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No. 33. report of Brig. Gen. Nathan Kimball, U. S. Army, commanding First brigade, of operations May 22-August 4.

Hdqrs. First Brig., Second Div., 4TH Army Corps, Near Atlanta, Ga., August 4, 1864.
Sir: I have the honor to report that in obedience to Special Field Orders, No. 139, extract 6, dated headquarters Department of the Cumberland, May 20, 1864, I assumed command of the First Brigade of your division on the 22d day of May, 1864, the brigade being then in camp at Two-Run Creek, near Kingston, Ga. Having no data from which to compile a history of the actions of this brigade previous to that date, I shall with this report only speak of its movements while under my command.

On the 23d, in obedience to your order, the brigade marched, bivouacking that night near Stilesborough, the 24th near Burnt Hickory, and on the night of the 25th east of Pumpkin Vine Creek, and about two miles from it, in line of battle, the enemy being posted [303] in strong works at a fork of the roads in front, near New Hope Church, in which position I remained the 26th, skirmishing with sharpshooters constantly. On the morning of the 27th at sunrise a strong demonstration was made in my immediate front with artillery and the skirmishers of my command, which ceased at 9 o'clock. At 2 p. m. I succeeded in advancing my line to a position which nearly enfiladed the enemy's line in front of General Wagner's brigade (Second). Goodspeed's battery having reported to me, was placed in position near my right. At 3.30 o'clock the enemy made a charge, driving my skirmishers to their reserves, but was by them checked and repulsed with severe loss. After his repulse the enemy demonstrated strongly until 5.30 p. m., undoubtedly with a view to cover a movement of troops to his right, which movement was at that time discovered to be going on. His demonstrations ceased about the time of the attack of General Wood's (Third) division to our left. From the 27th of May until the 5th of June, when the enemy disappeared from the (our) front, I remained in my advanced position, skirmishing hotly and continually with him day and night; in fact the affair more resembled a continuous battle than a skirmish. On the 6th of June I was ordered by you to cover with my brigade the movement of the corps hospitals, and in compliance bivouacked that night near Brown's Mill creek. On the 8th, the movement of the hospitals being completed, my command joined the division at Allatoona Creek, near Acworth, bringing in 8 prisoners. One of them, a cavalry scout, well mounted and armed, was captured by the commissary sergeant of the Eighty-eighth Illinois, while he (the sergeant) was bathing, naked and unarmed. On the 11th I was placed in reserve, and moved with my command to a point about three and a half miles west, northwest from Kenesaw Mountain, and so remained the 12th and 13th, each day in line of battle, to support the Second Brigade, should it become necessary. On the 14th our line advanced about a mile toward the enemy's works, his sharpshooters skirmishing and falling back. On the 15th the enemy's skirmish line was strengthened and strongly resisted farther advance, but was finally driven back another mile, and at night my brigade bivouacked within 1,000 yards of his main line of works. On the 16th I was again ordered to the front with my command, and that day advanced to a ridge about 500 yards from the enemy's works, and threw up fortifications under a severe and destructive fire from his lines. A battery was placed in position near my left about midnight, and at daylight the 17th the enemy's skirmishers disappeared from my front, when it was discovered that during the night he had evacuated his fortified position and taken up a new one, also fortified, nearly a mile and a half to his rear. By your order the brigade moved forward, and that night bivouacked about three-fourths of a mile from the enemy's new line. On the 18th my command was advanced to a point in front of the west end of Kenesaw Mountain, and bivouacked near Noyes' Creek, which position was acquired after severe skirmishing. On the 19th my command was advanced across Noyes' Creek, driving the enemy before them, and capturing 40 prisoners. The Thirty-sixth Illinoig, under Col. S. Miller, and the Eighty-eighth Illinois Infantry, Colonel Chandler, formed my skirmish line, and were for a short time hotly engaged. My loss in this affair was 3 killed, 15 wounded, and 6 missing. On the 20th the brigade was relieved by a brigade from the Fourteenth Army Corps, and withdrawn across the creek. On the 21st the brigade, as the right [304] of your division, was moved toward our right until it connected with Butterfield's division, of the Twentieth Army Corps, and at 4 p. m. was advanced to a ridge about 600 yards from the enemy's works, when fortifications were thrown up quickly, under a constant fire from his skirmishers and main lines. From the 5th to the 22d of June there was heavy rain each day, and the command suffered great hardships, being constantly engaged in skirmishing or fighting with the enemy, bivouacking without tents, and often in wet and unhealthy positions. The brigade remained, skirmishing continually day and night, in the same general position taken 6n the 21st, until the morning of the 27th, without change, except to advance part of the line in connection with General Harker's, on my left, to a point about 450 yards from the enemy's main works. On the 27th, in obedience to your orders, my command was formed in close column by divisions, right in front, to support the Second and Third Brigades in an assault upon the enemy's works. My position was on the left, and retired from that occupied by General Wagner's brigade, at the time the assault commenced. At 9 a. m., General Wagner having advanced to near the enemy's rifle-pits, and then been checked, I was ordered by you to advance my command and take the works, if possible. My column was immediately in motion, advancing with fixed bayonets, Col. W. W. Barrett, of the Fortyfourth Illinois Infantry, in immediate charge of the right wing, and the Seventy-fourth Illinois Infantry, under command of Lieut. Col. James B. Kerr, in the front. The column pushed forward, under a thick undergrowth of brush, to the edge of the woods, within seventy yards of the enemy's abatis, where the Seventy-fourth Illinois deployed and rushed forward. From the time of starting until it reached the edge of the woods, the head of my column was exposed to a most destructive fire of canister from the enemy's batteries, and the Seventy-fourth Illinois, upon debouching from the woods and deploying, was swept away by it and the murderous fire of the enemy's riflemen. Still those of the regiment who did not fall pressed forward and reached the parapet of the enemy's works, when Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr was wounded and captured, with 11 of his brave fellows. At the time the second regiment, the Eighty-eighth Illinois Infantry, was about to deploy, your order to halt and remain where I was reached me. The halt was made, Wagner's brigade was withdrawn, and I was ordered to fall back behind our works, which movement was accomplished without confusion, under a most terrific fire from the enemy. My loss in this action was 194 killed, wounded, and missing, nearly all of whom were from the Seventyfourth, Eighty-eighth, and Forty-fourth Illinois Regiments, and neither of which numbered 160 men. The loss of officers in my command in this action was in remarkable disproportion to that of enlisted men, being one to six. Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler, of the Eighty-eighth Illinois Infantry, a most brave, and worthy officer, was killed, and Colonel Miller, Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr, who was captured, were wounded, and have since died. Many of my dead and wounded were between the enemy's abatis and their works, and were left there until the evening of the 28th, when they were recovered through an arrangement made for that purpose by Major Sabin, of the Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry, my brigade officer of the day, and Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, of Arkansas, the officer of the day for the enemy in our front. [305]

My command remained in the same position as before the action, until I was ordered by you to relieve a part of Wood's division toward our left on the 2d of July. That night the enemy evacuated their position at Kenesaw Mountain, and on the 3d the brigade marched with the division through Marietta and bivouacked near the railroad about four miles south of that place. During the day of the 4th of July my command was engaged in hotly skirmishing with the enemy, who retired during the night, and on the 5th the march was continued to Vining's Station, near which place my command was bivouacked between the railroad and the Chattahoochee River. On the 6th the division was moved to a position along the southerly bank of the Rottenwood Creek, where I was bivouacked on the left of the line, and there remained until the 9th; on that day my brigade marched to Roswell Factory, forded the Chattahoochee River, and intrenched in a position on the south side of it, where the command remained until the 11th, when, being relieved by a part of the Sixteenth Army Corps, I was ordered by you to recross the river and bivouacked on the north side. On the 12th the command marched back to the old position on Rottenwood Creek, and on the morning of the 13th again crossed the Chattahoochee River on the pontoon bridge at Powers' Ferry, and went into position about two miles from the river at the forks of the main road, my brigade on the left, and retired from the main line, where it fortified and remained until sunrise the morning of the 18th, when the march was commenced toward Atlanta on the Buck Head road. My brigade was bivouacked that night on the left of the road at Buck Head. By your order I detailed the Seventy-fourth Illinois and the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin Infantry Regiments to make a reconnaissance toward Peach Tree Creek on the Decatur road, which movement was made at early dawn the 19th, and developed the fact that the rebel infantry in that vicinity had retired to the south side of Peach Tree Creek. At 5 p. m. the division marched on the Atlanta road to Peach Tree Creek, and my brigade was halted on the north side of it until 11 p. m., when, by your order, I crossed to the south side and took up a position to the right of and supporting General Hazen's brigade, of Wood's division. Early in the morning of the 20th General Hazen's brigade, of Wood's division, was withdrawn, the troops being relieved by my brigade and the balance of your division. On the morning of the 20th I was ordered by you to deploy a strong skirmish line and seize the enemy's advance works, well posted on a ridge about 600 yards in our front. In obedience to the order, I sent out the Thirty-sixth, Seventy-fourth, and Eighty-eighth Illinois Regiments, deployed and under the command of Col. W. W. Barrett, of the Forty-fourth Illinois; these regiments were supported by the Ninety-seventh Ohio, Colonel Lane, and the Twenty-eighth Kentucky, Major Barth, of the Second Brigade, as a reserve. The skirmish line advanced at noon and quickly. drove the rebels from their pits, capturing a number of prisoners. Discovering a ridge about 400 yards farther to the front commanding that just taken, Colonel Barrett pushed forward his line and seized that also without serious opposition, taking prisoner a surgeon and 2 privates, with an ambulance and team. The possession of this hill proved of the most vital importance in the action which followed. My command was at once moved up to it, the skirmish line relieved by three fresh regiments from my command, the Fifteenth Missouri, Twenty-fourth [306] Wisconsin, and Seventy-third Illinois, all under immediate charge of Col. J. Conrad, of the Fifteenth Missouri, and the brigade placed in position, with the Eighty-eighth Illinois on the left of the road, and the Forty-fourth, Seventy-fourth, and Thirty-sixth Illinois Regiments on the right of it. Four guns of Goodspeed's battery came up and were so posted at the road as to well cover the front and each side. Colonel Blake, commanding the Second Brigade, came up promptly and was placed in position by me, his right connecting with my left, and extending to the left on a prolongation of my line, with his left retired. The left of the Twentieth Corps had at this time crossed the Peach Tree Creek, but had not come up, so my right was entirely uncovered. Arms were stacked in line and every man fell to work with the greatest activity to throw up breast-works for themselves and the battery; but these were hardly commenced when, at 3 p. m., a rapid firing was heard on our picket-line in my front; my skirmishers were driven in, closely followed by th e enemy in two lines of battle, charging with great confidence with a rapidity and an absence of confusion I have never seen equaled. My men seized their guns and formed to resist the enemy's advance. He was repulsed with terrible loss in our front, but his lines were soon discovered to extend far beyond my right. To attack the left of the Twentieth Corps he passed my right flank, and the Seventy-third Illinois, which had been driven in from the picket-line, was formed nearly at right angles with the front line to cover and protect it. When the enemy had been repulsed by the left of the Twentieth Corps he was obliged in retiring to expose himself to an enfilading fire from this regiment. This fire was so deadly that great numbers of the rebels covered themselves in a small ravine and were captured by the Twentieth Corps, which followed them closely until opposite the right of my line. At the same time the enemy passed my right the sound of artillery and musketry in rear of the left of Colonel Blake's brigade showed that the enemy's lines extended also beyond our left, and that there was great danger of being cut off from the bridge over the Peach Tree Creek and surrounded, but no man left his post. Repulsed at every point where he had met Union troops, the enemy fell back, and reforming his lines, made another desperate attempt to drive us from our position, but with no better success than before. Still he kept up a rapid fire, and seemed persistent in his efforts to find a weak point through which he could force his way, until about 6 o'clock, when he retired, leaving most of his dead and wounded where they fell. Had the enemy recovered possession of the hill on which Colonel Blake's and my own brigades were posted, he would have been able to command the plain over which the left of the Twentieth Corps was moving and to enfilade the position to be taken by it, and the desperate efforts made by him to retake the hill are indicated by the loss of many officers of high rank in close proximity to our lines. The troops which attacked our position were Bate's, Walker's, and a part of Cheatham's divisions, esteemed among the best in the rebel service, and prisoners relate that no doubt whatever was felt that we would be swept from the ridge by their superior numbers, or, remaining, would be easily captured by their turning our left and cutting us off from the crossing of the Peach Tree Creek. During the night succeeding the action the enemy was actively engaged with a large force removing his dead and wounded from such parts of the field near our lines as he could approach in the darkness, but he desisted at daybreak, leaving [307] many dead in our hands; how many I have not now the means of exactly giving. Compared with the fury of the enemy's charges, his superior numbers, and his great losses, my own casualties were remarkably small, the total loss in the brigade being 3 killed and 31 wounded. The works were strengthened during the day of the 21st, and on the morning of the 22d our skirmishers entered the enemy's works, he having evacuated them during the night. At 9 o'clock the 22d the command moved out toward Atlanta. The enemy's pickets were encountered at a point two miles from the city, and line of battle was formed and works were thrown up by us under a rapid fire of shell from his forts and intrenchments, at short range, which, however, did but little damage. My brigade occupied the same general position which was first assigned it on the 22d until the 26th, when it was withdrawn from the front and bivouacked about 600 yards to the rear, where it remained until near sundown of August 1, when it was ordered by you to move to the extreme left of our lines to a point near the Howard house and relieve a part of the Twenty-third Army Corps, which movement was accomplished early in the evening. The brigade remained in the position sotaken, skirmishing with and watching the enemy, without any unusual action until the 4th of August, when I was relieved from the command of it and assigned to the command of the First Division of this corps, Col. E. Opdycke, of the One hundred and twenty-fifth Ohio Infantry, taking my place in the brigade.

The total loss of the brigade while under my command, from the 22d day of May until the 4th day of August, was 71 killed, 341 wounded, 9 missing, and 4 captured; total loss, 424.

All of the regiments in the brigade were small, their aggregate effective strength averaging about 175 each, and the command was many times very little larger than a full regiment.

Throughout the campaign, and in every battle, the officers and men in my brigade, without any exception, have faithfully and cheerfully performed all their duties, and there is no command in the U. S. Army composed of better men than those who make up the First Brigade, of the Second Division, Fourth Army Corps.

Many of the bravest and best have fallen a sacrifice to their country's cause. It is impossible for me in this report to mention all the deserving by name, but the memory of such men as Col. Silas Miller, of the Thirty-sixth Illinois, who was mortally wounded while in charge of my skirmish line on the 27th of June, at Kenesaw, and of Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler, of the Eighty-eighth Illinois, who was killed while leading his regiment in the charge of that day, and of Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr, Seventy-fourth Illinois Infantry, who was mortally wounded and captured on the parapets of the enemy's works in the same action, will never fade in the hearts of a people who appreciate the noble and the brave and the good.

Col. W. W. Barrett, of the Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry, is entitled to special mention for his coolness and bravery, and I commend him to your favorable consideration.

I also desire to speak in the highest terms of Lieutenant Scovill. of Goodspeed's (Ohio) battery, and of the brave men under him for their gallant conduct on the 20th of July. Never before did guns more terribly punish an enemy than did those under his command that day at Peach Tree Creek.

Liuetenant Turnbull, acting assistant inspector-general, and Lieutenant Jackson, aide-de-camp, both of my staff, were wounded at [308] New Hope Church while reconnoitering the picket-line, Lieutenant Turnbull losing a leg, and both being disabled from further field duty to this date.

Capt. E. D. Mason, assistant adjutant-general, Capt. A. G. Lakin, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenants Burrill and McMurtry, aides-de camp. gave new evidences of their gallantry in the battles of the 27th of June and the 20th of July, and I am indebted to them for their promptness in conveying my orders and their faithfulness in executing all their duties as members of my staff.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Nathan Kimball, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.

Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Div., 4TH Army Corps.

Report of casualties in the First brigade, Second Division, Fourth Army Corps, for the month of May, 1864.


Nathan Kimball, Brigadier-General, Commanding. Capt. J. S. Ransom
, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Casualties in the First brigade, Second Division, Fourth Army Corps, from June 1 to June 30, inclusive.


Respectfully submitted.

Nathan Kimball, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Casualties in the First brigade, Second Division, Fourth Army Corps, during the month of June, 1864.


Respectfully submitted.

Nathan Kimball, Brigadier-General, Commanding. Capt. J. S. Ransom
, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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