No. 141. report of Capt. James R. Griffith, Eighty-fifth Illinois Infantry.
Hdqrs. Eighty-Fifth Illinois Vol. Infantry, Atlanta, Ga., September 7, 1864.Sir: Concerning the operations of my regiment during the recent campaign, I have the honor to submit the following report: On Tuesday morning, May 3, 1864, the regiment, under command of Col. C. J. Dilworth, marched from Lee and Gordon's Mills in the direction of Ringgold; halted at Ringgold and camped temporarily. The campaign proper opened on the 9th of May, the division to which the Eighty-fifth is attached holding an important position  in the line. As the army advanced, and without any important event connected with the regiment, we crossed Tunnel Hill, menaced Buzzard Gap, and finally, by a long circuitous march, passed through Snake Creek Gap and took position before Resaca. On the 16th, Resaca evacuated, the regiment moved with the division down the road leading from Snake [Creek] Gap to Rome. Our advance was uninterrupted until we arrived in the vicinity of Rome. A battle occurred on afternoon of May 17, the contest lasting until night-fall. The enemy then retreated across the Oostenaula and burned the bridge. Early on the morning of 18th, the Eighty-fifth leading the column, we followed the retreating enemy, crossing the river as best we could by swimming, on rafts and in canoes. Our flag was hoisted upon the court-house, and rebellious Rome was again under Federal rule. The regiment lay in temporary camp at Rome till May 23; then marching through Dallas, took position about one mile beyond. By a succession of movements we were soon placed near the center of the army. In these movements our hardships were great, owing to long marches, bad roads, and wet weather. The rebel line in the Allatoona Mountains was evacuated June 5. On the 10th we pursued, and he was soon driven till his line rested across Kenesaw Mountain. The position assigned to my regiment was near the base of the mountain. Here the line was often subjected to a most terrific fire from the batteries on the summit. Our position was not changed until the 26th of June. Marching by night we moved about two miles to the right and formed in the rear as reserve. Monday morning, June 27, the necessary orders had been given and the regiment in light marching order moved to the front. Then followed the memorable battle of Kenesaw. The Eighty-fifth was assigned the advance, and at the signal the works were scaled. With a prolonged cheer the line swept across the field in front, driving the enemy from his first works. On the summit of the hill we encountered his main works, which proved too strong. Intrenchments were thrown up in the face of the foe. This position we held till the evacuation of Marietta on the 2d of July. In this action the gallant McCook was mortally wounded, and the command of the brigade devolving upon Colonel Dilworth, Maj. R. G. Rider was left in command of the regiment. Pursuit commenced July 3; the enemy was overtaken on the 4th. July 5, he continued his retreat and we followed. July 9, he again retired from our front, crossed Chattahoochee, and burned the bridge. Marching up the river we crossed July 18, and were assigned a position near the right. Advancing on the 19th, my regiment was supporting the skirmish line; crossed Peach [Tree] Creek about 4 p. m. The hill in front was held by the enemy. My regiment advanced, following the skirmishers; passed the summit of the hill and a small field beyond it. Suddenly a destructive fire was poured into our ranks from the right, and the enemy were soon discovered on our right flank in great numbers. We fell back to the brow of the hill under a terrible cross-fire and waited for support. The enemy evacuated this line night of July 20, and we followed to the defenses around Atlanta. From July 20 to August 5 very little fighting occurred. We were often moved and always to the right, sometimes advancing the lines and building new works, sometimes occupying works vacated by other troops. On the 5th day of August my regiment was deployed as skirmishers; an advance was ordered; we encountered a heavy line of skirmishers strongly intrenched. We charged them, took the works and  many prisoners. Events to August 26 are unimportant. At 4 a. m. the 27th we evacuated our line of works, moving in a southerly direction. August 28, we continued our march, crossing the Atlanta and Montgomery Railroad. 30th and 31st were. spent in marching and countermarching. Thursday morning, September 1, we continued our march toward the Macon railroad. Late in the day a line of intrenchments confront us beyond an extensive field. The troops move to the attack. My regiment was in the second line, hence my loss was less severe. The works were carried and the enemy compelled to evacuate Jonesborough. Late in the action Major Rider, commanding the regiment, was wounded in the head. The command then devolved upon myself. Friday morning, September 2, we entered Jonesborough. September 3, my regiment, with the One hundred and twenty-fifth Illinois, is placed in charge of a large number of prisoners. Early Sunday, September 4, we move with the prisoners. Joining the remainder of the brigade, we are relieved as guards and placed in rear of train. Continuing the march, we enter Atlanta late in the afternoon. Report of causualties in Eighty-fifth Illinois during the campaign ending September 4, 1864: Commissioned officers-killed, 2; wounded, 12; missing, 3. Enlisted men-killed, 40; wounded, 83; missing, 50. Aggregate loss, 190. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Jas. R. Griffith, Captain, Commanding Regiment. Capt. Charles Swift
, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.
, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.