No. 90. report of Brig. Gen. Richard W. Johnson, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations May 3-June 13 and July 13-August 7.
Hdqrs. First Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, Near Atlanta, Ga., August--, 1864.Captain : In accordance with military usage, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division from the opening of the campaign of the armies under command of Major-General Sherman down to the 13th of June, at which period I was compelled by a disability resulting from injuries received in action to turn over the command to Brigadier-General King: On the 3d of May, pursuant to instructions received from the major-general commanding corps, I moved from Graysville, Ga., to Ringgold, Ga., leaving an outpost of two regiments, the Nineteenth Illinois Infantry and Twenty-fourth Illinois Infantry, at Parker's Gap, to hold that pass until the advance of the troops from the direction of Cleveland should cover it. On the day but one following, these regiments having been relieved, were transferred to the brigade of General Turchin, in the Third Division. The 4th, 5th, and 6th of May was spent in bivouac near Ringgold, waiting the concentration of the army and completing our preparations for the campaign. On the 7th, leaving all transportation, save the ambulances and ordnance trains, I marched at daylight in rear of General Davis' division, by the main Ringgold and Dalton road, in the direction of Tunnel Hill, near Terrell's house. By direction of the major-general commanding corps, I filed to the right and formed my division, with two brigades on the line and one in reserve, on the right of General Davis' division, my right brigade (General Carlin's) resting across the East Chickamauga, but in good communication with my left, and reserve brigade by the bridge at Dunn's Mill, which lay directly in rear of the left of Carlin's second line. Later in the day,  General Davis having driven the enemy out of Tunnel Hill and within their works at Buzzard Roost Pass, I advanced my line, swinging to the left to conform to the movement of Davis' troops, and again formed line of battle as before, upon his right, my right brigade covering the Trickum road, near Widow Rogers' house. In this position my troops bivouacked for the night, strong pickets being thrown out to a considerable distance on all the roads in the direction of Trickum and Villanow. The 8th was occupied in maneuvering in front of Buzzard Roost, my final position being with my left resting near the high knob, known to us as Signal Hill, and my line stretching southwardly, so as to command and practically close up all roads leading out of Buzzard Roost Gap to the west and southwest. Toward evening I caused a section to be placed in position on the ridge which terminated the open field to the westward of the gap, and opened upon a line of the enemy's works beyond the pass. This, with the advance of part of General Davis' division and part of Wood's brigade, of Butterfield's division, to the ridge beyond the field, developed two batteries of determined strength, one upon the point of Chattoogata Mountain, to our right, the other in the rear of the pass, to our left, evidently in the enemy's main line. Early on the morning of the 9th I advanced Carlin's brigade across Mill Creek to relieve some of the regiments of Wood's brigade, which had been thrown in there on the evening previous, and was occupying the ground at the base of Chattoogata Mountain. About 11 a. m. I was, by direction of Major-General Palmer (he having gone to his headquarters in the rear sick), at department headquarters, to receive instructions, and heard it reported to Major-General Thomas, by an officer of General Wood's staff, that the troops of that command had felt all along Chattoogata; that they found but a small force there, and that in the judgment of this officer, it would not be difficult to carry the crest of the mountain by assault. To verify the report of this officer, I was instructed to advance Carlin's brigade, so as, if possible, to clear the mountain to its top, supporting him with another brigade; this was accordingly done. Carlin, with a strong but well-extended skirmish line, seized the long, isolated ridge, which, lying south of the railroad, almost closes up the westerly mouth of the gap, and swept the mountain of the enemy's skirmishers clear to the foot of the abrupt palisade which crowns the slope. In the hope that some path might be found at which we could force our way, relying confidently on the tried troops of Carlin's brigade, to advance wherever footing could be found, I ordered my reserve brigade (General King's) across Mill Creek, to within close supporting distance. A careful reconnaissance by General Carlin all along his line, and to a considerable distance below his right, disclosed no practicable footway to the crest of the ridge. An attempt to jump round the nose of the mountain, so as to ascend from the reverse side, which was supposed to be less abrupt, developed a heavy force of infantry and artillery, strongly intrenched, in our front, upon the line by which we must at first advance, and so posted as to enfilade us wherever we should wheel to ascend the mountain. To have assaulted this position would have brought my command within the fire of nearly the whole of the enemy's artillery, and that of perhaps a superior force of infantry, without the possibility of receiving adequate support. To attempt to carry the mountain without first clearing this position would have been hopeless; accordingly, after a stubborn and well-pressed attack, by a strong line of skirmishers from some of Carlin's and Scribner's regiments, had  verified my own previous observations and the report of Brigadier-General Carlin, I ordered the attempt to be given up. My loss from the enemy's artillery in this affair was unusually heavy, the battery on Chattoogata Mountain and one near their left, and which I judge to be on the eastern slope of Rocky Face, burst their shell among us with remarkable accuracy. May 10, we remained in the position in which the previous night had left us, skirmishing being kept up all day along my whole line. During the day I caused the bridges over Mill Creek (which, owing to the dam thrown across the stream within the gap by the enemy, was here too deep to be conveniently forded) to be repaired and others built to facilitate the withdrawal of my troops in case such a movement: should be ordered, or their re-enforcement in case it should be thought advisable to renew the attempt to carry the mountain. Late in the evening, having obtained the consent of the majorgeneral commanding corps to the withdrawal of one brigade, I gave orders that Scribner should relieve Carlin's brigade and then strengthen his position by intrenchments, and that Carlin, upon being relieved, should withdraw across the creek to the position from which he had at first advanced. Before these orders could be carried into execution, however, a heavy rain-storm coming on, I consented, at the request of General Carlin and Colonel Scribner, that the movement should be postponed until morning, directing Carlin, however, to keep an eye upon the bridge, and to cross at once and notify me in case there should be indications of a rise in the stream sufficient to carry them away. The night passed, however, without the anticipated disaster. At 3.40 p. m. of the 11th, in pursuance of orders received from the major-general commanding corps, I sent off my wagon train, with the other trains of the corps, toward Snake Creek Gap, to which place, on the 12th, I marched with my division, following that of Brigadier-General Baird, and arrived at a late hour in the night. Early on the morning of the 13th, pursuant to instructions received during the night previous, I replenished my supply of ammunition, issued rations, and got my troops under arms ready to march, but owing to the crowded condition of the only road from our position into Sugar Valley, it was nearly noon before we got fairly in motion. I moved out on the Resaca road about one mile, and then, under the direction and personal supervision of the major-general commanding corps, formed to the left of this road in double line, Carlin's brigade on the right, King's on the left, and Scribner's in reserve (then out as skirmishers), and advanced in a direction nearly east for about four miles over a very broken and heavily wooded country, the last mile of this distance my skirmishers driving those of the enemy before them. About one mile beyond the military road, constructed by the enemy from Dalton to Calhoun, we found the enemy in force and strongly posted, and the purpose of the movement being, as I understood, accomplished, I halted, by order of Major-General Palmer, corrected my lines, and waited for further instructions. My division remained in this position skirmishing with the enemy until, late in the evening, relieved by that of Major-General Butterfield. My instructions were as soon as relieved to form on the left of General Butterfield's division, my line being slightly refused from his, but it was found impossible at the late hour at which his troops got into position to form the new line with any probability of its approximating to correctness as to position, or scarcely as to direction. At daybreak on the following morning,  however, I formed my lines as directed, connecting my left with General Baird's division. The relative position of my brigades remained the same as on the 13th. Having met Major-General Palmer on the field, he informed me that the Fourteenth Corps, General Davis' division being in reserve, the Twenty-third Corps and Fourth Corps to their left, would, as soon as the proper disposition could be completed, swing to the right on the left of General Butterfield as a pivot through an arc of 130 degrees or thereabouts, or, at any rate, until the works and position of the enemy should be developed, and directed me to hold my troops in readiness for the movement. My division began to move at 9 o'clock precisely; the advance was necessarily slow, owing to the extremely rugged character of the ground passed over, the dense underbrush, and the necessity for deliberation on my part in order that the troops to the extrenme left might follow the movements. My left having swung around by a march of something like one mile, I found the enemy strongly posted and fortified on the hither slope and near the crest of a long, elevated ridge, their right slightly refused from the direction of my line. In front of their position was an open field of some 400 yards wide, sloping gradually down to a creek directly in my front. The general course of this creek in front of my line was nearly parallel to the enemy's works; the bottom was in some places miry with a considerable depth of water — in others quite the reverse. its crooked channel filled in some places with a dense underbrush, in others obstructed by fallen trees and drift. It afforded a serious obstacle to the advance of troops in line, as the result proved, as the land rose immediately from the creek in an abrupt bluff of nearly the same height as the enemy's position beyond, and then gradually sloped down again to the westward. With my skirmishers posted along the creek, I reformed my lines in the woods behind the slope, to the rear of it, and awaited instructions. At about 11 a. m. I received notice from the major-general commanding corps that as soon as the left should get into position an assault would be made along the whole line. I was ordered to advance as soon as by the firing I should be warned of the movement of the troops on my immediate left. Accordingly, about 11.30, heavy firing on the lines of Baird's division indicating that his troops were advancing, my two brigades in the line moved forward, Scribner's having already, in anticipation of the movement, been brought up into close supporting distance. General Carlin, who lay very near the creek mentioned, threw forward his skirmishers, driving those of the enemy within their works, and moved forward his lines across the creek. No sooner had his first line emerged from the cover of the woods than the enemy-infantry and artillery-opened upon it with terrible effect. Notwithstanding this, however, Carlin pushed forward both lines beyond the creek and nearly half way across the open field. The passage of the creek had, however, sadly disordered his lines, and finding it impossible to reform them while advancing so rapidly as the emergency of occasion required, hopeless, moreover, of holding his position even if the assault should succeed, Carlin fell back to the cover of the creek, the eastern bank of which offered in some places all the protection of a well-constructed fortification. Here he remained, by my direction, all day, keeping up a desultory but effective fire in reply to the enemy's. King's brigade, which lay considerably farther from the creek than Carlin's, did not advance so far, and, when it, was seen that Carlin had suffered a repulse,  halted. Two 12-pounder guns of the enemy's in my front had opened upon our advance, and continued their fire subsequently, at intervals, with damaging effect. As soon as a practicable road could be found I brought forward two pieces of Captain Dilger's battery, I, First Ohio Light Artillery, and caused them to be placed in position on the crest of the bluff overlooking the creek and near my center. The admirable practice of this section, conducted under the supervision of Captain Dilger in person, soon closed out the enemy's pieces, and was quite as annoying to them as theirs had been before to us. More than once their infantry, driven from their works by Dilger's shell, were shot down by my sharpshooters before they could gain the cover of the works in their rear. Subsequently I brought the whole of this battery into position at the same place. In this affair General Carlin's brigade suffered severely, losing considerably over 200 in killed and wounded, this including many valuable officers. The loss in General King's brigade was comparatively light. On the evening of this day Scribner's brigade was thrown into line on the left of King to relieve Turchin's brigade. On Sunday his line was extended so as to relieve Van Derveer's brigade, and Carlin, who had been relieved on the evening previous by McCook's brigade, of Davis' division, was put in on Scribner's left, to relieve Hovey's division. Sharp skirmishing was kept up all day on my line, from which both my own troops and the enemy's suffered slightly. My artillery (twelve pieces) played all day with precision and, I have good reason to think, effect. Monday, May 16, I marched to Resaca and bivouacked in rear of the village. May 17, crossed the Oostenaula and marched by Damascus Church through Calhoun toward Adairsville; bivouacked at 11.30 p. m. about seven miles south of Calhoun, on the left of General Baird's division. May 18, marched through Adairsville, following, as on the day previous, Baird's division; bivouacked for the night at 12 midnight on the railroad within three miles of Kingston. May 19, marched in the rear of Baird into Kingston. Here, at 2.30, I was ordered by Major-General Palmer to move as rapidly as possible to seize a bridge (Gillem's) over the Etowah, south of Kingston, toward which a force of the enemy was supposed to be making, either to secure their retreat or to destroy it. Reaching the bridge at 4 p. m., I found some of Garrard's cavalry, which had passed me, already there. I formed my lines here so as to cover all approaches and remained until morning, seeing nothing of the enemy. May 20, marched by the Cassville road four miles, passing the Confederate saltpeter works, which I caused to be destroyed by my rear guard, and formed on the right of Baird's division, my left resting on the railroad, my right considerably refused. May 21 and 22, my division lay in bivouac. On the 22d my preparations for the ensuing march were arranged. By stripping my regiment of all baggage, except that which might be carried on the persons of officers or their horses, and sending back the surplus, I was able to provide transportation for the twenty days rations and forage required by the orders of Major-General Sherman. On the 23d I marched, crossing Etowah River at the Island Ford, bivouacked in line and on Euharlee Creek, my left resting immediately in rear of Barnett's Mill, and my right on the Cedartown road. On the 24th, at 10 a. m., I moved by my right, crossing Euharlee Creek, not fordable, on the rickety bridge near Widow Smith's house, which, however, it was found necessary to repair before I could pass my artillery  over it. Within two miles of this my march was delayed until late in the afternoon by General Stanley's column, which I found passing into the same road from the left, in front of me. I did not make more than two miles beyond this, the road being very difficult and blocked with the wagons, ambulances, and artillery of the troops which had preceded me. At 8 p. m., in the midst of a driving rainstorm, which lasted until 11 p. m., I went into bivouac on the Raccoon Creek. The 25th was spent in clearing the way for our trains by assisting the wagons of the Twentieth Corps over the difficult hills which border Raccoon Creek. By 10.30 o'clock that night all of my wagons were across and in park beyond my troops, toward Burnt Hickory. At 1 a. m. of the 26th I marched again, reaching Burnt Hickory before break of day. Two miles south of this, on the Dallas road; at 7 a. m., under instructions from Major-General Palmer, I halted in order to enable him to communicate with Major-General Thomas. At 11.30 a. m. we renewed the march, and early in the afternoon I formed my troops in rear of the Fourth Corps, about three miles east of Pumpkin Vine Creek, which we crossed by the bridge near Owen's Mill. On the 27th two brigades of my division participated in the assault upon the enemy's right, being in support to the division of Brigadier-General Wood. General Wood's division was formed in column by brigade, each brigade being in two lines. General King's brigade was formed in the same manner in rear of Wood's, and Scribner's at first on the left of King's; before the assault finally commenced, however, he was advanced to the left of Wood's center brigade, and in this position advanced with the column. For the particulars of their participation in this affair, as well as in the attack made upon our lines by the enemy on the night following, in which Scribner's brigade behaved with distinguished gallantry, I respectfully refer to the report of Brigadier-General King and Colonel Scribner, which, I presume, have before this been forwarded. When the assault of the 27th had failed, I withdrew my division to the position upon which thle column had originally formed for the assault, a short distance to the south of Pickett's Mills, on what I understand to be the Little Pumpkin Vine Creek. That night Carlin's brigade, which had before been in reserve during the day, was placed in position on the extreme left. My line was an exceedingly bad one, but it seemed impracticable to correct it. Here the division remained, skirmishing heavily with the enemy at periods and suffering considerable loss, until the evacuation by the enemy of their position on the 5th of June. From the morning of May 29 to the morning of June 6, I was unfitted for duty by the injuries before alluded to, and during this time the division was in command of Brigadier-General King. For the operations of this period I must, therefore, refer to his report. On the morning of the 6th of June I marched, following Baird's division toward Acworth. At dark I found my lines connecting with General Hooker's corps on my right and General Baird's division on the left, and bivouacked near John Pritchard's house. At this place we rested during the 7th, 8th, and 9th. On the morning of the 10th we marched, passing by Denham's house, and thence to Owen's Mill. Just in front of Newton's house, one mile south of Owen's, I was put into position, by a staff officer of Major-General Palmer, on the left of Brigadier-General Baird's division, whose skirmishers had already found the enemy. My skirmishers were thrown out to connect with those of General Baird's line, but we remained in that position all night  without any indications of the enemy. On the 11th, under the direction of the major-general commanding corps, I moved my troops about one division front to the left, forming in two lines along the crest of a wooded ridge, my center resting just in rear of Whitfield's house. With great difficulty, owing to the continuous heavy rains of the week previous, and the emaciated condition of my artillery horses, I got both batteries in favorable position upon the line. Late in the evening I was obliged to change my line, about one brigade front, to the left and front, to conform to a change in the position of Brigadier-General Davis' division. I was not able to move my batteries onto the new line. We remained in this position during the 12th and 13th without seeing anything of the enemy, although there was continuous skirmishing and occasional artillery firing on my right and left. My thanks are due to my brigade commanders, Brigadier-General King, Brigadier-GeneralCarlin, and Col. B. F. Scribner, and to my chief of artillery, Capt. L. H. Drury, for the cheerfulness and good judgment with which they have at all times, executed my orders, and furthered the objects of every movement; as also to the officers of my staff, particularly Surg. S. Marks, medical director; Capt. E. F. Deaton, commissary of subsistence; Lieut. John Bohan, acting assistant quartermaster, for the uniform fidelity and intelligence with which they have discharged their duties. June 13, I was compelled to leave my command on account of injuries received in battle, and was absent until July 13, when I resumed command of my division. July 14, 15, and 16, quiet,with occasional artillery firing. July 17, crossed the Chattahoochee and found General Davis in line, about 500 yards in front, upon one of a series of ridges which run in every direction, in deep woods. The Third Brigade (Colonel Moore commanding) was formed on the left of General Davis; his skirmishers were advanced; the enemy retired slowly. The First Brigade (Col. A. G. McCook) was formed on the left of the Third, and King's brigade was formed in reserve with the artillery. At 4 p. m. Colonel Moore advanced his line southeast on the Buck Head road, over a veryTough and rugged country, to Nancy's Creek, where he bivouacked for the night. July 18, at 7 a. m. I directed McCook to take the advance; skirmishing commenced at 9 a. m. and continued, the enemy falling back slowly until about 2 p. m., when line of battle was formed on the Buck Head and Howells Ferry road. A heavy line of skirmishers were thrown forward to drive the enemy beyond Peach Tree Creek. On retiring beyond the creek the bridge was destroyed by the rebels, and they opened up a vigorous fire with shell and case-shot upon the reserves. July 19, bridges were constructed to cross the command, and on July 20 the creek was crossed, the troops thrown in line, and temporary breast-works constructed. About 3 p. m. a heavy fire began along the whole line of the Twentieth Corps, gradually approaching us, and finally involving my First Brigade (McCook's), which repulsed every attack made upon it, with slight loss. My efficient and gallant assistant adjutant-general, E. T. Wells, was severely wounded. July 21, about 3 p. m. my line was ordered forward, the enemy was driven from his rifle-pits, and back over a ridge, in which my entire line intrenched itself. July 22, at 2 a. m. my skirmishers and main line --occupied the first line of the enemy's defenses of Atlanta. At 8 a. m. the column was put in motion on the direct road to Atlanta. When near the city a heavy skirmish line was encountered. Instaritly  the troops were placed in line of battle, the artillery brought forward, and a heavy fire directed upon the enemy in plain view. The troops at once intrenched themselves. From the 22d July till August 3, the troops were engaged advancing their lines and strengthening their position. August 3, was relieved by Twentieth Corps and transferred to the right of Army of the Tennessee. August 4, King's brigade made a reconnaissance to the right and returned. August 5, moved out to the Sandtown road, thence to the left, and came up in rear of Davis' division, forming the reserve of the line. Late in the evening made a reconnaissance to the right to find the flank of the rebel lines, which was undertaken too late to accomplish much. On the 6th relieved General Hascall's division, which was moved to the right to join its proper corps. August 7, was ordered to assume command of the Fourteenth Army Corps, by virtue of seniority. In this hurried report I am unable to do the troops justice. When the campaign ends will forward a list of those whose good conduct deserves special mention. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. W. Johnson, Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
Capt. A. C. McCLURG, Asst. Adjt. Gen. and Chief of Staff, 14th Army Corps.