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[317]

On the 22d of June, Hood, on the left, was involved in a bloody fight with troops of Hooker and Schofield. Hood reported that Hindman and Stevenson had been attacked, while Sherman reported that Hood suddenly sallied and opened the fight. It seems from the testimony of officers and men that the Confederates repulsed an attack, and then, driving in the Federal advanced line, attempted to capture some intrenched artillery on a hill. In moving for that purpose they came under a destructive fire of artillery, which compelled them to withdraw, with the loss, says Johnston, of about 1,000 men. This was known as the battle of Kolb's Farm. On the 23d, Sherman reported: ‘Our lines are now in close contact and the fighting is incessant, with a good deal of artillery fire. As fast as we gain one position, the enemy has another ready.’ On the 24th an unusually severe attack was made upon the skirmishers of Hardee's corps, who unaided repelled the assault. The Second Georgia battalion of sharpshooters held the rifle-pits on Walker's front against furious and repeated attempts of the enemy.

It was at this stage of the fighting that Sherman determined to try a direct front attack on Johnston's line. He says: ‘The enemy and our own officers had settled down to a conviction that I would not assault fortified lines. All looked to me to outflank.’ Consequently he gave the order which caused the slaughter of his troops before the impregnable defenses of Kenesaw. In the plan of battle, McPherson was to attack near Little Kenesaw and Thomas about a mile south. ‘On the 27th of June,’ says Sherman, ‘the two assaults were made at the time and in the manner prescribed, and both failed, costing us many valuable lives, among them those of Generals Harker and McCook, Colonel Rice and others badly wounded, our aggregate loss being nearly 3,000, while we inflicted comparatively little loss on the enemy, who lay behind his well-formed breastworks.’ Sherman believed that by a sacrifice he could break the Confederate

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