previous next

No. 61. report of Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen, U. S. Army, commanding Second brigade, of operations May 3-August 17.

Hdqrs. Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, East Point, Ga., September 15, 1864.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Corps, during the part of the late campaign it was commanded by myself:

The brigade was stationed May 3 at McDonald's Station, on the Chattanooga and East Tennessee Railroad, thirty miles east from Chattanooga. At 12 m. of that day the brigade, composed of eight regiments, with an effective strength of 131 officers and 2,312 men, broke camp and marched, with one wagon to the regiment, in the direction of Catoosa Springs, reaching that point on the 4th, where we remained until the 7th, when we moved forward and occupied Tunnel Hill at meridian of the same day, taking position and remaining [422] until the 9th, when, to make a diversion in favor of other troops, the brigade in two lines moved up one of the slopes of Rocky Face Ridge to within 100 yards of the summit. Our losses to-day were quite severe. We remained in front of Buzzard Roost until the 13th, when we passed through to Dalton, four miles distant, the enemy having retreated the previous night. We followed, striking his cavalry about 10 a. m. on the 14th four miles in front of Resaca. Forming in two lines, the troops moved forward for about two miles, when we came upon the left wing of the Twenty-third Corps sharply engaged with the enemy, which we relieved; and Colonel Payne, One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio Volunteers, commanding his own regiment and the Ninety-third Ohio Volunteers, pushed forward, vigorously driving the enemy from their advanced position, and seizing a hill within 100 yards of a salient in his works, containing a battery and overlooking a portion of his line containing two other batteries, the horses of which were shot and the guns kept silent the remainder of the time he occupied this position. Lieutenant-Colonel Kimberly, Forty-first Ohio Volunteers, commanding his regiment and the First Ohio Volunteers, was sent in on Colonel Payne's right, giving us complete control of the enemy's position for several hundred yards, and by putting sharpshooters at work the men and horses of the enemy that showed themselves were shot; General Willich moving in connection with my right and General Stanley with my left and the line fortified. These operations were effected with a loss of not to exceed 60 men. On the 15th an assault of the enemy's works was ordered in conjunction with an advance by General Hooker. At the signal this brigade moved over the works and toward the enemy, but the troops on the right and left hesitating, the entire fire of the enemy was concentrated upon my command, which was staggered, and as I could see no support ordered them back. The losses of the brigade in this unassisted and honest effort in the space of thirty seconds was 120. At about 10 p. m. the enemy opened a noisy fire all along our front, and during the confusion withdrew his artillery and later his infantry. In the morning a regiment, under Colonel Kimberly, and the skirmish line being moved forward to the Oostenaula River, . picked up about 100 of the enemy. I would call attention to the accompanying sketch1 of the position just described; also to the meritorious conduct of Colonel Payne in seizing the position already occupied by the enemy, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kimberly in assisting to make it secure. In the attempt to assault the greatest bravery and coolness was manifested by the entire command, but particularly by Col. W. W. Berry, Fifth Kentucky Infantry, and Lieut. and Adjt. J. J. Siddall, Sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. On the morning of the 16th the brigade moved through Resaca in the direction of Calhoun, and on the 17th to within one mile of Adairsville, skirmishing a portion of the way, and finding there the enemy drawn up to check our farther progress, causing us also to form in line. Some skirmishing took place with small loss. The enemy having withdrawn during the night, we moved on through Adairsville and Kingston, coming upon him in front of Cassville about midday the 19th. The command formed in line and moved cautiously forward to within a half mile of Cassville, the enemy retiring to that place, where he made dispositions for battie. [423] Our own troops here covered themselves by a breast-work, but on the morning of the 20th no enemy was found in our front, he having retreated across the Allatoona Mountain.

The troops remained in this position until the 23d, when we moved in the direction of Dallas, crossing the Etowah at Gillem's Bridge and bivouacking near Stilesborough, and on the 24th moved to Burnt Hickory, and on the 25th to near Dallas, going into position on the morning of the 26th with considerable skirmishing, which continued until about 10 a. m. of the 27th, when the brigade was withdrawn and formed in front of the division. Each brigade being deployed in two lines with this formation, supported by King's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, it moved through a thick wood for about three miles in search of the enemy's right flank. Having found it at 2.30 p. m., we remained in position until 4.30 for the other troops forming the expedition to be made ready.

This brigade, in two lines, was then pushed forward to attack the enemy, the other troops not moving. After skirmishing about 800 yards, the front line came upon and immediately engaged the enemy, when one of the most desperate engagements of my experience ensued. The first line was composed of two battalions; the one on the right, commanded by Lieut. Col. R. L. Kimberly, Forty-first Ohio Volunteers, was composed of his own regiment and the First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Major Stafford; the one on the left, by Col. O. H, Payne, One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio Volunteers, composed of his own regiment and Ninety-third Ohio Volunteers, under Colonel Bowman. The whole, under my own personal supervision, moved up within ten yards of the position in which the enemy was found in force. A slight irregularity in the ground gave a partial cover for our men. The second line, composed of two battalions, one under Col. W. W. Berry, Fifth Kentucky, composed of his own regiment and the Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Major Campbell; the other under Lieut. Col. James C. Foy, of the Twenty-third Kentucky, of his own regiment and the Sixth Kentucky, moved with the first line. On account of the thick wood it had changed direction to the left, so as to come in position directly on the left flank of the first line. It found no works and but slight resistance in its front, but upon presenting its flank to the enemy in front of the leading battalions it received a fire from that direction which checked it. My command had now lost 500 men in the attack and was powerless to push farther, although the enemy himself was partially broken. Believing our work well commenced, with certainty of the fullest success, I sent all of my staff in succession to bring forward the other lines of the column. In addition to these several members of regimental staffs were sent for the same purpose, some of whom were wounded while carrying the message. At last, forty minutes having elapsed since the beginning of the attack, the ammunition of my men being exhausted, and the enemy having been given time to bring forward a fresh brigade and attack strongly both my flanks, doubling them back, I was compelled to yield the ground, when I met for the first time the troops of the line in my rear, which was supposed, from the nature of the attack (in column), to have succeeded each other at short intervals. I also found that Colonel Scribner's brigade, which was to have supported my left, was operating, not in conjunction with me, but with the brigade next in my rear, so that two rebel regiments found no difficulty in attacking the rear of [424] my left battalion. I will here say that the Thirty-second Indiana, the first regiment I saw coming to my support, did so in detached fragments, and not as a regiment. None of the other troops except about fifty men of the Forty-ninth Ohio advanced as far as my lines during their desperate and unsupported battle. Colonel Payne, with a portion of his command, held his position, quite at the front, until after dark, when they were withdrawn. It is due the brave brigade which I have commanded during the entire war until within the past few days, and which has been in the front of every battle of the Army of the Cumberland, to say that this battle of the 27th of May is its first and only unsuccessful effort during the war, and at this time, as its dead list will show, went at its work with an honest good will which deserved a better result. I shall ever believe its part bravely and well done. To Colonels Berry and Payne and Lieutenant-Colonels Kimberly and Foy, since killed, and their brave commands my sincere thanks are due. A sketch of the battle-field is herewith appended. 2

The brigade was put in position near where it fought, and during the night the enemy having permanently established his lines in our front, we remained here until the morning of June 5. The enemy having retired from the front the night previous, we moved to a position near New Hope Church, where we remained until the 10th. From this date to the 22d the command moved forward at short intervals, taking up new positions and fortifying them as the enemy would take up new lines, losing a few men each day. On the 22d reached Kenesaw Mountain, or, more properly, the last position taken up before the enemy's retreat beyond Marietta. This position was separated but about 300 yards from the enemy's. We remained here maneuvering with picket-lines, losing some men every day, and on the 23d losing 4 officers and 64 men in moving the picket-line forward, until 3d of July. The enemy having retreated during the previous night we moved forward through Marietta, and on the 4th and 5th to Pace's Ferry, on the Chattahoochee River, the enemy having halted and fortified but one position in this distance. This brigade being in advance on the 5th, met the enemy's cavalry five miles from the river, but pushing on vigorously did not halt for them, and reached the ferry just as the enemy had cut loose one end of their pontoon bridge, which swung around, but was secured by my men three days afterwards. All of the command during the day was at different times on the skirmish line; and all the battalion commanders performed goQd service. Our losses were slight in all the battalions. Major Williston, Forty-first Ohio Volun teers, near the ferry, was wounded and disabled. We remained in this position until the 10th, during which time Colonel Foy, Twenty-third Kentucky, was wounded, from which he has since died. We then moved up the river about six miles, and on the 12th crossed the Chattahoochee at P. owers' Ferry and took up a position about one mile from it, putting up works on the 13th, where we remained until the 17th, when the division was moved down to Pace's Ferry, clearing the river-bank of the enemy to assist the Fourteenth Corps to cross, when we returned to the position of the morning and remained until the 18th, when we marched to Buck Head, taking up a position, and on the 19th moved to Peach Tree Creek, when, after repairing the bridge, the [425] brigade moved over and took up a position for the night, supported by Kimball's brigade. On the 20th we moved by a circuitous route about four miles to the left and took position on the right of Stanley. We fortified it on the 21st, the enemy falling back upon Atlanta during the night, and on the 22d we moved and took up our last position in front of the city.

Casualties have been frequent during the last four days. Good works and obstructions were made here, and with the exception of almost daily demonstration with picket-lines and artillery, but little occurred to mention in this report, up to the 17th of August, when I turned the command of the brigade over to Col. O. H. Payne, One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio, and reported for duty in this army.

I now render my sincere thanks to all the officers and men of the brigade for their universal bravery and good conduct. Of my battalion commanders, Colonel Foy, now dead, was a brave and earnest man.

Colonels Payne, Berry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kimberly have at.all times shown such intelligence and zeal in the execution of duty as to deserve the highest consideration of the Government. My staff has always rendered me most efficient service. Lieut. A. G. Bierce, my topographical officer, a fearless and trusty man, was severely wounded in the head before Kenesaw Mountain on the 23d of June. Capt. S. B. Eaton, One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio Volunteers, of my staff, was severely wounded while assisting at the crossing of Peach Tree Creek, July 19. He is an officer of rare intelligence and merit.

Major McKeehan, of the Sixth Indiana Infantry, was wounded and captured on the 27th of May at the battle of Pickett's Mills, and afterward died in the hands of the enemy. His regiment could ill afford his loss.

Since the beginning of the campaign, May 3, to the time I relinquished command, the casualties of the brigade have been as follows:


I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. B. Hazen, Brigadier-General. Capt. M. P. Bestow
, Assistant Adjutant-General.





1 See p. 426.

2 See p. 427.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 3rd (3)
August 17th (2)
May 27th (2)
September 15th, 1864 AD (1)
July 19th (1)
July 3rd (1)
June 23rd (1)
June 5th (1)
27th (1)
22nd (1)
21st (1)
20th (1)
15th (1)
13th (1)
5th (1)
4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: