a comrade, and those who have fallen await the coming of the stretcher, and, in the hospital, their turn under the lance and the saw, quietly and without complaint. One poor fellow, whose life was swiftly running out in a great red stream, from a ghastly shell-wound which severed his leg, uttered no groan, nor did his check blanch, though he knew too well that death was but a few hours off.

four miles northeast of Dalton, Ga., May 28, 1864.
In my last letter I gave you a brief account of the operations of this army up to the twenty-seventh, including the affairs of Generals Hooker and Wood--battles they would have been in the younger days of the war, but not now — and will now continue it to date.

At the time of General Wood's fight with the enemy, the lines of battle had been completed, though since modified, and were after the following order: The right resting on, and extending a mile beyond Dallas, under McPherson, was composed of the commands of Generals Logan, Dodge, and Jeff. C. Davis. Its flank was protected by Garrard's cavalry. Next in order, to the left, were Generals Hooker, Howard, and Johnson, forming the centre, with General Schofield on the left, and the flank covered by the cavalry of Generals Stoneman, McCook, and Kilpatrick. These forces were drawn out in an irregular line, running north-east and south-west, and presenting a front of twelve or four-teen miles. The location was on the southern spurs of the Allatoona range of hills, across a continuous succession of hills and valleys, forming a very broken surface, and the whole — except now and then a cleared field — covered with heavy pine and oak forests. Through this range, down into the open country beyond, pass several roads which we wish to pass over, and which the rebels intend to dispute by planting artillery on the flanking hills. Military men say they occupy a strong position; one which it will be wasteful of human life to attempt to carry by straight work. Such, then, being the position, and the rebels having felt our strength in the centre, in resisting General Hooker's advance, and having found that our line was not easily to be broken at that point, next made an attempt to break over the lines on the left, which attempt it cost the unfortunate division of Wood so many men to resist. The exact loss, so far as ascertained, of the division, and Scribner's brigade, which assisted on the left, was one thousand six hundred and ten. But many were wounded who fell into the possession of the rebels, as did nearly all the dead, so hard were our forces pressed. Some of the stretcher-bearers, even, were captured as they attempted to push too far out in the prosecution of their humane work. Batteries were at length planted which replied to the enemy's fire, and occasional shells were pitched into our camp all night, though the enemy has not attempted anything since upon the left. This affair, it will be remembered, occurred on the evening of the twenty-seventh of May. On the evening of the next day they made a similar attempt to turn our right flank, under McPherson. About half-past 4 in the afternoon, after having vigorously shelled our position for three-quarters of an hour, they made a simultaneous assault upon the works of the Fifteenth corps and the left wing of the Sixteenth, forming an unbroken front of more than a mile in extent. The Fifteenth corps, under command of General John A. Logan, formed the right of the line, and the left wing of the Sixteenth corps, under command of General Dodge, was posted on the left. The assault was one of the most furious and persistent yet made in the campaign. It was made by the corps of Hardee, supposed to be about twenty-three thousand strong, all of them seasoned veterans, and fighting with the utmost obstinacy. They rushed impetuously forward under a withering fire from our musketry, until many of them were within twenty feet of our breastworks. Five of their color-bearers were found dead in their places at that distance from our front. Fifty-four dead rebels were counted lying on the ground directly in front of one regiment, the Sixty-sixth Indiana. After they had withdrawn from the bloody field, our forces had buried three hundred of their dead, and there were yet many more, when they were ordered by the rebels, with curses, to desist, and our stretcher-bearers were at once fired upon. What better evidences than the above of the bravery, and at the same time of the barbarity of the rebels, could be asked? Yet it was all unavailing. Our forces stood like a wall, and it was to the audacious rebels a wall of devouring fire. General Logan depended almost entirely on musketry for repelling the attack, since he had few pieces in position, and fewer still (four) were enabled, from the nature of the ground, to play on the enemy. He had not yet completed the breastworks, even, but only got them in readiness on the summits of the hills and extended a little way down the sides, so that on a good portion of the front the men fought face to face, with only their good muskets for a defence. But Logan himself was a host Riding along the entire line, with an electric word for each brave regiment, swinging his hat and cheering where the bullets were thickest, his strong voice rising high above the roar of the fight, the splendid enthusiasm of the man inspired the troops with like temper, if such inspiration were needed, and insured their invincibility, which was never for a moment doubtful. “They were more than we,” said the General, “but we can whip them every time — every fifteen minutes a day.” And he is right, so long as himself is included in the number. With such a leader, the men who compose the Army of the West can accomplish almost miracles.

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.
Dalton, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)
Dallas, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
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 28th, 1864 AD (1)
May 27th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: