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Doc. 5. operations at Atlanta, Georgia.

Colonel Cogswell's Report.

headquarters Second Massachusetts infantry, Savannah, Ga., December 26, 1864.
Lieutenant-Colonel H. W. Perkins, Assistant-Adjutant-General, Twentieth Army Corps:
Colonel: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command while stationed at the post of Atlanta, Georgia. Upon the occupation of that city by the Twentienth corps, September second, 1864, I was directed by Major-General Slocum, commanding the corps, to encamp my regiment in the city, and assume command of the post; and by special orders number seventy-four, extract four, headquarters Twentieth corps, September fifth, 1864, I was detailed to the same command, and the Second Massachusetts infantry, the One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania infantry, and the Thirty-third Massachusetts infantry, were ordered to report to me for duty.

These regiments were stationed as follows: The Second Massachusetts infantry, Captain R. B. Brown commanding, at the “City Hall Park;” the One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas M. Walker commanding, at the “City Park;” and the Thirty-third Massachusetts infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Ryder, afterward Lieutenant-Colonel Duane, commanding, on McDonough street, near the City Hall.

The duties of this command were to protect and guard all public and private property in the city, and to patrol the streets for the purpose of maintaining order, and arresting all offenders and unauthorized persons in the city.

Lieutenant-Colonel C. F. Morse, Second Massachusetts infantry, was detailed as Provost-Marshal of the post; Captain James M. Wells, One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania infantry, as commandant of convalescent and receiving camp; Lieutenant John A. Fox, Second Massachusetts infantry, as Post Adjutant; and Lieutenant Peter Sears, Thirty-third Massachusetts infantry, as Street Commissioner.

The duties of the Post Provost-Marshal were to regulate the city patrol, to take charge of all prisoners, the general charge of all citizens, and to seize all cotton and tobacco, as well as many other minor duties; while those of Captain Wells were to receive all enlisted men that might come [146] or be sent to him; to provide them with rations; recording their names, companies, regiments, and corps; and to promptly forward them to their proper commands, as well as to receive and properly care for all escaped prisoners of war.

The duties of the Post Adjutant, in addition to the regular duties of his department, were those of keeping records of all the different detachments of the army in the city, examining all leaves of absence and furloughs, and giving orders for transportation or passes upon the same, and giving orders for meals on the Soldiers' Home, and many other new and varied duties.

The Street Commissioner was charged with the cleanliness of the city proper, as well as the burying of dead animals that negligent quartermasters and other parties had left to decay all about the town. In addition to these departments was that of the Soldiers' Home, conducted by Captain Stewart, Acting Commissary Subsistence, United States volunteers, which place furnished lodgings and meals to sick, travelling and worthy officers and enlisted men, who had not been and could not be otherwise subsisted. Captain Stewart was furnished his subsistence stores direct from the Chief Commissary of Subsistence, military division of the Mississippi, but all orders for meals and lodgings came from post headquarters.

About six hundred bales of cotton and about five hundred pounds of tobacco were seized.

The cotton was turned over to Captain Hade, Assistant-Quartermaster, United States volunteers, by order of the Chief Quartermaster military division of the Mississippi.

As a great quantity of this cotton was in bulk, no regular invoices were given or receipts taken by the Provost-Marshal, but wherever it was found, it was guarded, and Captain Hade took it as it was.

The tobacco was turned over to Captain Blair, Acting Commissary of Subsistence, United States volunteers, and receipted for.

A great deal of tobacco, by the permission of General Sherman, was allowed to be retained by the parties having it, while some considerable tobacco, confiscated from persons vending it on the street without authority, was issued to the troops composing the post command.

Some four thousand arrests for graver or minor offences were made, and a sutler's stock of goods, smuggled into the city, of the retail value of about eight thousand dollars, was confiscated and sold at public sale, at prices fixed by a board of survey, and the proceeds of the sale, one thousand seven hundred and forty dollars, were turned over to Captain John Stewart, Depot Quartermaster at Atlanta, and receipts taken for the same by the Post Provost-Marshal.

Captain Wells received about six thousand enlisted men, consisting of convalescent soldiers, recruits, returned soldiers from furlough and detached duty, and shirks.

All of these men were forwarded to their proper commands with a despatch and system unparalleled in my experience, and receipts obtained for them.

Lieutenant Sears was engaged seven hours each day, (Sunday excepted,) with all the prisoners of the provost-guard, in sweeping the streets, carrying off the filth, and burying all dead and decaying matter within the limits of the fortifications.

The Soldiers' Home furnished meals from over ten thousand (10,000) rations.

While, after the army moved northward in pursuit of Hood, about the first of October, detachments of the different army corps left behind with baggage and so forth, were reported to the post commander, pursuant to orders from Major-General Slocum, to the number of twelve thousand seven hundred men, (12,700;) the different detachments commanded by persons of the different grades, from that of colonel to that of corporal.

All business on Sundays was stopped in the city, all stores and public buildings closed.

When the city of Atlanta was about to be evacuated, and the army of Georgia about to commence the “campaign of Savannah,” and all railroad track and buildings, all warehouses and public buildings that would hereafter be of any military use to the enemy, were to be destroyed, under direction of Captain C. M. Poe, Chief Engineer military division of the Mississippi, the duties of the post command were to protect from accidental or wanton fire and destruction, all buildings not designated to be destroyed. This called for the entire and united efforts of the whole command during the days and nights of the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and part of the sixteenth of November, 1864; and considering so great a number of buildings were destroyed, and very many by fire, in the compact part of the city, at a time when many stragglers were passing through the town, and when the excitement of so great a conflagration was almost overpowering, it is not too much to say that all the officers and men of that command deserve great praise for the prompt and energetic and successful performance of this new, difficult, and fatiguing duty.

On the morning of the fourteenth November, I received an order from Major-General Slocum, commanding left wing army of Georgia, to remain in the city with my command until all the troops had passed, and then join the rear of the Fourteenth corps, Brevet-General J. C. Davies commanding, which I did at five o'clock P. M., November sixteenth, 1864; remaining with that corps, and marching in its rear, until the afternoon of the twenty-first November, at five o'clock, when, at Eatonton Mills, Georgia, I left it, and joined the Twentieth corps, at Milledgeville, Georgia, at eleven o'clock A. M., November twenty-three, and then, pursuant to orders from Brigadier-General A. S. Williams, commanding Twentieth corps, I directed the different regiments of my command to report to their respective brigades, and assuming command of my own regiment, Second Massachusetts infantry, [147] reported to my own brigade, Colonel E. A. Carman, commanding.

In closing this report, I desire to express my thanks to the officers and men of the different regiments of the command, as well as of the different departments of the post, for their earnest and efficient cooperation in the performance of the new, various, and arduous duties of the post of Atlanta.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

William Cogswell, Colonel Second Massachusetts Infantry.

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