No. 144. report of Capt. George W. Cook, one hundred and twenty-fifth Illinois Infantry.
headquarters 125TH Illinois Volunteers, Atlanta, Ga., September 7, 1864.Sir: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this command in the recent campaign, from its commencement, in May, until its arrival at Atlanta, on the 4th instant: In order for me to make this report nearly accurate I must depend mainly upon the notes of Col. O. F. Harmon and Lieut. Col. James W. Langley, respectively, commanders of the regiment from the commencement of the campaign until the 1st day of the present month, when the command fell to me. Forming a part of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, this regiment, commanded by Col. O. F. Harmon, numbering 449 effective men, left Lee and Gordon's Mills, Ga., on the 3d day of May last, where it had been doing, in connection with the brigade commanded by Co]. Daniel McCook, outpost duty, and marched to Ringgold, where it joined the division then commanded by Brig. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis. After a day or two of rest at the last-named place the forward march was resumed and continued in until we faced the enemy before Buzzard Roost. On the road to this point we skirmished with the retreating foe at different points. At Buzzard Roost we were most of the time during several days actively engaged with the enemy's skirmishers, but lost no men. The regiment participated in the flank movement through Snake Creek Gap, which move gained Buzzard Roost. This march was long and tedious, but was borne by all cheerfully and without complaint. At Resaca we met the enemy and were engaged actively with him. The regiment occupied a temporary line of works immediately in front of and but a few hundred yards from the works of the opposing forces. Here, as in previous instances, every man did his duty, until the flight of the enemy from Resaca, on the night of the 14th [15th] of May, opened on the following morning a new field of labor. An expedition to Rome, Ga., was fitted out for our division, and on the morning of the 15th [16th] the regiment was detailed, with one section of Battery I, Second Illinois Artillery, to command and guard the division supply  and ordnance train, in rear of the marching column of the division, to that city. The regiment took no part in the fight at Rome on the 17th; arrived with its important charge on the following day. Remained at Rome doing various duty until the 24th day of May, when the entire division took up its line of march toward Dallas; joined the Army of the Tennessee, to which the division was temporarily attached, near the last-named place on the 26th day of May. The next encounter with the enemy was at Dallas, on the night of the 27th of May, when we were attacked by a superior force while engaged in relieving the Twenty-second Indiana, who were doing picket duty. The enemy succeeded in capturing, owing to the unavoidable unadjusted condition of the lines at the moment, 14 enlisted men and I commissioned officer, and wounding 3 others (enlisted men); but this temporary disaster was quickly, though but partially, compensated by the capture of 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, and 25 enlisted men from the enemy. On the following morning the pickets drove the enemy back with a loss of 20 killed and wounded; but 2 men wounded on our side. Until we reached Kenesaw Mountain, on the 27th of June, nothing worthy of note occurred, although we daily faced the foe. At Kenesaw Mountain, on the morning of the 27th of June, the regiment, in connection with the brigade, formed a part of the attacking column that was on that day hurled against the enemy's works. The One hundred and twenty-fifth Regiment was the foremost in the brigade. The conflict was short and bloody, and it is painful to record that a repulse to our forces along the entire line was the result. Never fought troops better than on that day, and attention is called to the casualties in this command alone, which were 120 in the short space of twenty minutes, nearly one-half of which were in the list of killed; and also that the brigade rallied within sixty yards of the enemy's works, threw up intrenchments under a heavy fire, and held them until the night of July 3, when the enemy evacuated their lines and retreated toward Atlanta. In the above-mentioned engagement we lost several brave officers and men, chief among whom was the colonel of the regiment, of whom it may not be inappropriate here to remark that a braver soldier or more efficient officer in line of his peculiar duties the Army of the Union does not contain. The command at this point devolved upon Lieut. Col. James W. Langley, who commanded the regiment through the engagement at the Chattahoochee River, July 5, and at Peach Tree Creek, on the 19th of July, in both of which it was actively engaged, and subsequently until, in the midst of the battle of Jonesborough, September 1, when Colonel Dilworth, brigade commander, was wounded and carried off the field, the command of the brigade devolved upon him (Lieutenant-Colonel Langley), and that of the regiment upon myself.. During the whole of the engagement at Jonesborough the officers and men behaved with that high courage which marks the soldier fighting in support of a good cause. The regiment, while yet under command of Lieut. Col. James W. Langley, reached the crest of the hill just in front of a rebel battery, engaged the enemy in the open field, and contributed greatly in aiding the Second Brigade, on our left, to scale the enemy's works. Here they fought with the desperation ~f men determined to win, and they did win, though not until my regiment had lost 1 officer and 3 men killed, 30 enlisted men woundedsome 6 or 8 of them mortally. At dark my regiment was formed in line with the Eighty-fifth, Eighty-sixth, and the One hundred and tenth Illinois, when we built a strong line of works. The troops  were marched to Jonesborough and put in temporary camp. The regiment and brigade was ordered to Atlanta, September 4, in charge of nearly 2,000 prisoners, captured in the Jonesborough fight, and went into camp at this place, where it now remains, and it is sincerely hoped that, if the campaign is over, it will remain until, in the opinion of the powers that be, it is needed in the field for active operations. I respectfully submit and herewith transmit a list of casualties in the command since May 3 up to the close of this campaign. In conclusion I would say in behalf of the officers and enlisted men of this regiment, that they, with few exceptions, most manfully and soldierly, in every engagement in which the regiment has participated, stood up and faced the foe, while many fell dead on the field. It would be difficult to make special mention of names and do ample justice to all and i justice to none. A grateful country will reward them all for their noble services. The survivors of Kenesaw and subsequent battles can never forget our patriotic dead. Colonel Harmon, Captains Fellows and Lee, and Lieutenant McLean fell at the former place, where duty called them. At Peach Tree Creek, Lieutenant Jones, of Company D, commanding Company B, died as he had lived — a true Christian soldier. Lieutenant White, who so nobly fell at the crossing of the Sandtown road, was loved and respected by all whose good fortune it was to have his acquaintance. Again, at Jonesborough, the daring and faithful Captain Charles fell in the discharge of his immediate duty. So with Sergeant Thralls, who for more than two months had commanded Company B: wounded in the leg during the hottest of the engagement, received his fatal blow from a stray bullet while his wound was being dressed. My confidence in him as a company commander was always firm, because I knew him to be a brave man. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Geo. W. Cook, Captain,. Commanding Regiment. Capt. Charles Swift
, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 3d Brig., 2d Div., 14th Army Corps.
, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 3d Brig., 2d Div., 14th Army Corps.
Geo. W. Cook, Captain, Commanding.