Reports of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, U.S. Army, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi.
MAY 1-SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--The Atlanta (Georgia) Campaign
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/1 [S# 72]
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Acworth, Ga., June 8, 1864.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
I have heretofore telegraphed you almost daily the progress of events in this quarter, and as I propose to delay here today and it may be tomorrow to afford time to repair railroad bridge across the Etowah and for other combinations at a distance, I propose now merely to report in general terms the state of affairs for the information of the lieutenant-general commanding the armies of the United States. Having made my orders at Nashville for the concentration of the Armies of the Cumberland, Ohio, and Tennessee at and near Chattanooga by May 5, according to the programme of Lieutenant-General Grant, I repaired to Chattanooga in person on the 29th of April, and remained there until May 6, by which date General Thomas had grouped his army at and about Ringgold, General Schofield his at and near Cleveland, and General McPherson at and near Gordon's Mills on the Chickamauga. May 6, all the armies moved forward, General Thomas on Tunnel Hill, a gravelly range of hills covering the mouth of the famous Buzzard Roost Pass through Rocky Face Ridge; General Schofield along the east of that range approaching Dalton from the north, and General McPherson aiming for Resaca, eighteen miles south of Dalton, through Snake Creek Gap and Sugar Valley. The enemy lay at Dalton, holding the Buzzard Roost Pass, the line of Mill Creek to the north, and his line of railway back toward Atlanta. My purpose was that General McPherson should reach the railway at Resaca, destroy it to Johnston's rear, and then take up a strong defensive position near the mouth of the gap, and to operate on the flank of the enemy as he retreated. General McPherson reached Resaca with little difficulty but did not break the road. As soon as I learned this I left General Howard's corps (the Fourth) with cavalry to watch the Buzzard Roost Pass and moved the whole army to Resaca. From the Rocky Face Ridge the enemy had a full view of our movement and a shorter and better line to reach Resaca, so that when on the 13th May I reached Resaca the enemy had evacuated Dalton and occupied Resaca in force. I did not hesitate to attack him though strongly intrenched. Sending a division (General Sweeny's) of the Sixteenth Corps with a pontoon train to Lay's Ferry with orders to cross the Oostenaula, there to threaten and if necessary attack the enemy's line at Calhoun, I gradually enveloped the enemy in Resaca, and pressed him so hard that he evacuated in the night of May 15 and retreated by the good roads south. He made a short stand at Adairsville and made extensive preparation at Cassville, but on our approach in strength he retreated south of the Etowah River by the Allatoona Pass. The country along the Etowah is rich in wheat fields and in minerals.
Occupying Rome and Kingston I delayed until the 23d of May to fill our wagons and replenish ammunition. I knew the strength of Allatoona Pass, having ridden through it twenty years ago, and knew it would reduce our strength by forcing us to operate by the head of a single column. I determined not to attempt it but to pass the range by other more devious and difficult natural roads that would admit of more equal terms with the enemy should he attempt to meet us. Accordingly, on the 23d, General Thomas was ordered to move via Euharlee, Stilesborough, and Burnt Hickory on Dallas; General Schofield to cross the Etowah higher up and keep on General Thomas' left, via Richland Creek and Huntsville, while General McPherson crossed at the mouth of Connasene Creek and moved to the right of Dallas, via Van Wert. General Jeff. C. Davis' division, of General Thomas' army, had occupied Rome from Resaca, moving by the west of the Oostenaula. General McPherson was ordered to relieve General Davis by a brigade of his, and General Davis also marched from Rome via Van Wert. All the columns reached their destined points on the 25th, and we found the enemy in force on all the roads occupying difficult ground, extending along the Dallas and Acworth road, beginning about two miles northeast of Dallas and extending full five miles. As soon as the head of General Thomas' column, General Hooker's corps, could be got well into position, I ordered it to attack violently and secure the position at New Hope Church, which would have broken the line of the enemy in two and given us great advantage. General Hooker attacked well and drove the enemy back to the very road, but a pitchy dark night set in and by the next day the enemy had strengthened his position by strong breast-works that were too serious to attempt. Accordingly I ordered the whole army to deploy forward, conforming our line substantially to that of the enemy, General McPherson and General Davis, who were at and in front of Dallas, to close to the left of General Hooker. The ground was very difficult, being densely wooded and composed of ridges and spurs of flinty ground, very barren as to forage and difficult for roads. It took us nearly a week to feel well up to the enemy, who continued, of course, to strengthen his position, so that by the 31st of May it became necessary for me to order the direct assault or to turn the enemy's works. The railroad and main Georgia road being to our left, I resolved to pass the enemy s right flank and place the whole army in front of Allatoona Pass. General McPherson was ordered to draw off from Dallas and move up six miles and replace General Hooker on our right flank in front of New Hope Church, General Thomas and General Schofield to move to the left, making as much eastward as possible. General McPher-son got up about noon of June 1 and the general movement began, but heavy rains set in, delaying us so that General Schofield did not actually envelop the enemy's extreme right until late in the afternoon of June 3; but in the mean time, coincident with the first move that could indicate to the enemy our purpose, I sent direct to Allatoona Pass all my available cavalry, General Stoneman to secure the east end and General Garrard the west end--both of whom succeeded. During the 4th it rained very hard and the night was dark and stormy, but in the morning the enemy was gone and we had full possession of Allatoona Pass and the railroad as far down as Kenesaw Mountain, which is a detached mountain near Marietta. This is what I was contending for, and I now have put a strong construction party at work on the Etowah bridge. Our wagons are back for forage and supplies. General Blair's column is just arriving, and to-morrow I expect to be ready to move on. We hold in some force Dalton, Kingston, Rome, Resaca, and Allatoona Pass.
I am fully aware that these detachments weaken me in the exact proportion our enemy has gained strength by picking up his detachments. Johnston has managed to skillfully keep up the spirit of his army and people by representing his retreat as strategy, but I doubt if they can overlook the fact that he has abandoned to us the best wheat-growing region of Georgia and all its most valuable iron-works and foundries.
I send you copies of my field orders which will give pretty good idea of the strategy on our part, and send you a file of Atlanta papers up to the 5th instant.
I cannot now undertake to describe our various conflicts, but will do so at a later period. Our losses and detachments are fully replaced by veteran regiments and detachments that have joined, and the two good old divisions of the Seventeenth Corps that General Blair has just brought up.
I am, with respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff, Washington, D.C.
GENERAL: I have heretofore from day to day by telegraph kept the War Department and General-in-Chief advised of the progress of events, but now it becomes necessary to review the whole campaign which has resulted in the capture and occupation of the city of Atlanta.
On the 14th day of March, 1864, at Memphis, Tenn., I received notice from General Grant, at Nashville, that he had been commissioned Lieutenant-General and Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States, which would compel him to go East, and that I had been appointed to succeed him as commander of the Division of the Mississippi. He summoned me to Nashville for a conference, and I took my departure the same day and reached Nashville, via Cairo, on the 17th, and accompanied him on his journey eastward as far as Cincinnati. We had a full and complete understanding of the policy and plans for the ensuing campaign, covering a vast area of country, my part of which extended from Chattanooga to Vicksburg. I returned to Nashville, and on the 25th began a tour of inspection, visiting Athens, Decatur, Huntsville, and Larkin's Ferry, Ala.; Chattanooga, Loudon, and Knoxville, Tenn. During this visit I had interviews with General McPherson, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, at Huntsville; Major-General Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, at Chattanooga, and General Schofield, commanding the Army of the Ohio, at Knoxville. We arranged in general terms the lines of communication to be guarded, the strength of the several columns and garrisons, and fixed the 1st day of May as the time when all things should be ready.
Leaving these officers to complete the details of organization and preparation, I returned again to Nashville on the 2d of April, and gave my personal attention to the question of supplies. I found the depots at Nashville abundantly supplied, and the railroads in very fair order, and that steps had already been taken to supply cars and locomotives to fill the new and increased demand of the service, but the impoverished condition of the inhabitants of East Tennessee, more especially in the region around about Chattanooga, had forced the commanding officers of the posts to issue food to the people. I was compelled to stop this, for a simple calculation showed that a single railroad could not feed the armies and the people too, and of course the army had the preference, but I endeavored to point the people to new channels of supply. At first my orders operated very hard, but the prolific soil soon afforded early vegetables, and ox-wagons hauled meat and bread from Kentucky, so that no actual suffering resulted, and I trust that those who clamored at the cruelty and hardships of the day have already seen in the results a perfect justification of my course. At once the store-houses at Chattanooga began to fill so that by the 1st of May a very respectable quantity of food and forage had been accumulated there, and from that day to this stores have been brought forward in wonderful abundance, with a surplus that has enabled me to feed the army well during the whole period of time, although the enemy has succeeded more than once in breaking our road for many miles at different points.
During the month of April I received from Lieutenant-General Grant a map, with a letter of instructions, which is now at Nashville, but a copy will be procured and made a part of this report. Subsequently I received from him notice that he would move from his camp about Culpeper, Va., on the 5th of May, and he wanted me to do the same from Chattanooga. My troops were still dispersed, and the cavalry, so necessary to our success, was yet collect* ing horses at Nicholasville, Ky., and Columbia, Tenn.
On the 27th of April I put all the troops in motion toward Chattanooga, and on the next day went there in person. My aim and purpose was to make the Army of the Cumberland 50,000 men, that of the Tennessee 35,000, and that of the Ohio 15,000. These figures were approximated, but never reached, the Army of the Tennessee failing to receive certain divisions that were still kept on the Mississippi River, resulting from the unfavorable issue of the Red River expedition. But on the 1st of May the effective strength of the several armies for offensive purposes was about as follows:
Army of the Cumberland, Major-General Thomas commanding: Infantry, 54,568; artillery, 2,377; cavalry, 3,828; total, 60,773. Guns, 130.
Army of the Tennessee, Major-General McPherson commanding: Infantry, 22,437; artillery, 1,404; cavalry, 624; total, 24,465. Guns, 96.
Army of the Ohio, Major-General Schofield commanding: Infantry, 11,183; artillery, 679; cavalry, 1,697; total, 13,559. Guns, 28.
Grand aggregate: Troops, 98,797; guns, 254.
About these figures have been maintained during the campaign, the number of men joining from furlough and hospitals about compensating for the loss in battle and from sickness.
These armies were grouped on the morning of May 6 as follows: That of the Cumberland at and near Ringgold; that of the Tennessee at Gordon's Mills, on the Chickamauga; and that of the Ohio near Red Clay, on the Georgia line, north of Dalton. The enemy lay in and about Dalton, superior to me in cavalry (Wheeler's), and with three corps of infantry and artillery, viz: Hardee's, Hood's, and Polk's, the whole commanded by General Joe Johnston, of the Confederate Army. I estimated the cavalry under Wheeler at about 10,000, and the infantry and artillery about 45,000 to 50,000 men. To strike Dalton in front was impracticable, as it was covered by an inaccessible ridge known as the Rocky Face, through which was a pass between Tunnel Hill and Dalton known as the Buzzard Roost, through which lay the railroad and wagon road. It was narrow, well obstructed by abatis, and flooded by water caused by dams across Mill Creek. Batteries also commanded it in its whole length from the spurs on either side, and more especially from a ridge at the farther end like a traverse directly across its débouché. It was, therefore, necessary to turn it. On its north front the enemy had a strong line of works behind Mill Creek, so that my attention was at once directed to the south. In that direction I found Snake Creek Gap, affording me a good practicable way to reach Resaca, a point on the enemy's railroad line of communication, eighteen miles below Dalton. Accordingly I ordered General McPherson to move rapidly from his position at Gordon's Mills, via Ship's Gap, Villanow, and Snake Creek Gap directly on Resaca, or the railroad at any point below Dalton, and to make a bold attack. After breaking the railroad well he was ordered to fall back to a strong defensive position near Snake Creek, and stand ready to fall on the enemy's flank when he retreated, as I judged he would. During the movement General Thomas was to make a strong feint of attack in front, while General Schofield pressed down from the north. General Thomas moved from Ringgold on the 7th, occupying Tunnel Hill, facing the Buzzard Roost Gap, meeting with little opposition, and pushing the enemy's cavalry well through the gap. General McPherson reached Snake Creek Gap on the 8th, completely surprising a brigade of cavalry which was coming to watch and hold it, and on the 9th General Schofield pushed down close on Dalton from the north, while General Thomas renewed his demonstration against Buzzard Roost and Rocky Face Ridge, pushing it almost to a battle. One division (General Newton's) of the Fourth Corps (General Howard's) carried the ridge, and turning south toward Dalton found the crest too narrow and too well protected by rock epaulements to enable him to reach the gorge or pass. Another division (General Geary's) of the Twentieth Corps (General Hooker's) also made a bold push for the summit to the south of the pass, but the narrow road as it approached the summit was too strongly held by the enemy to be carried. This, however, was only designed as a demonstration, and worked well, for General McPherson was thereby enabled to march within a mile of Resaca almost unopposed. He found Resaca too strong to be carried by assault, and although there were many good roads leading from north to south, endangering his left flank, from the direction of Dalton, he could find no road by which he could rapidly cross over to the railroad, and accordingly he fell back and took strong position near the east end of Snake Creek Gap. I was somewhat disappointed at the result, still appreciated the advantage gained, and on the 10th ordered General Thomas to send General Hooker s corps to Snake Creek Gap in support of General McPher-son, and to follow with another corps (the Fourteenth, General Palmer's), leaving General Howard with the Fourth Corps to continue to threaten Dalton in front, while the rest of the army moved rapidly through Snake Creek Gap.
On the same day General Schofield was ordered to follow by the same route, and on the 11th the whole army excepting General Howard's corps and some cavalry left to watch Dalton, was in motion on the west side of Rocky Face Ridge for Snake Creek Gap and Resaca. The next day we moved against Resaca, General McPher-son on the direct road, preceded by General Kilpatrick's cavalry, General Thomas to come up on his left, and General Schofield on his. General Kilpatrick met and drove the enemy's cavalry from a cross-road within two miles of Resaca, but received a wound which disabled him, and gave the command of his brigade to Colonel Murray, who, according to his orders, wheeled out of the road, leaving General McPherson to pass. General McPherson struck the enemy's infantry pickets near Resaca and drove them within their fortified lines, and occupied a ridge of bald hills, his right on the Oostenaula, about two miles below the railroad bridge, and his left abreast the town. General Thomas came up on his left facing Camp Creek, and General Schofield broke his way through the dense forest to General Thomas' left. Johnston had left Dalton and General Howard entered it and pressed his rear. Nothing saved Johnston's army at Resaca but the impracticable nature of the country, which made the passage of troops across the valley almost impossible. This fact enabled his army to reach Resaca from Dalton along the comparatively good road, constructed beforehand partly from the topographical nature of the country and partly from the foresight of the rebel chief. At all events, on the 14th of May, we found the rebel army in a strong position behind Camp Creek, occupying the forts at Resaca and his right on some high chestnut hills, to the north of the town. I at once ordered a pontoon bridge to be laid across the Oostenaula at Lay's Ferry in the direction of Calhoun; a division of the Sixteenth Corps, commanded by General Sweeny, to cross and threaten Calhoun; also, the cavalry division of General Garrard to move from its position at Villanow down toward Rome to cross the Oostenaula and break the railroad below Calhoun and above Kingston, if possible, and with the main army I pressed against Resaca at all points. General McPherson got across Camp Creek, near its mouth, and made a lodgment close up to the enemy's works on hills that commanded, with short-range artillery, the railroad and trestle bridge, and General Thomas pressing close along Camp Creek Valley threw General Hooker's corps across the head of the creek to the main Dalton road and down it close to Resaca. General Schofield came up close on his left, and a heavy battle ensued during the afternoon and evening of the 15th, during which General Hooker drove the enemy from several strong hills, captured a 4-gun battery and many prisoners. That night Johnston escaped, retreating south across the Oostenaula, and the next morning we entered the town in time to save the road bridge, but the railroad bridge was burned. The whole army started in pursuit, General Thomas directly on his heels, General McPherson by Lay's Ferry, and General Schofield by obscure roads to the left. We found in Resaca another 4-gun battery and a good lot of stores.
General McPherson during the 16th got across at Lay's Ferry. General Thomas had to make some additional bridges at Resaca, but General Schofield had more trouble, and made a wide circuit to the left by Fite's and Field's Ferries across the Conesauga and Coosawattee Rivers, which form the Oostenaula.
On the 17th all the armies moved south by as many different roads as we could find, and General Thomas had sent by my orders a division (General Jeff. C. Davis) along the west bank of the Oostenaula to Rome. Near Adairsville we again found signs of the rebel army and of a purpose to fight, and about sunset of that day General Newton's division in the advance had a pretty sharp encounter with his rear guard, but the next morning he was gone, and we pushed on through Kingston to a point four miles beyond, where we found him again in force on ground comparatively open and well adapted to a grand battle. We made the proper dispositions, General Schofield approaching Cassville from the north, to which point General Thomas had also directed General Hooker's corps, and I had drawn General McPherson's army from Woodland to Kingston to be in close support.
On the 19th the enemy was in force about Cassville with strong forts, but as our troops converged on him he again retreated in the night-time across the Etowah River, burning the road and railroad bridges near Cartersville, but leaving us in complete possession of the most valuable country above the Etowah River. Holding General Thomas' army about Cassville, General McPherson's about Kingston, and General Schofield's at Cassville Depot and toward the Etowah bridge, I gave the army a few days' rest and also time to bring forward supplies for the next stage of the campaign.
In the mean time General Jeff. C. Davis had got possession of Rome with its forts, some eight or ten guns of heavy caliber, and its valuable mills and foundries. We also secured possession of two good bridges across the Etowah River near Kingston, giving us the means of crossing toward the south. Satisfied that the enemy could and would hold us in check at the Allatoona Pass, I resolved, without even attempting it in front, to turn it by a circuit to the right, and, having supplied our wagons for twenty days' absence from our railroad, I left a garrison at Rome and Kingston, and on the 23d put the army in motion for Dallas. General McPherson crossed the Etowah at the mouth of Connasene Creek, near Kingston, and moved from his position to the south of Dallas via Van Wert. General Davis' division moved directly from Rome for Dallas via Van Wert. General Thomas took the road via Euharlee and Burnt Hickory, while General Schofield moved by other roads more to the east, aiming to come upon General Thomas' left. General Thomas' head of column skirmished with the enemy's cavalry about Burnt Hickory, and captured a courier with a letter of General Johnston's showing he had detected the movement and was preparing to meet us about Dallas. The country was very rugged, mountainous, and densely wooded, with few and obscure roads.
On the 25th May General Thomas was moving from Burnt Hickory for Dallas, his troops on three roads, General Hooker having the advance. When he approached the Pumpkin Vine Creek, on the main Dallas road, he found a respectable force of the enemy's cavalry at a bridge to his left. He rapidly pushed them across the creek, saving the bridge, though on fire, and followed out eastward about two miles, where he first encountered infantry, whose pickets he drove some distance, until he encountered the enemy's line of battle, and his leading division, General Geary's, had a severe encounter. General Hooker's two other divisions were on other roads and he ordered them in, although the road he was then following by reason of the presence of the enemy, led him north of Dallas about four miles. It was near 4 p.m. before General Hooker got his whole corps well in hand, when he deployed two divisions, and by my orders made a bold push to secure possession of a point known as the New Hope Church, where three roads met from Acworth, Marietta, and Dallas. Here a hard battle was fought, and the enemy was driven back to New Hope Church, but, having hastily thrown up some parapets and a stormy, dark night having set in, General Hooker was unable to drive the enemy from these roads. By the next morning we found the enemy well intrenched substantially in front of the road leading from Dallas to Marietta. We were consequently compelled to make dispositions on a larger 'scale. General McPherson was moved up to Dallas, General Thomas was deployed against New Hope Church, and General Schofield was directed toward our left, so as to strike and turn the enemy's right. General Garrard's cavalry operated with General McPherson, and General Stoneman with General Schofield. General McCook looked to our rear. Owing to the difficult nature of the ground and dense forests it took us several days to deploy close to the enemy, when I resolved gradually to work toward our left, and when all things were ready to push for the railroad east of Allatoona. In making our developments before the enemy about New Hope many severe, sharp encounters occurred between parts of the army, details of which will be given at length in the reports of subordinate commanders.
On the 28th General McPherson was on the point of closing to his left on General Thomas, in front of New Hope Church, to enable me with the rest of the army to extend still more to the left, and to envelop the enemy's right, when suddenly the enemy made a bold and daring assault on him at Dallas. Fortunately our men had erected good breast-works, and gave the enemy a terrible and bloody repulse. After a few days' delay for effect, I renewed my orders to General McPherson to move to his left about five miles, and occupy General Thomas' position in front of New Hope Church, and Generals Thomas and Schofield were ordered to move a corresponding distance to their left. This move was effected with ease and safety on the 1st of June, and by pushing our left well around we occupied the roads leading back to Allatoona and Acworth, after which I pushed General Stoneman's cavalry rapidly into Allatoona, at the east end of the pass, and General Garrard's cavalry around by the rear to the west end of the pass. Both of these commands reached the points designated without trouble, and we thereby accomplished our real purpose of turning the Allatoona Pass. Ordering the railroad bridge across the Etowah to be at once rebuilt, I continued working by the left, and on the 4th of June had resolved to leave Johnston in his intrenched position at New Hope Church, and move to the railroad about Acworth, when he abandoned his intrenchments, after which we moved readily to Acworth, and reached the railroad on the 6th of June. I at once examined in person the Allatoona Pass, and found it admirably adapted to our use as a secondary base, and gave the necessary orders for its defense and garrison, and as soon as the railroad bridge was finished across the Etowah, our stores came forward to our camp by rail.
At Acworth General Blair overtook us on the 8th of June with two divisions of the Seventeenth Corps that had been on furlough, and one brigade of cavalry, Colonel Long's, of Garrard's division, which had been awaiting horses at Columbia. This accession of force about compensated for our losses in battle, and the detachments left at Resaca, Rome, Kingston, and Allatoona.
On the 9th of June our communications to the rear being secure and supplies ample, we moved forward to Big Shanty. Kenesaw, the bold and striking twin mountain, lay before us, with a high range of chestnut hills trending off to the northeast, terminating to our view in another peak called Brush Mountain. To our right was a smaller hill, called Pine Mountain, and beyond it in the distance, Lost Mountain. All these, though linked in a continuous chain, present a sharp, conical appearance, prominent in the vast landscape that presents itself from any of the hills that abound in that region. Kenesaw, Pine Mountain, and Lost Mountain form a triangle. Pine Mountain, the apex, and Kenesaw and Lost Mountain the base, covering perfectly the town of Marietta, and the railroad back to the Chattahoochee. On each of these peaks the enemy had his signal station, the summits were crowned with batteries, and the spurs were alive with men busy in felling trees, digging pits, and preparing for the grand struggle impending. The scene was enchanting; too beautiful to be disturbed by the harsh clamor of war; but the Chattahooche lay beyond, and I had to reach it. On approaching close to the enemy, I found him occupying a line full twelve miles long, more than he could hold with his force. General McPherson was ordered to move toward Marietta, his right on the railroad, General Thomas on Kenesaw and Pine Mountain, and General Schofield off toward Lost Mountain; General Garrard's cavalry on the left, and General Stoneman on the right, and General McCook looking to our rear and communications. Our depot was at Big Shanty.
By the 11th of June our lines were close up, and we made dispositions to break the line between Kenesaw and Pine Mountains. General Hooker was on its right and front. General Howard on its left and front, and General Palmer between it and the railroad. During a sharp cannonading from General Howard's right, or General Hooker's left, General Polk was killed on the 14th, and on the morning of the 15th Pine Mountain was found abandoned by the enemy. Generals Thomas and Schofield advanced and found him again strongly intrenched along the line of rugged hills connecting Kenesaw and Lost Mountain. At the same time General McPherson advanced his line, gaining substantial advantage on the left. Pushing our operations on the center as vigorously as the nature of the ground would permit, I had again ordered an assault on the center, when, on the 17th, the enemy abandoned Lost Mountain and the long line of admirable breast-works connecting it with Kenesaw. We continued to press at all points, skirmishing in dense forests of timber and across most difficult ravines, until we found him again, strongly posted and intrenched, with Kenesaw as his salient, his right wing thrown back so as to cover Marietta, and his left behind Noyes' Creek, covering his railroad back to the Chattahoochee. This enabled him to contract his lines and strengthen them accordingly. From Kenesaw he could look down upon our camps and observe every movement, and his batteries thundered away, but did us but little harm on account of their extreme height, the shot and shell passing harmlessly over our heads, as we lay close up against his mountain town. During our operations about Kenesaw the weather was villainously bad, the rain fell almost continually for three weeks, rendering our narrow wooded roads mere mud gullies, so that a general movement would have been impossible, but our men daily worked closer and closer to the intrenched foe, and kept up an incessant picket-firing galling to him. Every opportunity was taken to advance our general lines closer and closer to the enemy--General McPherson watching the enemy on Kenesaw and working his left forward; General Thomas swinging, as it were, on a grand left-wheel, his left on Kenesaw, connecting with General McPherson, and General Schofield all the time working to the south and east, along the Sandtown road.
On the 22d, as General Hooker had advanced his line, with General Schofield on his right, the enemy (Hood's corps with detachments from the others) suddenly sallied and attacked. The blow fell mostly on General Williams' division, of General Hooker's corps, and a brigade of General Hascall's division, of General Schofield's army. The ground was comparatively open, and although the enemy drove in the skirmish line and an advanced regiment of General Schofield sent out purposely to hold him in check until some preparations could be completed for his reception, yet when he reached our line of battle he received a terrible repulse, leaving his dead, wounded, and many prisoners in our hands. This is known as the affair of the Kolb House. Although inviting the enemy at all times to commit such mistakes, I could not hope for him to repeat them after the example of Dallas and the Kolb House, and upon studying the ground I had no alternative in my turn but to assault his lines or turn his position. Either course had its difficulties and dangers, and I perceived that the enemy and our own officers had settled down into a conviction that I would not assault fortified lines. All looked to me to outflank.
An army to be efficient must not settle down to a single mode of offense, but must be prepared to execute any plan which promises success. I wanted, therefore, for the moral effect to make a successful assault against the enemy behind his breast-works, and resolved to attempt it at that point where success would give the largest fruits of victory. The general point selected was the left center, because if I could thrust a strong head of column through at that point by pushing it boldly and rapidly two and one-half miles, it would reach the railroad below Marietta, cut off the enemy's right and center from its line of retreat, and then by turning on either part it could be overwhelmed and destroyed. Therefore, on the 24th of June, I ordered that an assault should be made at two points south of Kenesaw on the 27th, giving three days' notice for preparation and reconnaissance, one to be made near Little Kenesaw by General McPherson's troops, and the other about a mile farther south by General Thomas' troop. The hour was fixed and all the details given in Field Orders, No. 28, of June 24.
On the 27th of June the two assaults were made at the time and in the manner prescribed and both failed, costing us many valuable lives, among them those of Generals Harker and McCook, Colonel Rice and others badly wounded, our aggregate loss being nearly 3,000, while we inflicted comparatively little loss to the enemy, who lay behind his well-formed breast-works. Failure as it was, and for which I assume the entire responsibility, I yet claim it produced good fruits, as it demonstrated to General Johnston that I would assault and that boldly. And we also gained and held ground so close to the enemy's parapets that he could not show a head above them. It would not do to rest long under the influence of a mistake or failure, and accordingly General Schofield was working strong on the enemy's left, and on the 1st of July I ordered General McPherson to be relieved by General Garrard's cavalry in front of Kenesaw, and rapidly to throw his whole army by the right down to and threaten Nickajack Creek and Turner's Ferry, across the Chattahoochee, and I also pushed General Stoneman's cavalry to the river below Turner's.
General McPherson commenced his movement the night of July 2. and the effect was instantaneous. The next morning Kenesaw was abandoned, and with the first dawn of day I saw our skirmishers appear on the mountain top. General Thomas' whole line was then moved forward to the railroad and turned south in pursuit toward the Chattahoochee. In person I entered Marietta at 8.30 in the morning, just as the enemy's cavalry vacated the place. General Logan's corps, of General McPherson's army, which had not moved far, was ordered back into Marietta by the main road, and Generals McPher-son and Schofield were instructed to cross Nickajack and attack the enemy in flank and rear, and if possible to catch him in the confusion of crossing the Chattahoochee. But Johnston had foreseen and provided against all this, and had covered his movement well. He had intrenched a strong tête-de-pont at the Chattahoochee, with an advanced intrenched line across the road at Smyrna Camp-Meeting Ground, five miles below Marietta. Here General Thomas found him, his front covered by a good parapet and his flanks behind the Nickajack and Rottenwood Creeks. Ordering a garrison for Marietta and General Logan to join his own army near the mouth of Nickajack, I overtook General Thomas at Smyrna.
On the 4th of July we pushed a strong skirmish line down the main road, capturing the entire line of the enemy's pits, and made strong demonstrations along Nickajack Creek and about Turner's Ferry. This had the desired effect, and the next morning the enemy was gone and the army moved to the Chattahoochee, General Thomas' left flank resting on it near Pace's Ferry, General McPher-son's right at the mouth of Nickajack, and General Schofield in reserve. The enemy lay behind a line of unusual strength, covering the railroad and pontoon bridges and beyond the Chattahoochee.
Heavy skirmishing along our whole front during the 5th demonstrated the strength of the enemy's position, which could alone be turned by crossing the main Chattahoochee River, a rapid and deep stream, only passable at that stage by means of bridges, except at one or two very difficult fords To accomplish this result I judged it would be more easy of execution before the enemy had made more thorough preparation or regained full confidence, and accordingly I ordered General Schofield across from his position on the Sand-town road to Smyrna Camp Ground and next to the Chattahoochee, near the mouth of Soap Creek, and to effect a lodgment on the east bank. This was most successfully and skillfully accomplished on the 7th of July, General Schofield capturing a gun, completely surprising the guard, laying a good pontoon bridge and a trestle bridge, and effecting a strong lodgment on high and commanding ground with good roads leading to the east.
At the same time General Garrard moved rapidly on Roswell, and destroyed the factories which had supplied the rebel armies with cloth for years. Over one of these, the woolen factory, the nominal owner displayed the French flag, which was not respected, of course. A neutral surely is no better than one of our own citizens, and we do not permit our own citizens to fabricate cloth for hostile uses.
General Garrard was then ordered to secure the shallow ford at Roswell and hold it until he could be relieved by infantry, and as I contemplated transferring the Army of the Tennessee from the extreme right to the left. I ordered General Thomas to send a division of his infantry that was nearest up to Roswell to hold the ford until General McPherson could send up a corps from the neighborhood of Nickajack. General Newton's division was sent and held the ford until the arrival of General Dodge's corps, which was soon followed by General McPherson's whole army. About the same time General Howard had also built a bridge at Powers' Ferry, two miles below. General Schofield had crossed over and taken position on his right. Thus during the 9th we had secured three good and safe points of passage over the Chattahoochee above the enemy, with good roads leading to Atlanta, and Johnston abandoned his tête-de-pont, burned his bridge, and left us undisputed masters north and west of the Chattahoochee at daylight of the 10th of July. This was one, if not the chief, object of the campaign, viz, the advancement of our lines from the Tennessee to the Chattahoochee; but Atlanta lay before us, only eight miles distant, and was too important a place in the hands of the enemy to be left undisturbed, with its magazines, stores, arsenals, workshops, foundries, &c., and more especially its railroads, which converged there from the four great cardinal points, but the men had worked hard and needed rest and we accordingly took a short spell. But in anticipation of this contingency I had collected a well appointed force of cavalry, about 2,000 strong, at Decatur, Ala.. with orders on receiving notice by telegraph to push rapidly south, cross the Coosa at the railroad bridge, or the Ten Islands, and thence by the most direct route to Opelika.
There is but one stem of finished railroad connecting the channels of trade and travel between Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, which runs from Montgomery to Opelika, and my purpose was to break it up effectually and thereby cut off Johnston's army from that source of supply and re-enforcements. General Rousseau, commanding the District of Tennessee, asked permission to command the expedition and received it. As soon as Johnston was well across the Chattahoochee, and as I had begun to maneuver on Atlanta, I gave the requisite notice, and General Rousseau started punctually on the 10th of July. He fulfilled his order and instructions to the very letter, whipping the rebel General Clantonen route. He passed through Talladega and reached the railroad on the 16th, about twenty-five miles west of Opelika, and broke it well up to that place, also three miles of the branch toward Columbus, and two toward West Point. He then turned north and brought his command safely to Marietta, arriving on the 22d, having sustained a trifling loss, not to exceed 30 men.
The main armies remained quiet in their camps on the Chattahoochee until the 16th of July, but the time was employed in collecting stores at Allatoona, Marietta, and Vining's Station, strengthening the railroad guards and garrisons, and in improving the pier bridges and roads leading across the river. Generals Stoneman's and McCook's cavalry had scouted well down the river to draw attention in that direction, and all things being ready for a general advance, I ordered it to commence on the 17th, General Thomas to cross at Powers' and Pace's Ferry bridges, and to march by Buck Head. General Schofield was already across at the mouth of Soap Creek, and to march by Cross Keys; and General McPherson to direct his course from Roswell straight against the Augusta road at some point east of Decatur near Stone Mountain. General Garrard's cavalry acted with General McPherson, and Generals Stoneman and McCook watched the river and roads below the railroads.
On the 17th the whole army advanced from their camps and formed a general line along the old Peach Tree road. Continuing on a general right-wheel, General McPherson reached the Augusta railroad on the 18th, at a point seven miles east of Decatur, and with General Garrard's cavalry and General Morgan L. Smith's infantry division, of the Fifteenth Corps, broke up a section of about four miles, and General Schofield reached the town of Decatur.
On the 19th General McPherson turned along the railroad into Decatur and General Schofield followed a road toward Atlanta, leading off by Colonel Howard's house and the distillery, and General Thomas crossed Peach Tree Creek in force by numerous bridges in the face of the enemy's intrenched line; all found the enemy in more or less force and skirmished heavily.
On the 20th all the armies had closed in, converging toward Atlanta, but as a gap existed between Generals Schofield and Thomas, two divisions of General Howard's corps, of General Thomas' army, was moved to the left to connect with General Schofield, leaving General Newton's division of the same corps on the Buck Head road. During the afternoon of the 20th, about 4 p.m., the enemy sallied from his works in force and fell in line of battle against our right center, composed of General Newton's division, of General Howard's corps, on the main Buck Head road, of General Hooker's corps, next south,' and General Johnson's division, of General Palmer's corps. The blow was sudden and somewhat unexpected, but General Newton had hastily covered his front by a line of rail piles, which enabled him to meet and repulse the attack on him. General Hooker's whole corps was uncovered and had to fight on comparatively open ground, and it too, after a very severe battle, drove the enemy back to his intrenchments, and the action in front of General Johnson was comparatively light, that division being well intrenched. The enemy left on the field over 500 dead, about 1,000 wounded, 7 stand of colors, and many prisoners. His loss could not have fallen short of 5,000, whereas ours was covered by 1,500 killed, wounded, and missing. The greater loss fell on General Hooker's corps from its exposed condition.
On the 21st we felt the enemy in his intrenched position, which was found to crown the heights overlooking the comparatively open ground of the valley of Peach Tree Creek, his right beyond the Augusta road to the east, and his left well toward Turner's Ferry, on the Chattahoochee, at a general distance from Atlanta of about four miles. On the morning of the 22d somewhat to my surprise this whole line was found abandoned, and I confess I thought the enemy had resolved to give us Atlanta without further contest, but General Johnston had been relieved of his command and General Hood substituted. A new policy seemed resolved on, of which the bold attack on our right was the index. Our advancing ranks swept across the strong and well-finished parapets of the enemy and closed in upon Atlanta until we occupied a line in the form of a general circle of about two miles radius, when we again found him occupying in force a line of finished redoubts which had been prepared for more than a year, covering all the roads leading into Atlanta, and we found him also busy in connecting those redoubts with curtains, strengthened by rifle-trench abatis and chevaux-de-frise.
General McPherson, who had advanced from Decatur, continued to follow substantially the railroad, with the Fifteenth Corps, General Logan; the Seventeenth, General Blair, on its left; and the Sixteenth, General Dodge, on its right, but as the general advance of all the armies contracted the circle, the Sixteenth Corps, General Dodge, was thrown out of line by the Fifteenth connecting on its right with General Schofield, near the Howard house. General McPherson the night before had gained a high hill to the south and east of the railroad, where the Seventeenth Corps had, after a severe fight, driven the enemy, and it gave him a most commanding position within easy view of the very heart of the city. He had thrown out working parties to it and was making preparations to occupy it in strength with batteries. The Sixteenth Corps, General Dodge's, was ordered from right to left to occupy this position and make it a strong general left flank. General Dodge was moving by a diagonal path or wagon track leading from the Decatur road in the direction of General Blair's left flank. About 10 a.m. I was in person, with General Schofield, examining the appearance of the enemy's line opposite the distillery, where we attracted enough of the enemy's fire of artillery and musketry to satisfy me the enemy was in Atlanta in force and meant to fight, and had gone to a large dwelling close by, known as the Howard house, where General McPher-son joined me. He described the condition of things on his flank and the disposition of his troops. I explained to him that if we met serious resistance in Atlanta, as present appearances indicated, instead of operating against it by the left, I would extend to the right, and that I did not want him to gain much distance to the left. He then described the hill occupied by General Leggett's division, of General Blair's corps, as essential to the occupation of any ground to the east and south of the Augusta railroad on account of its commanding nature. I therefore ratified his disposition of troops, and modified a previous order I had sent him in writing to use General Dodge's corps, thrown somewhat in reserve by the closing up of our line, to break up railroad, and I sanctioned its going, as already ordered by General McPherson, to his left, to hold and fortify that position. The general remained with me until near noon, when some reports reaching us that indicated a movement of the enemy on that flank, he mounted and rode away with his staff.
I must here also state that the day before I had detached General Garrard's cavalry to go to Covington, on the Augusta road, forty-two miles east of Atlanta, and from that point to send detachments to break the two important bridges across the Yellow and Ulcofauhachee Rivers, tributaries of the Ocmulgee, and General McPherson had also left his wagon train at Decatur, under a guard of three regiments, commanded by Colonel (now General) Sprague. Soon after General McPherson had left me at the Howard house, as before described, I heard the sound of musketry to our left rear, at first mere pattering shots, but soon they grew in volume, accompanied with artillery, and about the same time the sound of guns was heard in the direction of Decatur. No doubt could longer be entertained of the enemy's plan of action, which was to throw a superior force on our left flank while he held us with his forts in front, the only question being as to the amount of force he could employ at that point. I hastily transmitted orders to all points of our center and right to press forward and give full employment to all the enemy in his lines, and for General Schofield to hold as large a force in reserve as possible, awaiting developments.
Not more than half an hour after General McPherson had left me, viz, about 12.30 of the 22d, his adjutant-general, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, rode up and reported that General McPherson was either dead or a prisoner; that he had ridden from me to General Dodge's column, moving as heretofore described, and had sent off nearly all his staff and orderlies on various errands and himself had passed into a narrow path or road that led to the left and rear of General Giles A. Smith s division, which was General Blair's extreme left; that a few minutes after he had entered the woods a sharp volley was heard in that direction, and his horse had come out riderless, having two wounds. The suddenness of this terrible calamity would have overwhelmed me with grief, but the living demanded my whole thoughts. I instantly dispatched a staff officer to General John A. Logan, commanding the Fifteenth Corps, to tell him what had happened; that he must assume command of the Army of the Tennessee, and hold stubbornly the ground already chosen, more especially the hill gained by General Leggett the night before. Already the whole line was engaged in battle. Hardee's corps had sallied from Atlanta, and by a wide circuit to the east had struck General Blair's left flank, enveloped it, and his left had swung around until it hit General Dodge in motion. General Blair's line was substantially along the old line of rebel trench, but it was fashioned to fight outward. A space of wooded ground of near half a mile intervened between the head of General Dodge's column and General Blair's line, through which the enemy had poured, but the last order ever given by General McPherson was to hurry a brigade (Colonel Wangelin's) of the Fifteenth Corps across from the railroad to occupy this gap. It came across on the double-quick and checked the enemy. While Hardee attacked in flank, Stewart's corps was to attack in front directly out from the main works, but fortunately their attacks were not simultaneous. The enemy swept across the hill which our men were then fortifying, and captured the pioneer company, its tools, and almost the entire working party, and bore down on our left until he encountered General Giles A. Smith's division, of the Seventeenth Corps, who was somewhat in "air" and forced to fight first from one side of the old rifle parapets and then from the other, gradually withdrawing regiment by regiment so as to form a flank to General Leggett's division, which held the apex of the hill, which was the only point deemed essential to our future plans. General Dodge had caught and held well in check the enemy's right, and punished him severely, capturing many prisoners. General Giles A. Smith had gradually given up the extremity of his line and formed a new one, whose right connected with General Leggett and his left refused, facing southeast. On this ground and in this order the men fought well and desperately for near four hours, checking and repulsing all the enemy's attacks. The execution on the enemy's ranks at the angle was terrible, and great credit is due both Generals Leggett and Giles A. Smith and their men for their hard and stubborn fighting. The enemy made no farther progress on that flank, and by 4 p.m. had almost given up the attempt.
In the mean time Wheeler's cavalry, unopposed (for General Garrard was absent at Covington by my order), had reached Decatur and attempted to capture the wagon trains, but Colonel (now General) Sprague covered them with great skill and success, sending them to the rear of Generals Schofield and Thomas, and not drawing back from Decatur until every wagon was safe, except three, which the teamsters had left, carrying off the mules. On our extreme left the enemy had taken a complete battery of 6 guns with its horses (Murray's) of the regular army as it was moving along unsupported and unapprehensive of danger in a narrow wooded road in that unguarded space between the head of General Dodge's column and the line of battle on the ridge above, but most of the men escaped to the bushes; he also got 2 other guns on the extreme left flank that were left on the ground as General Giles A. Smith drew off his men in the manner heretofore described.
About 4 p.m. there was quite a lull, during which the enemy felt forward on the railroad and main Decatur road, and suddenly assailed a regiment which, with a section of guns, had been thrown forward as a kind of picket, and captured the 2 guns. He then advanced rapidly and broke through our lines at this point, which had been materially weakened by the withdrawal of Colonel Martin's brigade sent by General Logan's order to the extreme left. The other brigade, General Lightburn's, which held this part of the line, fell back in some disorder about 400 yards to a position held by it the night before, leaving the enemy for a time in possession of two batteries, one of which, a 20-pounder Parrott battery of four guns, was most valuable to us, and separating General Woods and General Harrow's divisions, of the Fifteenth Corps, that were on the right and left of the railroad. Being in person close by the spot, and appreciating the vast importance of the connection at that point, I ordered certain batteries of General Schofield's to be moved to a position somewhat commanding it by a left-flank fire, and ordered an incessant fire of shells on the enemy within sight and the woods beyond to prevent his re-enforcing. I also sent orders to General Logan, which he had already anticipated, to make the Fifteenth Corps regain its lost ground at any cost, and instructed General Woods, supported by General Schofield, to use his division and sweep the parapet down from where he held it until he saved the batteries and regained the lost ground. The whole was executed in superb style, at times our men and the enemy fighting across the narrow parapet; but at last the enemy gave way, and the Fifteenth Corps regained its position and all the guns, excepting the two advanced ones, which were out of view and had been removed by the enemy within his main works.
With this terminated the battle of the 22d, which cost us 3,722 killed, wounded, and prisoners. But among the dead was Major-General McPherson, whose body was recovered and brought to me in the heat of battle, and I had sent it in charge of his personal staff back to Marietta on its way to his Northern home. He was a noble youth, of striking personal appearance, of the highest professional capacity, and with a heart abounding in kindness that drew to him the affections of all men. His sudden death devolved the command of the Army of the Tennessee on the no less brave and gallant General Logan, who nobly sustained his reputation and that of his veteran army and avenged the death of his comrade and commander.
The enemy left on the field his dead and wounded and about a thousand well prisoners. His dead alone are computed by General Logan at 3,240, of which number 2,200 were from actual count, and of these he delivered to the enemy under flag of truce sent in by him (the enemy) 800 bodies. I entertain no doubt that in the battle of July 22 the enemy sustained an aggregate loss of full 8,000 men.
The next day General Garrard returned from Covington, having succeeded perfectly in his mission, and destroyed the bridge at Ulcofauhachee and Yellow Rivers, besides burning a train of cars, a large quantity of cotton (2,000 bales), and the depot of stores at Covington and Conyers Station, and bringing in 200 prisoners and some good horses, losing but two men, one of whom was killed by accident. Having, therefore, sufficiently crippled the Augusta road, and rendered it useless to the enemy, I then addressed myself to the task of reaching the Macon road, over which of necessity came the stores and ammunition that alone maintained the rebel army in Atlanta. Generals Schofield and Thomas had closed well up, holding the enemy behind his inner intrenchments. I first ordered the Army of the Tennessee to prepare to vacate its line, and to shift by the right below Proctor's Creek, and General Schofield to extend up to the Augusta road. About the same time General Rousseau had arrived from his expedition to Opelika, bringing me about 2,000 good cavalry, but, of course, fatigued with its long and rapid march, and ordering it to relieve General Stoneman at the river about Sandtown, I shifted General Stoneman to our left flank, and ordered all my cavalry to prepare for a blow at the Macon road simultaneous with the movement of the Army of the Tennessee toward East Point. To accomplish this I gave General Stoneman the command of his own and General Garrard's cavalry, making an effective force of full 5,000 men, and to General McCook I gave his own and the new cavalry brought by General Rousseau, which was commanded by Colonel Harrison, of the Eighth Indiana Cavalry, in the aggregate about 4,000. These two well appointed bodies were to move in concert, the former by the left around Atlanta to McDonough, and the latter by the right on Fayetteville, and on a certain night, viz, July 28, they were to meet on the Macon road near Lovejoy's and destroy it in the most effectual manner. I estimated this joint cavalry could whip all of Wheeler's cavalry, and could otherwise accomplish its task, and I think so still. I had the officers in command to meet me, and explained the movement perfectly, and they entertained not a doubt of perfect success. At the very moment almost of starting General Stoneman addressed me a note asking permission, after fulfilling his orders and breaking the road, to be allowed with his command proper to proceed to Macon and Andersonville and release our prisoners of war confined at those points. There was something most captivating in the idea, and the execution was within the bounds of probability of success. I consented that after the defeat of Wheeler's cavalry, which was embraced in his orders, and breaking the road he might attempt it with his cavalry proper, sending that of General Garrard back to its proper flank of the army.
Both cavalry expeditions started at the time appointed. I have as yet no report from General Stoneman, who is a prisoner of war at Macon, but I know he dispatched General Garrard's cavalry to Flat Rock for the purpose of covering his own movement to McDonough, but for some reason unknown to me he went off toward Covington and did not again communicate with General Garrard at Flat Rock. General Garrard remained there until the 29th, skirmishing heavily with a part of Wheeler's cavalry and occupying their attention, but hearing nothing from General Stoneman he moved back to Conyers, where, learning that General Stoneman had gone to Covington and south on the east side of the Ocmulgee, he returned and resumed his position on our left. It is known that General Stone-man kept to the east of the Ocmulgee to Clinton, sending detachments off to the east, which did a large amount of damage to the railroad, burning the bridges of Walnut Creek and Oconee, and destroying a large number of cars and locomotives, and with his main force appeared before Macon. He did not succeed in crossing the Ocmulgee at Macon, nor in approaching Andersonville, but retired in the direction from whence he came, followed by various detachments of mounted men under a General Iverson. He seems to have become hemmed in, and gave consent to two-thirds of his force to escape back, while he held the enemy in check with the remainder, about 700 men and a section of light guns. One brigade, Colonel Adams', came in almost intact; another, commanded by Colonel Capron, was surprised on the way back and scattered. Many were captured and killed, and the balance got in mostly unarmed and afoot, and the general himself surrendered his small command and is now a prisoner in Macon. His mistake was in not making the first concentration with Generals McCook and Garrard near Love-joy's, according to his orders, which is yet unexplained.
General McCook in the execution of his part went down the west branch of the Chattahoochee to near Rivertown, where he laid a pontoon bridge with which he was provided, crossed his command and moved rapidly on Palmetto Station of the West Point Railroad, where he tore up a section of track, leaving a regiment to create a diversion toward Campbellton, which regiment fulfilled its duty and returned to camp by way of and escorting back the pontoon bridge train. General McCook then rapidly moved to Fayetteville, where he found a large number of the wagons belonging to the rebel army in Atlanta. These he burned to the number of about 500, killing 800 mules and carrying along others, and taking 250 prisoners, mostly quartermasters and men belonging to the trains. He then pushed for the railroad, reaching it at Lovejoy's Station at the time appointed. He burned the depot, tore up a section of the road, and continued to Work until forced to leave off to defend himself against an accumulating force of the enemy. He could hear nothing of General Stoneman, and finding his progress east too strongly opposed he moved south and west and reached Newnan, on the West Point road, where he encountered an infantry force coming from Mississippi to Atlanta, which had been stopped by the break he had made at Palmetto. This force with the pursuing cavalry hemmed him in and forced him to fight. He was compelled to drop his prisoners and captures, and cut his way out, losing some 500 officers and men, among them a most valuable officer, Colonel Harrison, who, when fighting his men as skirmishers on foot, was overcome and made prisoner, and is now at Macon. He cut his way out, reached the Chattahoochee, crossed, and got to Marietta without further loss. General McCook is entitled to much credit for thus saving his command, which was endangered by the failure of General Stoneman to reach Lovejoy's. But on the whole the cavalry raid is not deemed a success, for the real purpose was to break the enemy's communications, which though done was on so limited a scale that I knew the damage would soon be repaired.
Pursuant to the general plan, the Army of the Tennessee drew out of its lines near the Decatur road during the night of July 26, and on the 27th moved behind the rest of the army to Proctor's Creek and south to prolong our line due south and facing east. On that day, by appointment of the President of the United States, Major-General Howard assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee and had the general supervision of the movement, which was madeen echelon, General Dodge's corps (Sixteenth) on the left nearest the enemy, General Blair's corps (Seventeenth) next to come up on its right, and General Logan's corps (Fifteenth) to come up on its right and refused as a flank, the whole to gain as much ground due south' from the flank already established on Proctor's Creek as was consistent with a proper strength. General Dodge's men got into line in the evening of the 27th, and General Blair's came into line on his right early in the morning of the 28th, his right reaching an old meeting-house called Ezra Church near some large open fields by the poor-house on a road known as the Bell's Ferry road or Lick Skillet road. Here the Fifteenth Corps (General Logan's) joined on and refused along a ridge well wooded, which partially commanded a view over the same fields. About 10 a.m. all the army was in position and the men were busy in throwing up the accustomed pile of rails and logs, which after a while assumed the form of a parapet. The skill and rapidity with which our men construct these is wonderful and is something new in the art of war. I rode along this whole line about that time, and as I approached Ezra Church there was considerable artillery firing, enfilading the road in which I was riding, killing an orderly's horse, just behind my staff. I struck across an open field to where General Howard was standing in rear of the Fifteenth Corps and walked up to the ridge with General Morgan L. Smith to see if the battery which enfiladed the main road and rail piles could not be disposed of, and heard General Smith give the necessary orders for the deployment of one regiment forward and another to make a circuit to the right, when I returned to where General Howard was, and remained there until 12 o'clock. During this time there was nothing to indicate serious battle save the shelling by one or at most two batteries from beyond the large field in front of the Fifteenth Corps.
Wishing to be well prepared to defeat the enemy if he repeated his game of the 22d, I had the night before ordered General Davis' division, of General Palmer's corps, which by the movement of the Army of the Tennessee had been left as it were in reserve, to move down to Turner's Ferry and thence toward White Hall or East Point, aiming to reach the flank of General Howard's new line. Hoping that in case of an attack this division would in turn catch the attacking force in flank or rear at an unexpected moment, I explained it to General Howard and bade him to expect the arrival of such a force in case of battle. Indeed, I expected to hear the fire of its skirmishers by noon. General Davis was sick that day, and Brigadier-General Morgan commanded the division which had marched early for Turner's Ferry, but many of the roads laid down on our maps did not exist at all, and General Morgan was delayed thereby. I rode back to make more particular inquiries as to this division, and had just reached General Davis' headquarters at Proctor's Creek when I heard musketry open heavily on the right. The enemy had come out of Atlanta by the Bell's Ferry road and formed his masses in the open fields behind a swell of ground, and after the artillery firing I have described advanced in parallel lines directly against the Fifteenth Corps, expecting to catch that flank in "air." His advance was magnificent, but founded on an error that cost him sadly, for our men coolly and deliberately cut down his men, and, in spite of the efforts of the rebel officers, his ranks broke and fled. But they were rallied again and again, as often as six times at some points, and a few of the rebel officers and men reached our line of rail piles only to be killed or hauled over as prisoners. These assaults occurred from noon until about 4 p.m., when the enemy disappeared, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands. As many as 642 dead were counted and buried, and still others are known to have been buried which were not counted by the regularly detailed burial parties. General Logan on this occasion was conspicuous as on the 22d, his corps being chiefly engaged, but General Howard had drawn from the other corps (Sixteenth and Seventeenth) certain reserves, which were near at hand but not used. Our entire loss is reported at less than 600, whereas that of the enemy was in killed and wounded not less than 5,000.
Had General Davis' division come up on the Bell's Ferry road as I calculated at any time before 4 o'clock, what was simply a complete repulse would have been a disastrous rout to the enemy, but I cannot attribute the failure to want of energy or intelligence, and must charge it, like many other things in the campaign, to the peculiar, tangled nature of the forests and absence of roads that would admit the rapid movement of troops.
This affair terminated all efforts of the enemy to check our extensions by the flank, which afterward proceeded with comparative ease, but he met our extensions to the south by rapid and well constructed forts and rifle-pits built between us and the railroad to and below East Point, remaining perfectly on the defensive. Finding that the right flank of the Army of the Tennessee did not reach, I was forced to shift General Schofield to that flank also, and afterward General Palmer's corps, of General Thomas' army. General Schofield moved from the left on the 1st of August, and General Palmer's corps followed at once, taking a line below Utoy Creek, and General Schofield prolonged it to a point near East Point. The enemy made no offensive opposition, but watched our movement and extended his lines and parapets accordingly.
About this time several changes in important commands occurred which should be noted. General Hooker, offended that General Howard was preferred to him as the successor of General McPherson, resigned his command of the Twentieth Corps, to which General Slocum was appointed; but he was at Vicksburg, and until he joined the command of the corps devolved upon General A. S. Williams, who handled it admirably. General Palmer also resigned the command of the Fourteenth Corps, and General Jeff. C. Davis was appointed to his place. Maj. Gen. D. S. Stanley had succeeded General Howard in the command of the Fourth Corps.
From the 2d to the 5th we continued to extend to the right, demonstrating strongly on the left and along our whole line. General Reilly's brigade, of General Cox's division, General Schofield's army, on the 5th tried to break through the enemy's line about a mile below Utoy Creek, but failed to carry the position, losing about 400 men, who were caught in the entanglements and abatis, but the next day the position was turned by General Hascall, and General Schofield advanced his whole line close up to and facing the enemy below Utoy Creek. Still he did not gain the desired foothold on either the West Point or Macon road. The enemy's line at that time must have been near fifteen miles long, extending from near Decatur to below East Point. This he was enabled to do by use of a large force of State militia, and his position was so masked by the shape of the ground that we were unable to discover the weak parts.
I had become satisfied that to reach the Macon road and thereby control the supplies for Atlanta, I would have to move the whole army, but before beginning I ordered down from Chattanooga four 4 1/2-inch rifled guns to try their effect. These arrived on the 10th and were put to work night and day and did execution on the city, causing frequent fires and creating confusion. Yet the enemy seemed determined to hold his forts even if the city was destroyed.
On the 16th of August I made my Orders, No. 57, prescribing the mode and manner of executing the grand movement by the right flank to begin on the 18th. This movement contemplated the withdrawal of the Twentieth Corps, General Williams, to the intrenched position at the Chattahoochee bridge and the march of the main army to the West Point Railroad near Fairburn, and afterward to the Macon road, at or near Jonesborough, with our wagons loaded with provisions for fifteen days. About the time of the publication of these orders, I learned that Wheeler, with a large mounted force of the enemy, variously estimated from 6,000 to 10,000 men, had passed round by the east and north and had made his appearance on our line of communication near Adairsville, and had succeeded in capturing 900 of our beef-cattle, and had made a break of the railroad near Calhoun. I could not have asked for anything better, for I had provided well against such a contingency, and this detachment left me superior to the enemy in cavalry. I suspended the execution of my orders for the time being and ordered General Kil-patrick to make up a well appointed force of about 5,000 cavalry, and to move from his camp about Sandtown during the night of the 18th to the West Point road and break it good near Fairburn, then to proceed across to the Macon road and tear it up thoroughly, but to avoid as far as possible the enemy's infantry, but to attack any cavalry he could find. I thought this cavalry would save the necessity of moving the main army across, and that in case of his success it would leave me in better position to take full advantage of the result. General Kilpatrick got off at the time appointed and broke the West Point road and afterward reached the Macon road at Jonesborough, where he whipped Ross' cavalry and got possession of the railroad, which he held for five hours, damaging it considerably, but a brigade of the enemy's infantry, which had been dispatched below Jonesborough in cars, was run back and disembarked, and with Jackson's rebel cavalry made it impossible for him to continue his work. He drew off to the east and made a circuit and struck the railroad about Lovejoy's Station, but was again threatened by the enemy, who moved on shorter lines, when he charged through their cavalry, taking many prisoners, of which he brought in 70, and captured a 4-gun battery, which he destroyed, except one gun, which he brought in. He estimated the damage done to the road as enough to interrupt its use for ten days, after which he returned by a circuit north and east, reaching Decatur on the 22d.
After an interview with General Kilpatrick I was satisfied that whatever damage he had done would not produce the result desired, and I renewed my orders for the movement of the whole army. This involved the necessity of raising the siege of Atlanta, taking the field with our main force and using it against the communications of Atlanta instead of against its intrenchments. All the army commanders were at once notified to send their surplus wagons, incumbrances of all kinds, and sick back to our intrenched position at the bridge, and that the movement would begin during the night of the 25th. Accordingly, all things being ready, the Fourth Corps (General Stanley) drew out of its lines on our extreme left and marched to a position below Proctor's Creek. The Twentieth Corps (General Williams) moved back to the Chattahoochee. This movement was made without loss, save a few things left in our camps by thoughtless officers and men. The night of the 26th the movement continued, the Army of the Tennessee drawing out and moving rapidly by a circuit well toward Sandtown and across Camp Creek; the Army of the Cumberland, below Utoy Creek, General Schofield, remaining in position. This was effected with the loss of but a single man in the Army of the Tennessee, wounded by a shell from the enemy. The third move brought the Army of the Tennessee on the West Point railroad above Fairburn, the Army of the Cumberland about Red Oak, and General Schofield close in near Diggs' and Mimms'. I then ordered one day's work to be expended in destroying that road, and it was done with a will. Twelve and one-half miles were destroyed, the ties burned, and the iron rails heated and twisted by the utmost ingenuity of old hands at the work. Several cuts were filled up with the trunks of trees, logs, rocks, and earth, intermingled with loaded shells prepared as torpedoes to explode in case of an attempt to clear them out.
Having personally inspected this work and satisfied with its execution, I ordered the whole army to move the next day eastward by several roads, General Howard on the right toward Jonesborough, General Thomas the center by Shoal Creek Church to Couch's, on the Decatur and Fayetteville road, and General Schofield on the left, about Morrow's Mills. An inspection of the map will show the strategic advantage of this position. The railroad from Atlanta to Macon follows substantially the ridge, or "divide" between the waters of Flint and Ocmulgee Rivers, and from East Point to Jonesborough makes a wide bend to the east. Therefore the position I have described, which had been well studied on paper, was my first objective. It gave me "interior lines," something our enemy had enjoyed too long, and I was anxious for once to get the inside track and therefore my haste and desire to secure it. The several columns moved punctually on the morning of the 29th: General Thomas, on the center, encountered little opposition or difficulty save what resulted from narrow roads, and reached his position at Couch's early in the afternoon. General Schofield being closer to the enemy, who still clung to East Point, moved cautiously on a small circle around that point and came into position toward Rough and Ready, and General Howard, having the outer circle, had a greater distance to move. He encountered cavalry, which he drove rapidly to the crossing of Shoal Creek, where the enemy also had artillery. Here a short delay occurred and some cannonading and skirmishing, but General Howard started them again and kept them moving, passed the Renfroe place, on the Decatur road, which was the point indicated for him in the orders of that day, but he wisely and well kept on and pushed on toward Jonesborough, saved the bridge across Flint River, and did not halt until darkness compelled him, within half a mile of Jonesborough. Here he rested for the night and in the morning of August 31, finding himself in the presence of a heavy force of the enemy, he deployed the Fifteenth Corps and disposed the Sixteenth and Seventeenth on its flanks. The men covered their front with the usual parapets and soon prepared to act offensively or defensively as the case called for. I was that night with General Thomas at Couch's, and as soon as I learned that General Howard had passed Renfroe's, I directed General Thomas to send to that place a division of General Jeff. C. Davis' corps, to move General Stanley's corps in connection with General Schofield toward Rough and Ready, and then to send forward due east a strong detachment of General Davis' corps to feel for the railroad. General Schofield was also ordered to move boldly forward and strike the railroad near Rough and Ready.
These movements were progressing during the 31st, when the enemy came out of his works at Jonesborough and attacked General Howard in position, as described. General Howard was admirably situated to receive him and repulsed the attack thoroughly. The enemy attacked with Lee's and Hardee's corps, and after a contest of over two hours withdrew, leaving over 400 dead on the ground, and his wounded, of which about 300 were left in Jonesborough, could not have been much less than 2,500. Hearing the sounds of battle at Jonesborough about noon, orders were renewed to push the other movements on the left and center, and about 4 p.m. the reports arrived simultaneously that General Howard had thoroughly repulsed the enemy at Jonesborough; that General Schofield had reached the railroad a mile below Rough and Ready and was working up the road, breaking it as he went; that General Stanley, of General Thomas' army, had also got the road below General Schofield and was destroying it, working south, and that General Baird, of General Davis' corps, had struck it still lower down within four miles of Jonesborough. Orders were at once given for all the army to turn on Jonesborough, General Howard to keep the enemy busy while General Thomas should move down from the north, with General Schofield on his left. I also ordered the troops as they moved down to continue the thorough destruction of the railroad, because we had it then, and I did not know but that events might divert our attention. General Garrard's cavalry was directed to watch the roads to our rear and north. General Kilpatrick was sent south, down the west bank of the Flint, with instructions to attack or threaten the railroad below Jonesborough. I expected the whole army would close down on Jonesborough by noon of the 1st of September. General Davis' corps having the shorter distance to travel was on time and deployed facing south, his right in connection with General Howard and his left on the railroad. General Stanley and General Schofield were coming down along the Rough and Ready road and along the railroad, breaking it as they came. When General Davis joined to General Howard, General Blair' corps, on General Howard's left, was thrown in reserve, and was immediately sent well to the right below Jonesborough to act against that flank, along with General Kilpatrick's cavalry. About 4 p.m. General Davis was all ready and assaulted the enemy's lines across open fields, carrying them very handsomely and taking as prisoners the greater part of Govan's brigade, including its commander, with two 4-gun batteries.
Repeated orders were sent to Generals Stanley and Schofield to hurry up, but the difficult nature of the country and the absence of roads are the reasons assigned why these troops did not get well into position for attack before night rendered further operations impossible. Of course the next morning the enemy was gone and had retreated south.
About 2 o'clock that night the sounds of heavy explosions were heard in the direction of Atlanta, distant about twenty miles, with a succession of minor explosions and what seemed like the rapid firing of cannon and musketry. These continued about an hour, and again about 4 a.m. occurred another series of similar discharges apparently nearer us, and these sounds could be accounted for on no other hypothesis than of a night attack on Atlanta by General Slocum or the blowing up of the enemy s magazines. Nevertheless at daybreak, on finding the enemy gone from his lines at Jonesborough, I ordered a general pursuit south, General Thomas following to the left of the railroad, General Howard on its right, and General Schofield keeping off about two miles to the east. We overtook the enemy again near Lovejoy's Station in a strong intrenched position, with his flanks well protected behind a branch of Walnut Creek to the right and a confluent of the Flint River to his left. We pushed close up and reconnoitered the ground and found he had evidently halted to cover his communication with the McDonough and Fayetteville road. Rumors began to arrive, through prisoners captured, that Atlanta had been abandoned during the night of September 1; that Hood had blown up his ammunition trains, which accounted for the sounds so plainly heard by us, and which were yet unexplained; that Stewart's corps was then retreating toward McDonough, and that the militia had gone off toward Covington. It was then too late to interpose and prevent their escape, and I was satisfied with the substantial success already gained. Accordingly I ordered the work of destroying the railroad to cease and the troops to be held in hand ready for any movement that further information from Atlanta might warrant.
General Jeff. C. Davis' corps had been left above Jonesborough, and General Garrard's cavalry was still farther back, and the latter was ordered to send back to Atlanta and ascertain the exact truth and the real situation of affairs. But the same night, viz, September 4, a courier arrived from General Slocum reporting the fact that the enemy had evacuated Atlanta; blown up seven trains of cars, and had retreated on the McDonough road. General Slocum had entered and taken possession on the 2d of September. The object of my movement against the railroad was therefore already reached and concluded, and as it was idle to pursue our enemy in that wooded country with a view to his capture, I gave orders on the 4th for the army to prepare to move back slowly to Atlanta. On the 5th we drew back to the vicinity of Jonesborough, five miles, where we remained a day. On the 7th we moved to Rough and Ready, seven miles, and the next day to the camps selected, viz, the Army of the Cumberland grouped around about Atlanta, the Army of the Tennessee about East Point, and that of the Ohio at Decatur, where the men now occupy clean and healthy camps.
I have not yet received full or satisfactory accounts of Wheeler's operations to our rear, further than that he broke the road about Calhoun and then made his appearance at Dalton, where Colonel Laiboldt held him in check until General Steed man arrived from Chattanooga and drove him off. He then passed up into East Tennessee and made quite a stay at Athens, but on the first show of pursuit he kept on north across the Little Tennessee, and crossing the Holston near Strawberry Plains, reached the Clinch near Clinton, and passed over toward Sequatchie and McMinnville. Thence he seems to have gone to Murfreesborough and Lebanon, and across to Franklin. He may have committed damage to the property of citizens, but has injured us but little, the railroads being repaired about as fast as he broke them. From Franklin he has been pursued toward Florence and out of the State by Generals Rousseau, Steedman, and Granger, but what amount of execution they have done to him has not been reported.
Our roads and telegraph are all repaired, and the cars run with regularity and speed.
It is proper to remark in this place that during the operations of this campaign expeditions were sent out from Memphis and Vicksburg to check any movements of the enemy's forces in Mississippi upon our communications. The manner in which this object was accomplished reflects credit upon Generals A. J. Smith, Washburn, Slocum, and Mower, and although General Sturgis' expedition was less successful than the others, it assisted in the main object to be accomplished.
I must bear full and liberal testimony to the energetic and successful management of our railroads during the campaign. No matter when or where a break has been made, the repair train seemed on the spot, and the damage was repaired generally before I knew of the break. Bridges have been built with surprising rapidity, and the locomotive whistle was heard in our advanced camps almost before the echo of the skirmish fire had ceased. Some of these bridges--those of the Oostenaula, the Etowah, and Chattahoochee---are fine substantial structures and were built in an inconceivably short time, almost out of material improvised on the spot.
Col. W. W. Wright, who has charge of the construction and repairs, is not only a most skillful, but a wonderfully ingenious, industrious, and zealous officer, and I can hardly do him justice. In like manner the officers charged with running the trains have succeeded to my entire satisfaction, and have worked in perfect harmony with the quartermasters and commissaries, bringing forward abundant supplies with such regularity that at no one time have we wanted for provisions, forage, ammunition, or stores of any essential kind.
Col. L. C. Easton, chief quartermaster, and Col. A. Beckwith, chief commissary, have also succeeded in a manner surprising to all of us in getting forward supplies. I doubt if ever an army was better supplied than this, and I commend them most highly for it, because I know that more solicitude was felt by the lieutenant-general commanding, and by the military world at large, on this than any other one problem involved in the success of the campaign. Capt. T. G. Baylor, chief ordnance officer, has in like manner kept the army supplied at all times with every kind of ammunition. To Capt. O. M. Poe, chief engineer, I am more than ordinarily indebted for keeping me supplied with maps and information of roads and topography, as well as in the more important branch of his duties in selecting lines and military positions.
My own personal staff has been small, but select. Brig. Gen. W. F. Barry, an officer of enlarged capacity and great experience, has filled the office of chief of artillery to perfection, and Lieut. Col. E. D. Kittoe, chief medical inspector, has done everything possible to give proper aid and direction to the operations of that important department. I have never seen the wounded removed from the fields of battle, cared for, and afterward sent to proper hospitals in the rear, with more promptness, system, care, and success than during this whole campaign, covering over 100 days of actual battle and skirmish. My aides-de-camp, Maj. J. C. McCoy, Capt. L. M. Dayton, and Capt. J. C. Audenried, have been ever zealous and most efficient, carrying my orders day and night to distant parts of our extended lines with an intelligence and zeal that insured the proper working of machinery covering from ten to twenty-five miles of ground, when the least error in the delivery and explanation of an order would have produced confusion; whereas, in a great measure, owing to the intelligence of these officers, orders have been made so clear that these vast armies have moved side by side, sometimes crossing each other's tracks, through a difficult country of over 138 miles in length, without confusion or trouble. Captain Dayton has also filled the duties of my adjutant-general, making all orders and carrying on the official correspondence. Three inspectors-general completed my staff: Brig. Gen. J. M. Corse, who has since Deen assigned the command of a division of the Sixteenth Corps at the request of General Dodge; Lieut. Col. W. Warner, of the Seventy-sixth Ohio, and Lieut. Col. Charles Ewing, inspector-general of the Fifteenth Corps and captain Thirteenth U.S. Regulars. These officers, of singular energy and intelligence, have been of immense assistance to me in handling these large armies.
My three armies in the field were commanded by able officers, my equals in rank and experience--Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, Maj. Gen. J. M. Schofield, and Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard. With such commanders, I had only to indicate the object desired and they accomplished it. I cannot overestimate their services to the country, and must express my deep and heartfelt thanks that coming together from different fields, with different interests, they have co-operated with a harmony that has been productive of the greatest amount of success and good feeling. A more harmonious army does not exist.
I now inclose their reports and those of the corps, division, and brigade commanders, a perusal of which will fill up the sketch which I have endeavored to make. I also submit tabular statements of our losses in battle by wounds and sickness; also list of prisoners captured, sent to the rear, and exchanged; also of the guns and materials of war captured, besides the important country towns and arsenals of the enemy that we now occupy and hold.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.
Casualties in army in the field, Military Division of the Mississippi, during May, June, July, and August, 1864.
Aggregate Army of the Cumberland 261 2,748 780 14,676 46 1,729 20,240 Army of the Tennessee 91 1,357 365 6,628 77 1,796 10,314 Army of the Ohio --- 531 --- 2,378 --- 1,060 3,960 TOTAL 352 4,636 1,145 23,682 123 4,585 34,514
To which should be added the casualties for September 1 to 15 in Army of the Cumberland, 2,567, making aggregate, 37,081.
Reports of Armies of the Tennessee and Ohio include the whole campaign.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.
Prisoners and deserters taken by army in the field, Military Division of the Mississippi, during May, June, July, and August, 1864.
Aggregrate Army of the Cumberland 121 3,838 21 1,543 5,523 Army of the Tennessee 133 2,591 5 576 3,305 Army of the Ohio 16 781 1 292 1,090 TOTAL 270 7,210 27 2,411 9,918
To which add the prisoners and deserters in the Army of the Cumberland September 1 to 20, 3,065, making a total aggregate of 12,983.
Reports from Armies of the Tennessee and Ohio include the whole campaign.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS No. 62.
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS.,
In the Field, near Lovejoy's, September 3, 1864.
The general commanding announces with great pleasure that he has official information that our troops under Major-General Slocum occupied Atlanta yesterday at 11 a.m., the enemy having evacuated the night before, destroyed vast magazines of stores, and blowing up, among other things, eighty car-loads of ammunition, which accounts for the sounds heard by us on the night of the 1st instant. Our present task is, therefore, well done, and all work of destruction on the railroad will cease.
By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON,
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 5, 1864-10.25 p.m.
I have the pleasure of transmitting to you the following orders, which were made Saturday by the President on receipt of the news of the capture of Atlanta:
September 3, 1864.
The national thanks are tendered by the President to Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman and the gallant officers and soldiers of his command before Atlanta, for the distinguished ability, courage, and perseverance displayed in the campaign in Georgia, which, under Divine favor, has resulted in the capture of the city of Atlanta. The marches, battles, sieges, and other military operations that have signalized the campaign, must render it famous in the annals of war, and have entitled those who have participated therein to the applause and thanks of the nation.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
IN THE FIELD,
Near Jonesborough, Ga., September 6, 1864--3 p.m.
(Received 11.05 p.m. 8th.)
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
I have just received your telegram, and shall announce it to the whole army, preceded by the expression, "The general commanding announces to the army with pride and satisfaction," and followed by "All corps, regiments, and batteries may, without further notice, inscribe 'Atlanta' on their colors." We are moving back to Atlanta slowly, making good use of the corn-fields, which our animals needed, and to prevent a boast of the enemy that we were in a hurry. I have burned a good deal of cotton, but will save enough to pay the expenses of the salute.
W. T. SHERMAN,
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS No. 66.
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS.,
In the Field, near Jonesborough, Ga.,
September 6, 1864.
I. The general-in-chief communicates with a feeling of just pride and satisfaction the following orders of the President of the United States, and telegram of Lieut. Gen. U.S. Grant, on hearing of the capture of Atlanta:
Washington, D.C., September 3, 1864.
The national thanks are tendered by the President to Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman and the gallant officers and soldiers of his command before Atlanta, for the distinguished ability, courage, and perseverance displayed in the campaign in Georgia, which, under Divine favor, has resulted in the capture of the city of Atlanta. The marches, battles, sieges, and other military operations that have signalized the campaign, must render it famous in the annals of war, and have entitled those who have participated therein to the applause and thanks of the nation.
President of the United States.
Washington City, September 3, 1864.
First. That on Monday, the 5th day of September, commencing at the hour of 12 noon, there shall be given a salute of 100 guns at the Arsenal and Navy-Yard, Washington, and on Tuesday, the 6th day of September, or on the day after the receipt of this order, at each arsenal and navy-yard in the United States, for the recent brilliant achievements of the fleet and land forces of the United States in the harbor of Mobile, and in the reduction of Fort Powell, Fort Gaines, and Fort Morgan. The Secretary of War and Secretary of Navy will issue the necessary directions, in their respective Departments, for the execution of this order.
Second. That on Wednesday, the 7th day of September, commencing at the hour of 12 noon, there shall be fired a salute of 100 guns at the arsenal at Washington, and at New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburg, Newport, Ky., Saint Louis, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Hilton Head, and New Berne, or the day after the receipt of this order, for the brilliant achievements of the army under command of Major-General Sherman in the State of Georgia, and the capture of Atlanta. The Secretary of War will issue directions for the execution of this order.
President of the United States.
CITY POINT, VA., September 4, 1864--9 p.m.
I have just received your dispatch announcing the capture of Atlanta. In honor of your great victory I have ordered a salute to be fired with shotted guns from every battery bearing upon the enemy. The salute will be fired within an hour amidst great rejoicing.
II. All the corps, regiments, and batteries composing this army may, without further orders, inscribe "Atlanta" on their colors.
By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman
L. M. DAYTON,
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS No. 68.
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS.,
In the Field, Atlanta, Ga.,
September 8, 1864.
The officers and soldiers of the Armies of the Cumberland, Ohio, and Tennessee have already received the thanks of the nation through its President and Commander-in-Chief, and it now remains only for him who has been with you from the beginning, and who intends to stay all the time, to thank the officers and men for their intelligence, fidelity, and courage as displayed in the campaign of Atlanta.
On the 1st of May our armies were lying in garrison seemingly quiet, from Knoxville to Huntsville, and our enemy lay behind his rocky-faced barrier at Dalton, proud, defiant, and exulting. He had had time since Christmas to recover from his discomfiture on the Mission Ridge, with his ranks filled, and a new commander-in-chief second to none of the Confederacy in reputation for skill, sagacity, and extreme popularity. All at once our armies assumed life and action, and appeared before Dalton. Threatening Rocky Face, we threw ourselves upon Resaca, and the rebel army only escaped by the rapidity of its retreat, aided by the numerous roads, with which he was familiar, and which were strange to us. Again he took post in Allatoona, but we gave him no rest, and by our circuit toward Dallas and subsequent movement to Acworth we gained the Allatoona Pass. Then followed the eventful battles about Kenesaw and the escape of the enemy across the Chattahoochee River. The crossing of the Chattahoochee and breaking of the Augusta road was most handsomely executed by us, and will be studied as an example in the art of war. At this stage of our game our enemies became dissatisfied with their old and skillful commander and selected one more bold and rash. New tactics were adopted. Hood first boldly and rapidly, on the 20th of July, fell on our right at Peach Tree Creek and lost. Again, on the 22d, he struck our extreme left and was severely punished, and finally, again on the 28th, he repeated the attempt on our right, and that time must have become satisfied, for since that date he has remained on the defensive. We slowly and gradually drew our lines about Atlanta, feeling for the railroad which supplied the rebel army and made Atlanta a place of importance. We must concede to our enemy that he met these efforts patiently and skillfully, but at last he made the mistake we had waited for so long, and sent his cavalry to our rear, far beyond the reach of recall. Instantly our cavalry was on his only remaining road and we followed quickly with our principal arms, and Atlanta fell into our possession as the fruit of well-concerted measures, backed by a brave and confident army. This completed the grand task which had been assigned us by our Government, and your general again repeats his personal and official thanks to all the officers and men composing this army for the indomitable courage and perseverance which alone could give success. We have beaten our enemy on every ground he has chosen, and have wrested from him his own Gate City, where were located his foundries, arsenals, and work-shops, deemed secure on account of their distance from the base and the seemingly impregnable obstacles intervening.
Nothing is impossible to an army like this, determined to vindicate a Government which has rights wherever our flag has once floated, and is resolved to maintain them at any and all costs.
In our campaign many, yea, very many, of our noble and gallant comrades have preceded us to our common destination--the grave. But they have left the memory of deeds on which a nation can build a proud history. McPherson, Harker, McCook, and others dear to us all, are now the binding links in our minds that should attach more closely together the living, who have to complete the task which still lays before us in the dim future. I ask all to continue, as they have so well begun, the cultivation of the soldierly virtues that have ennobled our own and other countries-courage, patience, obedience to the laws and constituted authorities of our Government, fidelity to our trusts, and good feeling among each other, each trying to excel the other in the practice of those high qualities--and it will then require no prophet to foretell that our country will in time emerge from this war, purified by the fires of war and worthy its great founder--Washington.
By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON,
GENERAL ORDERS No. 3.
WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, January 14, 1865.
The following resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives is published to the Army:
PUBLIC RESOLUTION No. 4.--Joint resolution tendering the thanks of the people and of Congress to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and the officers and soldiers of his command for their gallant conduct in their late brilliant movement through Georgia.
Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the thanks of the people and of the Congress of the United States are due, and are hereby tendered, to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and, through him, to the officers and men under his command for their gallantry and good conduct in their hate campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and the triumphal march thence through Georgia to Savannah, terminating in the capture and occupation of that city; and that the President cause a copy of this joint resolution to be engrossed and forwarded to Major-General Sherman.
Approved, January 10, 1865.
By order of the Secretary of War:
W. A. NICHOLS,
This page last updated 10/28/01
RETURN TO ATLANTA CAMPAIGN AFTER BATTLE REPORTS PAGE