No. 15. report of Brig. Gen. Nathan Kimball, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations August 4-September 8.
Hdqrs. First Division, Fourth Army Corps, Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.Sir: In obedience to Special Field Orders, No, 212, extract VII, dated headquarters Department of the Cumberland, August 3, 1864, I assumed command of this division on the day following that on which the order was issued, the division being then in position near the Howard house, about two miles northeasterly from Atlanta, on the left of the corps. Not having yet received the reports of the brigade commanders, I have not sufficient data from which to compile a history of the division during this campaign previous to that date, and shall, therefore, in this report speak only of its actions since I became its commander. On the 5th I was ordered by you to make a reconnaissance, which I did, demonstrating mean time with my whole picket-line, but did not succeed in developing any new facts in relation to the enemy's position. On the morning of the 6th the enemy appeared very active in my front and to my left, and during the forenoon made an attempt to press back the left of my picket-line, at the same time shelling my main line from his forts and batteries, within easy range, but this movement was repulsed without harm to the division by either the enemy's skirmishers or artillery. During the day a demonstration was made by us upon his picket, but no tangible benefits resulted from it. From the 7th to the 12th the division remained quietly in its position, skirmishing with and watching the enemy without any incident of note, except that at 10 a. m. the 9th, fifty rounds were fired into Atlanta from each of the batteries in my line. The First Brigade, Colonel Opdycke, of the Second Division, General Newton, being in position on my left, and separated from its division, had been ordered to report to me for orders, and on the 12th was sent out to develop the enemy's lines toward our extreme left, and found the enemy's pickets posted and watchful, as far as he went in that direction. Some sharp skirmishing took place, and Colonel Opdycke returned to his old position with his brigade, with the loss of 1 man killed. During the night of the 12th and before day the 13th the enemy was unusually active in my front, and at daybreak it was discovered that as many as three new regiments had been added to his lines in that quarter, and placed in position. During the day two regiments of troops from Wood's division reported to me for duty, and were posted on our extreme left, beyond the position occupied by the cavalry. On the 15th General Garrard, with the cavalry, was withdrawn from the line, and left it necessary for me to picket with my command my front and our left flank. Nothing of importance occurred until the 18th, when, by your order, a strong demonstration was made by me at an early hour in the morning. The enemy answered with artillery, doing, however, no damage. The Twentyfirst Illinois Infantry, of the First Brigade (Colonel Kirby), lost 5 men captured on the skirmish line. Nothing new was developed in relation to the enemy. On the morning of the 19th I was ordered by him to make a reconnaissance down the Augusta road  toward the enemy's line, and sending out the First Brigade (Colonel Kirby) at 3 a. m., drove the enemy back, with sharp skirmishing, to their main line of works. After coming within close rifle range of the enemy's intrenchments Colonel Kirby retired, and returned to his position. A noble and worthy officer, Captain Rains, of the Ninetieth Ohio, was killed. No others injured. On the 20th, at 3 o'clock, I sent the Third Brigade (General Grose) on a reconnaissance to the left of railroad to develop, if possible, the position of the enemy's extreme right. Deploying skirmishers, and sending them forward, at daylight the enemy's pickets were met and driven down the road and into his works, 8 of them falling into our hands. By this movement it was found that the enemy's right flank was guarded by Morgan's brigade, of Georgia State Mounted Militia, and Strahl's infantry brigade, backed by artillery in good works. Nothing unusual occurred until the 25th, when the order to march was received, and at night-fall my division withdrew from their position and marched to Proctor's Creek where it bivouacked at 1 a. m. the 26th, and remained until 8 o'clock, the rebels shelling my lines from their works on the northwest side of Atlanta but injuring no one. While my pickets were preparing to withdraw, as the march was commenced that morning, the enemy charged them with a strong line of skirmishers, but they were handsomely repulsed and driven back with a loss to them of 4 killed and 2 captured, and with no loss to me; the lines were then withdrawn without further molestation from him. The command bivouacked that evening on the south side and near Utoy Creek. On the 27th the division was marched to Mount Gilead Church, near Camp Creek, and intrenched the position, in which it remained during the night. On the 28th the division marched to near the West Point and Atlanta Railroad at Red Oak Station, and took up a position, which was fortified. On the 29th, by your order, I sent the Second Brigade (Colonel Taylor) to destroy the railroad toward Atlanta, and three regiments under Colonel Bennett, of the Seventy-fifth Illinois, toward West Point for the same purpose. The destruction of the road was performed in the most effectual manner, leaving no rail or tie which could be used for the purpose again. On the morning of the 30th my division moved to Flat Rock, and bivouacked at dark. On the 31st I moved forward, and after some sharp skirmishing drove the enemy from his works on Flint River. On the 1st day of September I moved forward by your order to the Macon railroad and assisted in the destruction of it toward Jonesborough, at which place the enemy was fortified; a sharp skirmish ensued, in which I lost about 50 in killed and wounded, and captured 3 commissioned officers and 19 men, and at night my division was placed in position with Colonel Kirby, First Brigade, on my right, Brigadier-General Grose, Third Brigade, on my left, and Colonel Taylor, Second Brigade, in reserve. Your order was given to advance upon the enemy's works at daybreak, but during the night he evacuated his position and fell back to Lovejoy's. On the morning of the 2d the command moved to near Lovejoy's, where the enemy was encountered, and my division was formed on the left of the corps, with Brigadier-General Grose on my right, Colonel Taylor on my left, and Colonel Kirby in reserve, and advanced to within 500 yards of the enemy's intrenchments under a terrible fire of shell and canister from his guns, where a position was taken and works thrown up; in this advance I captured 30 prisoners and severely punished the enemy.  My command remained in this position, skirmishing continually with both musketry and artillery, until the 5th of September, when the command was withdrawn and my division bivouacked in their old position near Jonesborough, and remained until the morning of the 7th, when the march was taken up for Atlanta, which place was reached at noon the 8th, without any incident worthy of notice. My division was put in position on the easterly side of the Augusta railroad, where it is now encamped. The loss of the division since August 4, the date of my assuming command, is 30 killed, 241 wounded, 18 missing. Total, 289. I respectfully refer you to the reports of my subordinate officers for special mention of those entitled to favorable consideration for their conduct as soldiers during the long and arduous campaign in which the division has been engaged. But I desire to speak particularly of Brig. Gen. William Grose, commanding Third Brigade, and also of Col. I. M. Kirby, commanding the First Brigade, and Col. Jacob E. Taylor, commanding the Second Brigade, who have distinguished themselves for their gallantry, bravery, and skill in their positions as brigade commanders, and are eminently worthy of promotion. To all the members of my staff I am indebted for their promptness in conveying my orders, and their faithfulness in the execution of them, and I have particularly to speak of the gallant and soldierly conduct of Maj. W. H. Fairbanks, Thirty-first Indiana Infantry, and acting assistant inspector-general of the division, as exhibited upon every occasion demanding the exercise of those qualities. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Nathan Kimball, Brigadier--General, U. S. Volunteers.
Maj. William H. Sinclair, Assistant Adjutant-General, Fourth Army Corps.