No. 12. report of Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Army Corps, of operations July 27-September 8.
headquarters Fourth Army Corps, Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.I have the honor to report that upon the morning of the 27th of July General Howard, commanding Fourth Army Corps, turned the command over to me, and left the same morning to take command of the Army of the Tennessee. The corps was at this time occupying a line of works confronting the fortifications of Atlanta, extending from a quarter of a mile northwest of the Buck Head road to the neighborhood of what was known as the Howard house, General Newton holding the right, Wood the center, and the First (my old) Division, now commanded by Colonel Grose, the left. During the 27th the position was strengthened, and batteries were put in to play upon Atlanta. On the 28th we were directed to make a strong demonstration against the enemy and, if possible, carry a point of his line. This was done by a strongly re-enforced skirmish line, and the enemy's rifle-pits were carried upon Wood's and Grose's fronts, but the fire of artillery was so severe, and the main work of the enemy seemed so well filled, that no attempt was made to carry it. We took upon this occasion about 50 prisoners and retained and fortified for our skirmish line that of the enemy. During the 29th, 30th, and 31st no change was made upon our line. Being notified that the Army of the Ohio would be withdrawn, leaving the Fourth Corps upon the flank of the army, a new flank was constructed upon the 1st of August running from the point at which the Buck Head road intersected our front line along the line of Spring Creek. This line we subsequently did not need to use. The Army of the Ohio moved out the night of the 1st of August, and it was deemed advisable to keep up a show of force in the line occupied by them. The First Division and Kimball's brigade, of Newton's division, were accordingly so extended as to occupy all the line occupied by General Schofield. This was intended as only a temporary arrangement, to be maintained twenty-four hours, but was finally kept up until the investment of Atlanta was abandoned. The 2d was employed strengthening our lines. On the 3d a demonstration was made to attract the attention of the enemy from Schofield's movements. The rebel picket-line was again captured, and 30 of their men fell into our hands. On the 4th, 5th, and 6th these demonstrations were continued with such variation as our judgment could suggest. All, however, tended to confirm the opinion that the enemy held his line in too strong force to be carried by any sudden dash. From this date to the 17th no special movement was made. Our lines were very thin, probably not more than one rank in many parts of the work, but the lack of force was supplied by the material defenses we constructed, consisting of abatis, fraises, &c., so well applied as to make our line almost invulnerable. On the 17th orders were received directing the withdrawing of the corps from their investing line and the massing of the troops behind the Fourteenth Corps. This order also directed the providing of forage, rations, and ammunition for an expedition ot fifteen days. The movement was to commence on the night of the 18th, but the same day orders were received delaying the execution of the order until further instructions, in anticipation of favorable results from a contemplated raid upon the Macon railroad by General Kilpatrick's  command. During the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st demonstrations were constantly kept up against the enemy's position, to favor the movements of Kilpatrick. By the display of troops, exhibition of flags in new places, and by strong reconnaissances pushed south of the Decatur road the enemy were impressed with the belief that we had extended our lines to the left, and considerable change was made in his disposition of troops to meet us. These demonstrations, always resulting in severe skirmishes, were not without some loss to us, but our men never failed to drive the enemy into his main works. On the night of the 25th the movement of withdrawal, directed to have taken place on the 18th, was successfully carried out, and the troops quietly withdrew from the left at night-fall. The pickets, under charge of Colonel Bennett, Seventy-fifth Illinois, came away so secretly that the enemy continued firing all night, only discovering our absence at daybreak. One surgeon, 1 captain, and 2 privates were captured by the enemy, the result of their own inexcusable straggling. The rear guard of the last division (Newton's) reached Proctor's Creek at 3 in the morning. The corps was formed in line at this point. The enemy's skirmishers followed and engaged ours about 8 a.m. on the 26th. After waiting an hour and finding that we were followed only by a skirmish line the corps was put in motion, General Kimball's division, west of Proctor's Creek, covering the movement. About the time the troops were stretched out on the road the attack upon our pickets became more serious, and General Kimball had to send two regiments, which had just gotten in position behind an old breast-work when the rebel skirmish line charged. They received a volley which dispersed them, and our rear came away without any further molestation. The day was exceedingly sultry, and the most trying upon the men of any during the campaign. The corps, however, made a good march, crossing Utoy Creek and taking position in line of battle, facing east, in the vicinity of Utoy Post-Office. On the 27th we moved by a road leading south and took position at Mount Gilead Church, forming line facing nearly south. The enemy's pickets were just in front — of us at this place. They fired a few shots from artillery at our pickets. On the 28th the corps moved to the vicinity of Red Oak, on the West Point railroad, following the Fourteenth Corps, the artillery and trains following a parallel road to the west of the one used by us. We encamped for the night in line of battle, facing east. On the 29th General Wood, with two brigades of his division and Taylor's brigade, of Kimball's division, co-operated with the Fourteenth Corps in the destruction of the West Point railroad; the road was thoroughly destroyed to a point three and a half miles from East Point. On the 30th moved by Ballard's to Mrs. Long's, on the Atlanta and Fayetteville road. The enemy's skirmishers were found, and proved very obstinate. On the Shoal Creek road, which was east from Mrs. Long's, General Newton's division was left in position to guard this road, and Wood's and Kimball's divisions were encamped in line upon the Atlanta and Fayetteville road. This position of the troops, it was learned just at night-fall, was not in accordance with the views of the department commander, but owing to the lateness of the hour it was not deemed advisable to move the whole force, and one brigade of General Wood's division and the pickets of the command were pushed out to cover the road leading by Morrow's Mills to Decatur. General Newton, at Mann's house, on the Shoal Creek road, reported the enemy in considerable force, and intrenched between himself and Morrow's Mills. Early  August 31 the corps was moved in the direction of Rough and Ready by way of Thorn's Mill. General Newton was instructed to remain in position until he should be joined by General Schofield's force, and then to follow. Arriving in sight of the mills on Crooked Creek, on the Decatur road, a long line of breast-works could be seen on the opposite side of the creek. These were occupied, but in what force we could not at once determine. Kimball's and Wood's divisions were deployed, and pushing forward a strong line of skirmishers, the enemy, who proved to be dismounted cavalry, abandoned the works and took to their heels. Verbal instructions having been received to push a strong reconnaissance to the railroad southeast of Rough and Ready in conjunction with General Schofield, Newton's division was put in position covering the direct road to Jonesborough, and protecting the artillery and trains, and Wood's and Kimball's divisions were pushed forward to the railroad. As the Twenty-third Army Corps occupied the main road leading to the railroad, we had to explore roads leading farther south and as nearly parallel as possible. Owing to delays occasioned by searching for roads, and the brushy nature of the country, we did not arrive on the railroad until about 4 p. m., and just a few moments after General Cox's division, of the Twenty-third Army Corps. A small break was made in the road, but deeming a secure lodgment the most important thing, the troops were formed in line facing Jonesborough, and forming with the Twenty-third Corps a V, with the apex resting east of the road. The troops were strongly barricaded in this position, and a strong force, including all the pioneers of the corps, was ordered to commence breaking up the road at 3 o'clock in the morning. General Schofield sent me a copy of his instructions from district [division] headquarters, and proposed that Cox's division should go back on the road in the direction of Rough and Ready, assisting Garrard to break up the road, and that I should move on in the direction of Jonesborough, breaking the road, and that he would follow with his corps and make the work complete. In answer to this, I objected to his plan of separating forces, not knowing the position of the enemy, but informed him that I should undoubtedly receive instructions from department headquarters. At 10 o'clock in the evening I received instructions from department headquarters directing me to move early toward Jonesborough, destroying the road, and apprising me that I would probably overtake Baird's division similarly employed, and if I found Baird to report for further instructions. At daylight the corps was put in motion, Kimball's and Newton's divisions down the railroad, Wood's division on the Rough and Ready and Griffin road in charge of the extra artillery and baggage. In starting out in the morning I passed General Schofield's headquarters. In conversation he asked me if I ranked him; I told him I did. He then said if a battle occurred he would be under my command. I said to him that there was little likelihood of any battle until reaching Jonesborough, and that our common superiors would probably be near at hand. No intimation from any quarter was given me that General Schofield was under my command, nor did I so consider him. I had no right to command him unless so instructed from competent authority. At 10 a. m. the head of the corps arrived at the point struck by General Baird's division the day before. My chief of staff, Colonel Fullerton, was at once sent to General Thomas for instructions. At 12.15 Colonel Fullerton returned, saying that General Thomas had sent Wood's division to join the corps and that as soon as Wood had joined and I was ready  to advance I should inform the department headquarters. Major Sinclair, assistant adjutant-general, having also returned from General Thomas with instructions to keep down on the flank of General Davis, Fourteenth Corps, the troops were moved down the railroad, the head of the column abreast with the advance of the Fourteenth Corps. Colonel Fullerton brought a message from General Thomas about 4 p. m. to push on down the railroad toward Jonesborough. This was done. The pickets of the enemy were struck about 4 p. m. Kirby's and Grose's brigades, of Kimball's division, were deployed and instructed to push the enemy vigorously. Newton's division was also deployed on the left of Kimball's and urged to push forward as rapidly as possible. It was past 5 o'clock when Kirby's and Grose's brigades got up in the face of the enemy. This delay, which was fatal to our success, was in part owing to the very dense nature of the undergrowth in front of the enemy's position, and further, to the slow progress the skirmishers made in pushing back those of the enemy. General Grose and Colonel Kirby both reported they could not carry the position in their fronts owing to the perfect entanglement made by cutting down the thick undergrowth in front of the rail barricade the rebels had hastily thrown up. Newton's division had a much longer circuit to make, and, when moved forward, the right brigade (Wagner's) found no enemy in front but received a fire from the rear of their right flank. The flank of the enemy had been found and turned, but it was now pitch dark and nothing more could be done. Very early in the night the enemy retreated. The formation and advance of the troops of Kimball's and Newton's divisions was done under a severe cannonade, and, although the men were perfectly cool and behaved well, I have no doubt but this delayed the deployment. Just before dark General Davis sent me word that he had positive information that we were on their flank, which was the [first] intimation I had of the position of the enemy. No one regrets more than myself the escape of Hardee's corps, and it is easy after the facts are revealed to see how he might have been caught; but the position of the enemy was entirely unknown to me and had to be developed, and the time necessary to overcome the difficulties brought us to night, and with night the opportunity for the enemy to escape. I carried out all orders and instructions received without delay, and when the enemy was found used all the personal exertions in my power to push the troops rapidly forward. I believe the subordinate commanders put their troops in position and advanced them to the best of their ability and understanding. That we did not succeed was simply because the daylight was not an hour longer. Wood's division was kept in reserve as the Twenty-third Corps was not closed up upon the Fourth, and I had no knowledge of what I might expect from the enemy upon my left flank. The loss, principally in Kimball's division, was about 100 men killed and wounded. We captured 137 prisoners, including 7 commissioned officers. Early on the morning of the 2d of September the enemy was found to have retreated. About 9 o'clock the corps was started in pursuit, under instructions from General Sherman to keep down the east side of the railroad, leaving the roads on the right for the Army of the Tennessee. We marched upon the McDonough road and cross-country roads, three miles south of Jonesborough, when, finding that we could find a road for artillery alongside the railroad, this route was followed. At 12 m. the enemy was found in position briskly fortifying across the road and railroad, about one mile north of Lovejoy's Station. Arrangements were made at once for advancing upon  the position-Newton's division forming the right of the line, Wood's the center, and Kimball's the left. General Howard, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, notified me that he woulh advance in concert with the Fourth Corps, and that he would notify me when ready to advance. This he did at 3.30 o'clock in the afternoon. The troops of this corps were immediately put in motion. In an examination of the enemy's position upon the railroad with General Newton I had agreed with him that an assault at that point would not be advisable, as the artillery of the enemy had too full a sweep of the ground we must pass over. I was under the impression that if the Army of the Tennessee attracted the attention of the enemy I should be able to reach the rebel right flank. Generals Wood and Kimball met very bad ground in their advance. The country about the head of Indian Creek over which they passed is very broken and intersected by difficult little streams and marshes. Owing to these difficulties, it was nearly 6 o'clock before Kimball's and Wood's divisions arrived at the enemy's position. Their skirmishers were soon driven in, and General Wood was engaged selecting a point of attack, when he was severely wounded and disabled from attending to the management of his advance. Colonel Knefler's brigade, the left one of Wood's division, charged and carried the enemy's work, but were unable to maintain themselves, owing to a sweeping enfilading fire coming from both flanks. General Kimball pushed his brigade well forward, but was struck in flank by a sweeping artillery fire, and finding that he would have to cross the open field to gain the enemy's work, which they were laboring might and main to complete, the assault was countermanded; indeed, the enemy had concentrated force enough to hold nearly as long a line as ourselves, and from our observations Kimball's left brigade was about opposite the rebel flank. As night had fallen at this time, the troops were ordered to intrench and remain in the position gained. The Twenty-third Corps came in sight behind our right flank during the engagement, but gave no support to our movement. The loss in Knefler's brigade was quite severe, including the dangerously wounding of Colonel Manderson, Nineteenth Ohio, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, Ninth Kentucky, and the killing of Captain Miller, assistant adjutant-general of the brigade. We remained in our position confronting the enemy until the night of the 5th, when the troops were withdrawn, falling back to Jonesborough. Remained in bivouac at Jonesborough the 6th. On the 7th fell back to the vicinity of Rough and Ready, and on the 8th marched to our present camp east of Atlanta. In concluding this report I take pleasure in recommending to the favorable consideration of the commander of the department the division commanders of this corps, Generals Newton, Wood, and Kimball; quick and ready to comprehend, they were always zealous and careful to carry out promptly all my directions. I believe they all most honestly deserve promotion. General Wood especially, whose experience is part of the history of this army since its first organization, and who has taken part in all the battles of this army, has peculiar and strong claims for promotion. To my staff I take this occasion to pay a compliment for their industry and efficiency. Col. J. S. Fullerton, assistant adjutant-general and chief of staff; Maj. W. H. Sinclair, assistant adjutant-general; Surgeon Heard, medical director. Maj. Francis Mohrhardt, topographical engineer, has prepared for the engineer department a very complete set of maps of the marches and positions of the corps.  Capt. W. H. Greenwood, corps inspector; Capt. J. W. Steele, aidede-cam'p; Lieut. L. L. Taylor, aide-de-camp; Captain Pearson, commissary of musters, acting aide-de-camp; Captain Foraker, Lieutenants Berry and Burton, signal officers, rendered good service as volunteer aides. Lieutenant-Colonel Remick, chief commissary, and Captain Schoeninger, chief quartermaster, deserve great credit for the efficiency with which their departments were managed. Captain Kaldenbaugh, provost-marshal, always had his department in the best of order. The Artillery Brigade was under the command of Capt. Lyman Bridges, Illinois Light Artillery. His report and that of battery commanders have been forwarded to the chief of artillery, Department of the Cumberland. The artillery was well managed in action and the horses well cared for on the march and in camp. Captain Bridges deserves credit for the efficiency of the artillery arm. Appended will be found a tabular statement of the casualties of the corps from the 3d day of May, the commencement of the campaign, to the 8th day of September, the date of the return to Atlanta. Respectfully submitted.
D. S. Stanley, Major-General, Commanding Fourth Army Corps. Brig. Gen. W. D. Whipple
, Chief of Staff, Department of the Cumberland.
, Chief of Staff, Department of the Cumberland.
D. S. Stanley, Major-General, Commanding.Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.