Reports of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding Army of the Cumberland.
MAY 1-SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--The Atlanta (Georgia) Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/1 [S# 72]
HEADQUARTERS. ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND,
In the Field, near Dallas, Ga., June 5, 1864.
Commanding. Lieut. Col. R. M. SAWYER,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report the operations of my command for the month of May as follows.
In obedience to instructions from the major-general commanding the military division, I got my command in readiness for a forward movement on Dalton, Ga., and was fully prepared to move on the 2d of May, as directed. Major-General Hooker, commanding Twentieth Army Corps, was directed to move from Lookout Valley, via Lee and Gordon's Mills, on East Chickamauga Creek, to Leet's farm, on the road leading from the mills to Nickajack Gap, the movement to commence on the 2d. Major-General Palmer, commanding the Fourteenth Army Corps, was to concentrate his command at Ringgold, Ga., and Major-General Howard, commanding the Fourth Army Corps, was to move from Cleveland, East Tennessee, on the 3d, and concentrate his command in the vicinity of Catoosa Springs, about three miles east of Ringgold; McCook's division of cavalry to move on Howard's left; Kilpatrick's division of cavalry was stationed at Ringgold, picketing toward Tunnel Hill, and patrolling on Palmer's right flank; Garrard s division was detached and operating under instructions from Major-General McPherson, commanding the Army of the Tennessee. The army got into position by the 5th, and stood as above directed, communication having been fully established from the right to the left of the whole command.
According to instructions given on the 6th, the army moved on Tunnel Hill at daylight on the 7th in three columns--Palmer's corps on the direct road from Ringgold, Howard s via Lee s house, and Hooker's via Nickajack Gap and Trickurn. The enemy made some show of resistance in Palmer's front, but evacuated Tunnel Hill on the appearance of Howard's column on his flank, and fled toward Buzzard Roost, our troops occupying Tunnel Hill Ridge. Palmer's, command was then moved forward and took position on Howard s right along the ridge, and both corps remained there for the night. Hooker's column reached Trickum Post-Office about 4 p.m. and camped for the night, picketing strongly the roads leading from Buzzard Roost and Dalton, as well as the approaches from the direction of Villanow. General Kilpatrick's division of cavalry took post at or near Gordon's Spring to be in readiness to establish communication with the Army of the Tennessee, which was expected at Villanow on the 8th.
On the morning of the 8th Harker's brigade, of Newton's division, Howard's corps, was pushed along the crest of Rocky Face Ridge to within half a mile of the rebels' signal station, where it came upon obstructions of too formidable character to admit of farther progress, except with very severe loss; it was instructed to hold the position. Wood's division, of the Fourth Corps; Davis' division, of the Fourteenth Corps, and Butterfield's division, of the Twentieth Corps, then pushed forward a line of skirmishers and drove the enemy to his intrenchments, our men occupying the mouth of Buzzard Roost. Geary's division, of the Twentieth Corps, made a reconnaissance well up the side of Chattoogata Mountain (a high and precipitous ridge running due south from Buzzard Roost). Geary's men fought their way well up to the enemy's intrenchments on the crest, but with considerable loss and without being able to gain possession of Mill Gap. The troops were then withdrawn to a position in the valley out of reach of the enemy's guns; Kilpatrick's communicated with General McPherson's command at Villanow, and then returned to Trickum. Brig. Gen. Ed. McCook was ordered to concentrate his cavalry division and take post on the left of General Schofield until General Stoneman's cavalry could arrive and relieve him. From a prisoner captured at Buzzard Roost we learned that the force defending the passage of the gap amounted to 11.000 men, comprising Stewart's, and Bate's divisions, being supported by Hind-man's and Stevenson s divisions, numbering 10,000 more. They had considerable artillery, but none heavier than 10-pounder caliber. The enemy was fortifying all night of the 7th and had masked batteries at points all through the pass. Heavy skirmishing was kept up along the whole line during the 9th and 10th with considerable loss in wounded, and but few killed.
General Hooker was directed on the 10th to send one division from his command to the support of General McPherson at Snake Creek Gap, to enable the latter to operate more freely from danger to his rear. Kilpatrick's cavalry was also ordered to report to General McPherson. McCook's division of cavalry, posted on the left of General Schofield's command, had a heavy skirmish with three brigades of the enemy's cavalry on the road leading to Varnell's Station, resulting in our driving the rebels to their intrenchments on Poplar Creek Hill, where they opened on McCook's troops with two pieces of artillery. Our loss was 136 men and 15 officers killed, wounded, and missing; among the latter Colonel La Grange, of the First Wisconsin, who was captured. The enemy's loss was greater than ours. General Hooker was directed to send another division from his command to Snake Creek Gap, with instructions to repair the road through the gap so as to facilitate the passage of infantry and wagons.
On the 11th it was decided to leave one corps (Howard's), supported by Stoneman's and McCook's divisions of cavalry, and move to Snake Creek Gap with the balance of the army, attacking the enemy in force from that quarter, while Howard was keeping up the impression of a direct attack on Buzzard Roost. This movement was to commence on the 12th. Instructions were given to corps commanders to provide their commands with ten days' rations and a good supply of ammunition, sending all surplus wagons back to Ringgold.
At 9 a.m. on the 13th General Howard's command occupied Dalton, it having been evacuated by the enemy on the evening of the 12th, concentrating his troops in Dalton. General Howard pursued the enemy along the railroad in the direction of Resaca, capturing a considerable number of prisoners.
The concentration of the balance of the army in Snake Creek Gap having been completed by the night of the 12th, at 8 a.m. on the 13th Hooker's corps, preceded by Kilpatrick's cavalry, moved out on the Resaca road in support of McPherson's troops, threatening Resaca. Palmer's corps moved out of Snake Creek Gap two miles northeast of Hooker, and then took a course parallel with the Resaca road, with orders to proceed as far as the railroad. On reaching the neighborhood of the railroad his skirmishers encountered those of the enemy strongly posted on the hills immediately west of the railroad, and continued a fierce skirmish with them until night-fall. Butterfield's division, of Hooker's corps, moved up in support of Palmer's right.
About noon of the 14th Schofield's and Palmer's corps attacked the enemy's position on the hills bordering the railroad, meeting with very heavy resistance. General Schofield's left being threatened, and he having called on me for support, I directed Newton's division, of Howard's corps, which had just arrived from Dalton, to move to Schofield's assistance, and subsequently the whole of Howard's corps took post on the left of Schofield. During the afternoon Hooker's corps, which had been acting as support to General McPherson, was shifted to the left of Howard's command, and Williams' division reached the position assigned him just in time to meet and repel a fierce attack of the enemy who was endeavoring to turn Howard's left flank. McCook's division of cavalry took post on the left of Hooker to guard against any further attempt of the enemy in that direction. The fighting in Schofield's and Howard's front was very severe, but we drove the enemy from the hills he had occupied and forced him into his intrenchments beyond. From prisoners captured we learned that Johnston's entire army was confronting us.
At daylight on the morning of the 15th our line stood nearly as follows: Palmer's corps on the right, connecting with the left of McPherson's line, then Schofield, Howard, and Hooker, with McCook's cavalry on our extreme left.
Orders were issued during the night of the 14th for the whole line to advance at daylight on the 15th, provision being made for the retirement of Schofield's troops from the position they then occupied, and directions having been given them to take post on the left, where they properly belonged, as soon as crowded out from the center of my line by the advance of Palmer and Howard. About 11 a.m. General Butterfield's division, of Hooker's corps, supported by Williams' and Geary's, of the same command, attacked and carried a series of hills strongly occupied by the enemy on the eastern road leading from Tilton to Resaca. The rebels were driven for nearly a mile and a half, our forces capturing 4 guns and a number of prisoners.
Information was received by daylight on the 16th that Johnston had evacuated Resaca, and directions were immediately given for the whole army to start in pursuit. Our troops occupied the town about 9 a.m. and commenced repairing the bridge over the Oostenaula, which had been partially burned by the enemy; a pontoon bridge was also thrown across above the railroad bridge, so that by night Howard's corps had got across, and marched on Calhoun. Hooker's command crossed the Connesauga at Fite's Ferry and at a ford in its vicinity, thence marching south across the Coosawattee toward Adairsville. Palmer's command was to follow after Howard's, except Davis' division, which was detached and sent toward Rome to the support of Garrard's cavalry, then acting under special instructions from the major-general commanding the military division.
On the l2th our advance skirmished with the enemy nearly the whole distance from Calhoun to within two miles of Adairsville, when a fierce skirmish ensued, completely checking our farther progress, and occasioning considerable loss in wounded. Information was brought in about dark that the whole of Johnston's army was at Adairsville.
The column was again set in motion on the morning of the l8th, the enemy having left during the night. Howard's and Palmer's commands moved on the direct road and along the railroad toward Kingston, camping at a point three miles north of the latter place. Hooker's corps moved on a road running southeast from Adairsville, his instruction being to proceed as far as Cassville, and there await further orders. General Davis' division, of the Fourteenth Corps, occupied Rome, capturing a large amount of commissary and quartermaster stores, hospital supplies, &c., and all sorts of ammunition, enough to supply his command for two weeks. The enemy tried to destroy the valuable iron-works at this place, but failed to do them much injury.
Howard's troops entered Kingston about 8 a.m. on the 19th, skirmishing with the enemy on the southeastern side of the town. The column started again about 11 a.m. and came up with what was reported to be Cheatham's and another division in line of battle on a hill about half way between Kingston and Cassville. Howard's troops shelled the enemy from this position, pushing on after him to within two miles of Cassville, skirmishing with his rear guard until dark, when the command halted for the night. Baird's division, of Palmer's corps, was posted on the right of Howard's corps. Hooker's troops engaged the enemy on the road, leading direct from Adairsville to Cassville, skirmishing with him and driving him into his works at the latter place. At 10 p.m. General Hooker reported the town in possession of his troops. A deserter came into our lines with the information that Johnston received a re-enforcement of 6,000 men on the 19th, and that his army was now estimated at 70,000 strong.
By direction of the major-general commanding the military division the whole command rested until the morning of the 23d. In the mean time, the railroad having been placed in running order as far as Cassville Depot, twenty days' rations and forage were issued to the troops. Resaca was directed to be strongly held and made a depot of supplies, only such stores and provisions to be brought forward to Kingston and Rome as could be moved by the wagons present with the army. My directions were to move my army at daylight on the morning of the 23d on Dallas, by Euharlee and Stilesborough; the division of Brig. Gen. Jeff. C. Davis, at Rome, as soon as relieved by troops from General McPherson's army, to march direct on Dallas, by way of Van Wert. The advance guard of McCook's division of cavalry reached Stilesborough on the afternoon of the 23d, and found the place occupied by a strong force of the enemy's cavalry, supported by infantry, which resisted his farther advance, skirmishing with him until dark. The commands of Major-Generals Hooker, Howard, and Palmer camped on the south side of Euharlee Creek, in accordance with my directions.
General Hooker was directed to send one division of his command at daylight on the morning of the 24th to push the enemy across Raccoon Creek toward Allatoona, on the Alabama road, and hold him in that position until relieved by the Army of the Ohio, covering the movements of the balance of the Twentieth Corps, directly through Stilesborough, upon Burnt Hickory, at which latter place his whole command was to encamp. McCook's division of cavalry was to precede the Twentieth Corps in the movement upon Burnt Hickory, and then take up a position toward Allatoona, picketing the roads strongly, and covering the movements of the army. The Fourth Corps followed the Twentieth Corps, camping on its right, and the Fourteenth Corps, not being able to reach Burnt Hickory on account of the crowded state of the roads and the difficult nature of the ground passed over, camped at a point on Allatoona Ridge, about half way between Stilesborough and Burnt Hickory. McCook reached Burnt Hickory about 2 p.m., after skirmishing with the enemy about four miles. He captured a rebel courier, bearing a dispatch to the rebel General Jackson, commanding a division of cavalry, with instructions from General Johnston to observe our movements toward Burnt Hickory, and stating that Johnston was moving in the direction of Dallas and Powder Springs. General Garrard, commanding Second Cavalry Division, informed me that he was camped on Pumpkin Vine Creek, about three miles from Dallas, and that in moving on that place, and when within a quarter of a mile from it, he was attacked by what was reported by prisoners to be Bate's division, the advance of Hardee's corps. Garrard repulsed this force and drove it back toward Dallas.
On the 25th the First Division of Cavalry (McCook's) moved on the road leading to Golgotha, preceding Butterfield's division, of the Twentieth Corps. The balance of General Hooker's command advanced on the road leading to Dallas running south of the one used by Butterfield's division. Howard's corps followed Hooker's, and in rear of Howard, Palmer's. About 11 a.m. General Geary's division, of the Twentieth Corps, being in advance, came upon the enemy in considerable force at a point about four and a half miles from Dallas, the country on both sides of the road being thickly wooded and covered with undergrowth. Geary skirmished heavily with the enemy, slowly driving him, until Butterfield's and Williams' divisions carne up and relieved Geary's troops. Soon after the arrival of Williams, about 3 p.m., the column was again put in motion, Williams' division in advance, and, although heavily engaged, drove the enemy steadily before it into his intrenchments. Our loss was heavy, but it is believed that the loss of the enemy was much greater. Shortly after 3 p.m. the head of Howard's column got within supporting distance of Hooker's corps, and Newton's division was placed in position on Hooker's left about 6 p.m., and by morning the whole of Howard's corps was in position on the left of Hooker.
The roads were so full of wagons that Palmer's corps could not get into position by night of the 25th, but on the morning of the 26th Johnson's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, was moved up to within a short distance of Hooker's and Howard's commands, and was posted in reserve. Davis' division, Fourteenth Corps, which had reported back to its command (it having been relieved at Rome by troops from the Army of the Tennessee), was sent by General Palmer to move on Dallas by the most direct road from where he then was to support General McPherson's command, and communicate with the right of General Hooker. Baird's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, was left at Burnt Hickory to protect the trains at that point and the rear of the army. McCook's division of cavalry met the enemy's cavalry on the road leading from Burnt Hickory to Marietta near its intersection with the lower Dallas and Allatoona road. McCook's troops skirmished heavily with the force opposing them, inflicting on them considerable loss and capturing 52 prisoners, from whom it was ascertained that the whole of Wheelers cavalry was posted on the right of the rebel army. The left of General Howard's corps was swung around to the right, occupying a line of hills running nearly perpendicular to the line occupied by Hooker on the 25th, thereby threatening the enemy's right. The Twenty-third Army Corps, Major-General Schofield commanding, was posted on the left of my command, Schofield's left extending to and covering the road leading from Allatoona to Dallas, via New Hope Church. There was light skirmishing all day while Howard and Schofield were working into position, and at dark on the 26th Howard's left connected with Schofield's right. In the mean time trains were brought up and rations and ammunition issued where practicable. Strong breast-works were thrown up all along the line, the men working cheerfully and prepared to resist any attack the enemy might see fit to make.
On the 27th, in accordance with instructions given by the major-general commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi, Hooker's and Howard's corps pressed the enemy, supported by considerable artillery firing. Wood's division, of Howard's corps, supported by Johnson's division, of Palmer's corps, was moved to the left of Schofield's line and swung around toward the right, attacking the enemy's right flank and driving him into his rifle-pits, with considerable loss, however, to our troops. Our men had to contend with an almost hidden foe, the ground being cut up into ravines and covered by a dense forest filled with undergrowth; but notwithstanding all the difficulties of the country both officers and men did their work nobly, and having assumed a position were not to be moved from it. The enemy came out of his works in front of Newton's division, of Howard's corps, attacking Wagner's and Kimball's brigades, but was driven back after a short and warm contest. General Davis occupied Dallas with his division on the afternoon of the 27th, skirmishing with the enemy and driving him as far as he could without losing his connection with General McPherson. Davis reported that after skirmishing all the afternoon he developed the enemy in force and strongly posted in front of his (Davis') left, with a battery in position on a hill commanding the road between him and General Hooker. Davis had, however, cut a road through the forest to his rear, by which he could communicate safely with Hooker. During the night of the 27th the enemy attacked Davis and was repulsed after a sharp fight, leaving behind him a few wounded and 27 prisoners, belonging mostly to Polk's corps. By this time it had been ascertained beyond a doubt that Johnston had his whole army with him, strengthened by Polk's command and detachments sent from various points to re-enforce him. He had taken up a strong position, which he was steadily strengthening with earth-works, evidently with the determination to make a firm stand where he then was.
On the 28th our line stood as follows: Hooker's corps (Twentieth) on the right, with Davis' division, of Palmer's corps, still on his right, but acting as a support to the Army of the Tennessee; two divisions of Howard's corps (Fourth) on the left of Hooker; then the Army of the Ohio, Major-General Schofield commanding. Wood's division, of Howard's corps, on the, left of Schofield's command, with Johnson's division, of Palmer s corps, on the left of Wood; Stoneman's division of cavalry holding a hill to the left of Johnson, and then McCook's division of cavalry holding the road leading from Burnt Church to Marietta, via Golgotha, and guarding the left of the army. During the 28th there was considerable artillery firing, with skirmishing at intervals during the day and night.
During the night of the 29th the enemy felt our line at several points, without making a serious attack at any one place. They found our men vigilant and fully prepared for them. Owing to the close proximity of the enemy's lines to the right of ours, neither McPherson nor Davis could withdraw from their positions without being attacked and forced to return, so that the project of using their commands to relieve Hooker, Howard, and Schofield, allowing these latter to take post on the left of the line, could not be carried out, although three attempts at a withdrawal were made by McPherson and Davis is on the nights of the 29th, 30th, and 31st. In the meanwhile, the position of the army remained unchanged up to the 31st, our skirmishers and those of the enemy exchanging occasional shots.
The detailed reports of the subordinate commanders will be forwarded as soon as handed in.
I have the honor to forward herewith a consolidated return of casualties for the month, as also a return of prisoners captured, and a list of captured property and ammunition expended.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U.S. Volunteers,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
In the Field, July 16, 1864.
Lieut. Col. R. M. SAWYER,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Mil. Div. of. the Mississippi.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report the operations of my command for the month of June, as follows:
June 1, Hooker's, Howard's, and Palmer's corps were confronting the enemy's position at New Hope Church, near Dallas, Ga., with McCook's division of cavalry on the left of the army guarding the approaches from the direction of Acworth and Marietta.
June 2, General Hooker's corps having been relieved in the position it occupied on the right of my army by General McPhersons' troops, moved in support of the Army of the Ohio, Major-General Schofield commanding, and occupied the hills on the extreme left of my line which had been previously held by Stoneman's and Mc-Cooks divisions of cavalry, McCook taking post on the left of Schofield on the Dallas and Acworth road. Baird's division, of Palmer's corps, moved up from Burnt Hickory, and took up a position in reserve behind Johnson's division, of the same corps. Davis' division, of Palmer's corps, relieved General Schofield's troops at the same time that General Hooker was relieved by General McPherson's command. As soon as the troops got into their new positions, Schofield s and Hookers corps, and Baird s division, of Palmer s corps, swung round toward the right, skirmishing with the enemy as they advanced, gaining some ground, which they immediately prepared to hold. Howard's corps, on the right of my line, occupied the enemy's attention, and was held in readiness to follow the general movement against the enemy's right.
June 3, General Palmer advanced Baird's division about a mile in a southeasterly direction, and General Hooker moved Butterfield's and Geary's divisions toward the Acworth and Dallas road, sending one brigade to take possession of and hold the bridge across Allatoona Creek, four miles southwest from Allatoona. General E. M. McCook, with his division of cavalry, took position on the direct road from Dallas to Acworth at the crossing of Allatoona Creek, one and a half miles south of and above the crossing held by General Hooker's troops. Scouts were sent into Acworth, reaching there at 11 a.m., finding the town nearly deserted. They captured a few of the enemy's vedettes. On reaching the new position the troops were immediately set to work strengthening them by breast-works of logs, while continual skirmishing was being kept up with the enemy.
During the night of the 4th the enemy fell back from our front, his works being found completely evacuated on the morning of the 5th. After a careful reconnaissance of the ground lately occupied by him, the conclusion was that he had fallen back in the direction of Big Shanty, a point on the railroad about six miles from Marietta.
June 6, General Hooker moved his command to the vicinity of McLean's house, on the Sandtown road, near its intersection with the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, and about three miles southwest from Acworth. General Palmer's corps was posted on General Hooker's left, Palmer's left resting on Proctor's Creek; General Howard's corps in the vicinity of Durham's house. By direction of the major-general commanding the military division, the whole command remained in the above position until the morning of the 10th instant. In the mean time the railroad was completed through to Acworth, and rations and ammunition were replenished.
June 9, General E. M. McCook, commanding First Division of Cavalry, made a reconnaissance toward the enemy's position in our front. After passing two miles beyond the pickets of the Twentieth Army Corps, he came upon those of the enemy on the Marietta side of Allatoona Creek and drove them in upon a heavier line about a mile beyond, coming in view of the enemy's camp on Pine Hill, where they appeared to be in force.
June 10, Palmer's corps moved out of camp on a road running in a southeasterly direction, passing by Owen's house, and found the enemy strongly posted on Pine Hill, skirmishing with him until dark. Howard's corps moved on the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road and took post on the right of Palmer in front of Pine Hill. Hooker's corps moved on the same road with General Howard's command.
June 11, the commands of Generals Palmer and Howard moved to the left and slightly in advance of their position of yesterday, General Palmer's left resting on the railroad and connecting with General McPherson's army. The enemy was found to be strongly posted on a line of hills running west from Kenesaw Mountain to Lost Mountain, with a strong advanced work on Pine Hill. The approaches to this position were over a very broken and thickly wooded country which two days of rain had rendered almost impassable.
June 14, Palmer's corps and the left of Howard's pushed forward to a position about a mile in advance of their line established on the 11th, Howard's right being already in close proximity to the enemy's position on Pine Hill.
June 15, the enemy having evacuated Pine Hill during the night, it was occupied by General Howard's troops early in the day. About noon General Hooker's corps, on the right of Pine Hill, advanced against the enemy's position directly in his front, driving him to his main works after very heavy skirmishing and considerable loss. Howard's corps also moved against the enemy on the left of Pine Hill and succeeded in driving him to his main fortifications. Both Hooker and Howard established themselves within 100 yards of the enemy's main line, and immediately secured the position gained. The right of Palmer's corps moved in connection with General Howard's left.
June 16, Hooker and Howard remained in the positions taken up by them yesterday, their skirmishers being close up to those of the enemy, keeping up a steady firing all day. Palmer advanced his center division a short distance toward the enemy's works, shortening and more nearly perfecting the line established by yesterday's operations. Batteries were placed at commanding points along the entire line, and kept up a continuous fire on the enemy's works and camps.
June 17, having ascertained during the night that the enemy had evacuated his main line of works, the Fourth and Twentieth Corps were advanced early in the morning, passing over the fortifications lately occupied by the enemy, and swinging around toward the southeast, proceeded until their skirmishers came upon those of the enemy, whose main force was posted on a line of hills bordering Mud Creek, on the Marietta side of it, running nearly perpendicular to their earth-works lately abandoned, and in a southwesterly direction from Kenesaw Mountain. The right of Palmer moved in conformity with Howard's corps, keeping up the connection with the left of it, while Palmer's left still rested on the railroad in front of Kenesaw, connecting at that point with the right of the Army of the Tennessee. Hooker's right rested at and a little in advance of Darby's house, on the Sandtown road, nearly five miles due west from Marietta. Part of General Howard's troops, in the center, under the fire of a heavy cannonading previously ordered, charged the enemy's rifle-pits and effected a lodgment in the woods close up to his main line. During the night the enemy made two attacks upon this force and was repulsed each time. General McCook's division of cavalry turned the enemy's left during the afternoon, driving his cavalry across Mud Creek, on the Dallas and Marietta road, to within six miles of Marietta, and capturing 2 hospitals containing 5 officers and 35 enlisted men, 14 nurses, and 2 surgeons.
June 18, at 4 a.m. Wood's division, of Howard's corps, pressed up close to the enemy's works, finding him still in force. Shortly after, the right of Howard's skirmishers, strongly supported, advanced suddenly and carried an intrenched line of rebel works, capturing about 50 prisoners. The enemy tried hard to regain the ground, but failed in every attempt they made. Howard's men pressed the enemy so closely that he could not throw out skirmishers from his works, while our pickets, and at some points our main line, kept up such a well-directed fire of musketry that the rebels could not use their artillery. During the day and night batteries were worked into positions from which the enemy's works could be enfiladed, should he remain in them by morning.
June 19, at 5 a.m. each of my corps commanders notified me that the rebels had fallen back from our front, and an advance of the whole line was immediately ordered. Howard's troops came up with the enemy at 7 a.m. on the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, finding him posted on a line of ridges just west of Marietta, and apparently in strong force. Skirmished with him heavily all day, capturing 250 prisoners, among whom were 14 commissioned officers. General Palmer formed his corps on the left of Howard's, close up to the base of Kenesaw Mountain. General Hooker came up with the enemy across Noyes' Creek, on the Dallas and Marietta road, strongly posted on a line of ridges, evidently a continuation of those in General Howard's front. Skirmishing was kept up along the line until dark, the troops in the mean time getting well into position.
June 20, Wood's and Newton's divisions, of Howard's corps, were moved to the right to relieve Williams' and Geary's divisions, of Hooker's corps, posted across the Dallas and Marietta road, near Guess' house; the movement being made in order to enable General Hooker to operate more strongly against the enemy's left flank, and at the same time co-operate with and support General Schofield's army, which was nearly two miles distant on the Sandtown road, endeavoring to cross Noyes' Creek, the enemy disputing his passage. Stanley's division, of Howard's corps, carried a hill to the right of the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, driving the enemy from his skirmish rifle-pits and into his main works. The position gained was immediately strengthened by earth-works, which were scarcely completed when the enemy in strong force assaulted Stanley and was quickly repulsed with severe loss. He made a second attempt in less than half an hour afterward, and was again driven off, our men capturing about 20 prisoners. At dark the right of Palmer connected with General Howard's left.
June 21, General Howard's troops carried a hill about 700 yards in advance of the position gained the night before; his main line was moved up about 500 yards, fortifying the position, under a terrible artillery fire from the enemy, our skirmishers taking possession of an intrenched line lately occupied by the enemy. A number of prisoners were captured, and the conduct of the troops was 'admirable. General Hooker's troops carried and occupied a prominent hill about 500 yards in advance of his old line, and then connected his left with General Howard's right.
June 22, Williams' division, of Hooker's corps, skirmished itself into position on the right of Geary's division, the right of Williams' resting at Kolb's house, on the Powder Springs and Marietta road. About 4 p.m. the enemy in heavy force attacked Knipe's brigade in its advanced position before his men had time to throw up any works, and persisted in the assault until sundown, when they withdrew, their ranks hopelessly broken, each assault having been repelled with heavy loss. While this attack on Hooker was in progress the enemy opened heavily with artillery along our whole line, to which we answered fully to his satisfaction, our practice being very fine. After dark General Howard's left division (Stanley's) was relieved by King's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, Stanley in turn relieving the left division of Hooker's corps, which was transferred farther to the right.
June 23, it having been found desirable to gain possession of a prominent hill a short distance in advance of Stanley's position on Howard's right, directions were given to the latter to advance a strong skirmish line toward the enemy's works in front of Stanley's and Newton's divisions, and if found practicable, without too much sacrifice, to carry the hill by assault. This movement was preceded by a heavy cannonade from Howard's batteries and part of Hooker's, lasting fifteen minutes. Stanley's skirmishers carried the enemy's skirmish rifle-pits, capturing a number of prisoners, but could not gain the main works on the crest of the hill. They held the ground gained until after night-fall, when, being attacked in front and flank by a greatly superior force, Stanley was obliged to fall back to the position he occupied in the afternoon previous to the advance. On the center and left of Howard the advanced line secured themselves in their positions and were able to hold them.
June 25, Davis' division, of Palmer's corps, being on the extreme left of my army, was relieved by troops from General McPher-son's army, and moved to a position in reserve, behind the right of Howard's line. This change was effected after dark, and by daylight on the 26th Davis' troops had reached the position assigned them. Baird's division, of Palmer's corps (being relieved by troops from the Army of the Tennessee), was also withdrawn from its position in line in front of Kenesaw Mountain and moved during the night of the 26th to a position in reserve near that occupied by Davis' troops.
June 27, at 8 a.m. the enemy's works were assaulted at two points, one in front of Newton's division, of Howard's corps, and the other in front of Davis' division, of Palmer's corps, Davis having relieved the right division (Stanley's) of General Howard's line. Stanley moved his command a short distance to the left, and acted as a support to Newton's division in its assault upon the works, Wood's division being in reserve. Davis' assault was supported by Baird's division, of Palmer's corps, on the right, and Hooker's whole corps was held in readiness to support the movement of Palmer's and Howard's commands. Although the troops were enabled to drive the enemy into his main works and reached that point with their main line, they were unable to carry the positions on account of the heavy fire of musketry and canister brought to bear upon them at short range, but held the ground gained. Our loss was 1,580 killed, wounded, and missing, some of our men being shot while on the parapets of the enemy's works. We took 130 prisoners. General Davis immediately commenced fortifying his advanced position at the distance of about seventy-five yards from the enemy's fortifications, covering the working parties with such a heavy and well-directed fire of musketry that the enemy could not molest them in their operations. About midnight on the 29th the enemy attacked Davis, overwhelming his skirmishers and driving them back, when they rallied and drove the rebels back again to their works.
During the 29th and 30th all remained comparatively quiet along the line, the skirmishers in the most advanced positions only exchanging occasional shots with the enemy.
Throughout the month the enemy's cavalry in small parties, assisted by guerrillas and disloyal citizens, have been prowling along the railroad between Chattanooga and the points occupied by the main army. On a few occasions they succeeded in burning one or two unimportant bridges and attacked several trains passing over the road, burning a few cars. The troops along the railroad were always on the alert, rendering it difficult for any very serious damage to be perpetrated. All breaks or interferences to travel were speedily removed by the well-organized construction party under the immediate superintendence of Col. W. W. Wright (Forty-fourth U.S. Colored), chief engineer military railroads of the military division.
I have the honor to annex hereto a consolidated list of casualties for the month, a return of prisoners captured, and the amount of ammunition expended.
The detailed reports of the subordinate commanders will be forwarded as soon as handed in.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
August 17, 1864.
Lieut. Col. R. M. SAWYER,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report the operations of my command for the month of July, as follows:
The position of the Army of the Cumberland on the morning of the 1st of July remained as established immediately after the assault on the enemy's works on the 27th of June--Hooker's corps on the right, his right connecting with the left of the Army of the Ohio, near Kolb's house, on the Powder Springs and Marietta road; Palmer's corps in the center, except King's division, which occupied the works on the left of Howard's corps, and connected with the Army of the Tennessee at the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, in advance of York's house; the First Division of Cavalry, Brig. Gen. E. M. McCook commanding, was operating on the right of the Army of the Ohio and protecting that flank; the Second Division of Cavalry, Brig. Gen. K. Garrard commanding, was still detached from my army and operating under instructions from the commanding general of the Military Division of the Mississippi, and the Third Division, Col. W. W. Lowe commanding, was stationed on the railroad between Cartersville and Dalton, scouting the country thoroughly between those two points. The troops of Generals Hooker, Howard, and Palmer had worked themselves at considerable cost of life and labor into position close up to the enemy's fortifications, at some points within a hundred yards, and everywhere so near that they could advance no farther without making a direct assault on almost impregnable works. It was then decided by the major-gen-eral commanding military division to leave my command where it then was, to hold the enemy in check, carefully watching his movements, while the Army of the Tennessee would be withdrawn from my left and transferred to the right of the Army of the Ohio, with a view to turn the enemy's left flank and force him from the strong position he held to the southwest of Kenesaw Mountain. This movement was in process of execution during the night of the 2d, when about daylight of the 3d each of my corps commanders notified me that the enemy had left their respective fronts and that our skirmishers were in possession of his works. A pursuit was immediately ordered by different routes, the concentration to be at Marietta, which place was entered by my troops about 9 a.m. After a short delay the columns were again set in motion, Palmer's corps moving along the railroad by the main Marietta and Atlanta road, with Hooker's command on his right and Howard's on his left; all three within supporting distance of each other. About four miles out from Marietta they came up with the enemy's rear guard, and skirmished with him to near Ruff's Station, where he was found strongly posted in earth-works, which had evidently been finished some time previous with a view to his being obliged to make his present retrograde movement toward the Chattahoochee. The lines were formed, and by night-fall the three corps had skirmished themselves into position close up to the enemy's works, having fully developed their situation and strength. Quite a number of prisoners and stragglers were picked up during the day, about 500 being reported.
The next morning, July 4, the line of battle was readjusted, and during the afternoon the enemy's skirmishers were driven into his main works and our main line was advanced a short distance, our skirmishers intrenching themselves on the line formerly occupied by those of the enemy.
At 4 a.m. on the 5th information was received that the enemy had evacuated his fortifications, and our troops were in possession of them. A pursuit was ordered and made in three columns, Howard's corps, on the left, coming up with the enemy near Pace's Ferry, over the Chattahoochee, just as he had safely effected a crossing of the river at that point and had cut loose the pontoon bridge on which he had crossed. Our skirmishers advanced to the bank of the stream, and batteries were placed in position on the high ground behind, from which they kept up a vigorous shelling of the opposite shore. Palmer's corps got to within a mile of the river, when he found the enemy strongly posted on a commanding hill and occupying a strong earth-work at the northern extremity of the railroad bridge. This force was ascertained to be Hardee's corps. General Hooker found considerable difficulty in crossing Nickajack Creek, not having effected it at night-fall. The railroad and telegraph were repaired and placed in running order to Vining's Station, eight miles south of Marietta.
On the 6th Hooker's corps crossed to the east side of Nickajack Creek, the commands of Generals Palmer and Howard remaining in the same position as yesterday. McCook's cavalry took possession of Powers' Ferry, about five miles above Pace's Ferry. The corps commanders were directed to remain as at present posted, camping their commands in the shade as much as possible, and resting the men all they could. In the mean time details were directed to be sent to the rear to procure clothing, &c., of which the troops stood sorely in need.
In accordance with instructions given, a strong skirmish line was advanced on the 9th to feel the enemy's position and to ascertain if he were still in force on the Marietta side of the river at the railroad bridge. His position was found to be unchanged since the 5th instant. General Howard sent Newton's division of his command to the support of Garrard's division of cavalry, which had seized Roswell Factory and the fords in its vicinity; Newton to be relieved by troops from the Army of the Tennessee, then moving toward Roswell via Marietta.
On the 10th the enemy evacuated his fortifications on our side of the river and fell back toward Atlanta, destroying in his retreat the railroad and wagon bridges. The corps commanders were directed to throw forward a line of skirmishers and occupy the abandoned works. General Howard was directed to move to the left with the remaining two divisions of his corps and take post within supporting distance of the Army of the Ohio near the mouth of Soap Creek.
On the 12th Howard's corps crossed the Chattahoochee at Powers' Ferry and advanced to Abernathy's house, where he formed on the right of the Army of the Ohio, which had crossed at Phillips' Ferry a few days previous.
A deserter belonging to Walker's division, Hardee's corps, who came into our lines on the 13th, stated that Johnston's army was stationed around Atlanta within a circuit of four miles, and that the fortifications of that place were being rapidly strengthened. In the mean time the citizens were leaving for "farther south" and the Government property was being removed.
McCook's division of cavalry moved on the 15th to a position near Vining's Station and went into camp, his instructions being to post his command along the north bank of the river, between Pace's and Turner's Ferries, as soon as the balance of the troops had crossed, and guard the rear of the army.
On the 17th, according to instructions given the night previous, General Howard sent Wood's division of his corps down along the south bank of the river to a position across the Pace's Ferry road, leading to Atlanta, to cover the laying of a pontoon bridge at the ferry. As soon as Wood's troops had brushed away the enemy's pickets lining the south bank the pontoon train, under charge of Col. G. P. Buell, Fifty-eighth Indiana Volunteers, was moved forward to the river and a bridge laid with remarkable celerity and precision by 11 a.m., and shortly afterward a second. As soon as the first bridge was completed Palmer's corps commenced crossing and immediately after Palmer's General Hooker's command went over. Palmer's advanced division (Davis') relieved Wood's division, of Howard's command, and the latter immediately proceeded to rejoin the balance of its corps at Abernathy's house. About a mile beyond the river Davis' division came upon the enemy in some force posted among the turnings of the hills, who fired upon his advance, and, after some show of resistance, fell back toward Nancy's Creek. The column was again set in motion, and proceeded to near Kyle's Bridge, over Nancy's Creek, where line was formed by Palmer's corps, with Hooker's corps on its left, Palmer's skirmishers being pushed out from his right toward the junction of Nancy's and Peach Tree Creeks. Light skirmishing continued until dark.
On the morning of the 18th the whole command crossed Nancy's Creek, and, driving the enemy before it in its advance, pushed forward to a position in front of the old Peach Tree road, leading from Turner's Ferry to Decatur, Palmer's right resting near the junction of Nancy's and Peach Tree Creeks, with Hooker's corps on his left, Hooker's left connecting with Howard's corps at Buck Head.
The advance of Howard's corps, moving down the main road leading from Buck Head to Atlanta, reached the crossing of Peach Tree Creek at 6.30 a.m. on the 19th, finding the bridge destroyed and a pretty fair infantry work constructed as a bridge-head, just beyond, manned with infantry. During the afternoon a crossing was forced by Wood's division a short distance below the Buck Head and Atlanta road, and by Stanley's above, both divisions effecting a lodgment on the south side by dark, the enemy stubbornly resisting their advance. By direction of the major-general commanding the military division. Stanley's and Wood's divisions, of Howard's command, were closed to the left on the Army of the Ohio, which was moving on a road leading to Decatur, leaving Newton's division, of Howard's corps, to the right of the Buck Head and Atlanta road. During the afternoon of the 19th parts of Hooker's and Palmer's corps were crossed over to the south side of Peach Tree Creek, the latter meeting with considerable resistance.
The whole command was across at an early hour on the 20th and the line was adjusted. The left and center advanced to feel the enemy during the afternoon, and while on open ground and unprotected by any works, were assaulted furiously, the attack falling first on Newton's division, which gallantly stood its ground, repelling charge after charge, although his left was very much exposed throughout the contest: thence sweeping toward the right they assaulted Hooker's corps, and the left brigade (McCook's) of Johnson's division, of Palmer's corps. Each assault of the enemy was met gallantly by the whole line and hurled back, our men not yielding a foot of ground. The fighting continued throughout the afternoon till sundown, When the enemy, repulsed at all points, fell back to his works. Our loss was severe, numbering 1,600 in killed and wounded, but judging from the number of the enemy's dead left on the field and buried by us (200 being found in Newton's front alone) his loss must have been much greater. We captured 360 prisoners, of whom 122 were wounded, besides several stand of colors, small-arms, &c. Wood's and Stanley's divisions, of Howard's corps., drove the enemy from two lines of outer works, capturing some prisoners, and developed a strong line of works still farther on and within three miles of Atlanta.
During the 21st there was considerable skirmishing along the entire line, our forces in the mean time crowding up to the rebel main line of works, which were quite formidable. During the night of the 21st the enemy fell back to the fortifications immediately encircling the city of Atlanta, and at an early hour on the 22d I had disposed my troops confronting the new line of defenses taken up by him. Palmer's corps still held the right of my line, With his left resting near the Western and Atlantic Railroad, two and a half miles northwest of Atlanta, connecting at that point with General Hooker's corps, which latter continued the line around to the main Buck Head and Atlanta road, where Howard's corps took it up, Howard s left connecting with General Schofield's army near Colonel Howard's house, on a road leading to Atlanta about one and a half miles southeast of the main Buck Head road. The position chosen by us was a strong one, and by night-fall of the 22d had been greatly strengthened by earth-works, and it having been ascertained that from several points Atlanta could be reached with rifled artillery orders were given to keep up a steady fire upon the town night and day. McCook's division of cavalry was crossed to the east side of the river and posted on the right of my army, along Proctor's Creek, extending over toward Mason and Turner's Ferry, on the Chattahoochee.
General Rousseau's expedition reached Marietta on the 22d from Opelika, where he had been sent to break the West Point and Montgomery Railroad. He left Decatur, Ala., on the 10th instant, with a mounted force numbering 2,500 men, and two pieces of artillery, and gives the result of his expedition as follows:
The whole length of railroad destroyed was over thirty miles, including a number of trestle bridges, a water-tank at Notasulga, the station buildings, &c., at Opelika, Auburn, Loachapoka, Notasulga, and considerable supplies and materials at each of those points.
The enemy, under General Clanton, was met at Ten Island Ford, on the Coosa River, where he endeavored to dispute the passage of the expedition, but after a spirited skirmish was driven off with some loss. Again, near Chehaw Station, the enemy made an effort to prevent the disablement of the railroad, but after a stubborn resistance was obliged to retire, leaving in our hands about 40 of his dead and a large number of wounded. The command started from Opelika on the afternoon of the 19th to return, and, marching via Carrollton and Villa Rica, reached Marietta on the 22d, without meeting with any opposition. Although General Rousseau received his instructions direct from the major-general commanding the military division, the expedition having been made up from troops belonging to my command, I take the liberty of mentioning their operations officially, for a detailed account of which I respectfully refer you to the accompanying official report of Major-General Rousseau.
From the 22d to the 28th of the month the position of my troops remained unchanged, with the exception that at some points ground was gained to the front, and the general line shortened. Good, permanent bridges were constructed across the Chattahoochee at Pace's Ferry, and at the railroad crossing, the pontoon bridges at those two points being taken up and placed in condition for future movements.
On the 29th Davis' division, of Palmer's corps (Fourteenth), supported by Ward's division, of the Twentieth, was sent to take post on the extreme right of the army, beyond the Army of the Tennessee, with directions to push out toward the Macon and Western Railroad, and endeavor to reach it, if possible to do so, without bringing on a general engagement. Davis' skirmishers had not proceeded very far beyond the Green's Ferry road when they came upon those of the enemy intrenched. Line was then formed in front of the road, and connection established with the right of the Army of the Tennessee. In this position the troops remained for the night.
By a reconnaissance made on the 31st by Davis' division it was ascertained that the enemy was in force between him and the railroad, and posted in earth-works, from which they opened on him with canister. After having developed the enemy's position, the division returned to its former position along the Green's Ferry road.
The Third Division of Cavalry, Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick commanding, stationed along the railroad between Cartersville and Resaca, has been particularly active throughout the month, patrolling and scouting the country thoroughly and guarding the railroad. The First and Second Divisions of Cavalry, acting under instructions direct from the major-general commanding the military division, were absent on a movement against the enemy's communications toward Macon at the close of the month. Mention of their operations will be made hereafter.
I have the honor to forward herewith a consolidated return of casualties, a return of prisoners and deserters received during the month, and a report from the chief of ordnance giving amount of ammunition expended, &c.
The detailed reports of operations of the subordinate commanders will be forwarded as soon as handed in.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Atlanta, Ga., September 13, 1864.
Lieut. Col. R. M. SAWYER,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report as follows the operations of my command during the month of August, 1864:
On the 1st instant the Army of the Cumberland was in position as heretofore reported, viz, Palmer's corps (Fourteenth) on the right, posted between the Turner's Ferry road and the Western and Atlantic Railroad, facing a little south of east; Williams' corps (Twentieth) in the center, extending from the railroad around to the Buck Head road: Stanley's corps (Fourth) on the left, between the Buck Head road and Howard's house, on roads leading from Buck Head and Decatur to Atlanta, Stanley's left being refused so as to cover the Buck Head road; Garrard's division of cavalry took post on the left of Stanley's corps with instructions to patrol the approaches to the left of the army from Decatur and Roswell Factory; Kilpatrick's division of cavalry was ordered to take post on the railroad between Marietta and the bridge over the Chattahoochee. The Army of the Cumberland held the left of the grand line investing Atlanta, besides sending two divisions (Ward's of the Twentieth and Davis' of the Fourteenth Corps) to the support of the troops of other commands operating on the extreme right of the grand army.
Major-General Palmer was directed on the 2d to move with the two remaining divisions of his corps to a position in reserve in rear of the Army of the Ohio, then operating on the extreme right toward East Point. Brigadier-General Williams, commanding the Twentieth Corps, was directed to occupy the works vacated by the troops of General Palmer's command on his right, by extending his line in that direction, and Ward's division was recalled from the support of the Army of the Ohio to enable General Williams more fully to carry out the above instructions. The withdrawal of Palmer's corps left me with the Fourth and Twentieth Corps to hold a line of works nearly five miles in length, approaching at some points to within 300 yards of the enemy's fortifications.
On the 3d Major-General Stanley pushed forward a strong line of skirmishers and succeeded in carrying the enemy's picket-line on the whole corps' front, excepting on the extreme right of his line, where his men were met by a very destructive fire of musketry and canister--the enemy opened from at least twenty pieces of artillery. Our loss was about 30 killed and wounded, but we captured quite a number of prisoners, besides gaining considerable information regarding the positions of the enemy's troops and fortifications.
Both Stanley's and Williams' skirmishers again pressed those of the enemy during the afternoon of the 5th, with a view of diverting his attention from the movements of the Armies of the Tennessee and of the Ohio on our right. Palmer's corps, which had been placed in position on the right of the Army of the Ohio by direction of Major-General Sherman, pushed out from along Olley's Creek and pressed close up to the enemy's works, capturing a strong line of rifle-pits vigorously defended. Our loss was considerable, but we took 150 prisoners and gained an advantageous position. At the close of the engagement the skirmishers of the enemy and our own were only thirty yards apart. Our main line was moved up to within 400 yards of that of the enemy.
On the morning of the 6th the enemy felt our line at various points from right to left, seemingly persistent in his efforts to find a weak point in the latter direction, on the line of Stanley's corps. From information gained by us through various sources more or less reliable, we learned the enemy had posted his militia, supported by one division of his veterans, on that part of his line immediately confronting the Fourth and Twentieth Corps, and that he used the balance of his army in extending his line to the left toward East Point, as our movements in the same direction threatened his possession of the railroads. Although this necessitated his holding a large extent of ground, he formed his troops on very advantageous ridges, strengthened by works of a most impregnable character, rendering an assault on our part unjustifiable from the useless sacrifice of life it would entail. While the enemy was busily engaged fortifying, our troops were not idle. Our position was also soon rendered impregnable to assault, and a constant shelling of the enemy's fortifications and the city of Atlanta was kept up day and night. In the meanwhile supplies of rations and clothing were being rapidly accumulated at the front, and our men enjoyed a season of rest--such rest as is to be found in the trenches. On the 6th, Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer having been relieved from the command of the Fourteenth Army Corps at his own request, Brig. Gen. R. W. Johnson, the senior division commander, took command of the corps.
On the 7th, under General Johnson's direction, the corps advanced upon the enemy's works in his front, and moving rapidly carried the first line of rifle-pits, capturing 172 prisoners and driving the enemy to their main works. The entire line of the Fourteenth Corps was then advanced and fortified. Our loss during the 6th and 7th in the Fourteenth Corps was 70 killed and 413 wounded, including 17 officers.
Brig. Gen. E. M. McCook, commanding Second Cavalry Division, reports as follows the result of his expedition to cut the enemy's railroad communications to Macon and West Point. His instructions are specified in Special Field Orders, No. 42, of July 26, headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi:
Two and one-half miles of the Atlanta and West Point Railroad and telegraph wire destroyed near Palmetto. The same amount of Macon and Western Railroad and five miles of telegraph wire destroyed near Lovejoy's Station. Eleven hundred wagons burned, 2,000 mules killed or disabled, 1,000 bales of cotton, 1,000 sacks of corn, and 300 sacks of flour destroyed, besides large quantities of bacon and tobacco.
He carried out his orders and accomplished all he was directed to do without opposition, and it was only when the command started on its return that General McCook ascertained that the enemy's cavalry was between him and McDonough, at which latter place he had expected to form a junction with General Stoneman's expedition. Finding the enemy across his road in that direction, and being burdened with a good many prisoners and considerable captured property, General McCook turned toward the Chattahoochee River by way of Newnan, on the West Point railroad, and while on the way to that place was attacked by Jackson's division of cavalry, which he repulsed. Near Newnan the railroad was cut in three places. Between there and the river he was surrounded by an overwhelming force of the enemy's cavalry, supported by a large infantry force. These troops he attacked in the hope of cutting his way through them, and in doing so broke the whole right of their line, riding over Ross' (Texas) cavalry brigade and making General Ross and his staff prisoners. The enemy sent fresh troops to supply the place of those shattered by McCook's charge, when the latter, finding he could not break their line permanently, directed his brigade commanders to cut their way out with their commands and endeavor to cross the Chattahoochee by detachments. In this they were successful, but with the loss of their artillery. The latter, however, was deliberately destroyed before being abandoned. All the prisoners captured by us (about 400 in number) were also turned loose. General McCook's loss in killed, wounded, and missing, as well as in material, is great, but that of the enemy is considered much greater proportionately, and is even so acknowledged by themselves. For details I have the honor to refer you to the report of General McCook accompanying this.
About the 10th information reached me that the enemy's entire cavalry force was concentrating in the neighborhood of Monticello and on the Ocmulgee River. Refugees and deserters from the enemy stated that it was intended to send this large concentration of cavalry under Wheeler on a raid into Tennessee against our communications.
On the afternoon of the 14th the enemy's cavalry, said to be 6,000 strong, attacked Dalton. Colonel Laiboldt, Second Missouri Infantry, commanding the post, occupied the fort with a small command, and bravely defended his position until re-enforced.
Early on the morning of the 15th Major-General Steedman, with two regiments of white and six companies of colored troops, arrived at Dalton from Chattanooga and immediately attacked the enemy, driving him off toward Spring Place after four hours' fighting. The enemy's loss was heavy--he left his dead and wounded on the field. Our loss was 40 killed and 55 wounded. We captured about 50 wounded and 2 surgeons.
Before appearing in front of Dalton, Wheeler's men had destroyed about two miles of track on the railroad south of Dalton, but by noon of the 17th the road was again in running order. Believing General Steedman to have sufficient troops at his disposal to beat off any further attack on the railroad, our whole attention was directed to the reduction of Atlanta, and at the same time it was determined to take advantage of the absence of the enemy's cavalry to make one more effort to break the Macon and Western Railroad. Accordingly on the 18th Brig. Gen. J. Kilpatrick, commanding Third Cavalry Division, was directed to attack and destroy both railroads, and for this purpose he was re-enforced by two brigades taken from Garrard's cavalry division, stationed on the left of the army. With this force, numbering in all about 4,000 men and two batteries of artillery, General Kilpatrick moved out from Sandtown on the evening of the 18th. He met the enemy's cavalry pickets when only a short distance out from Sandtown on the Chattahoochee, and skirmished with them to Jonesborough on the Macon railroad, driving them through that place. For six hours the command was engaged destroying the track, &c., until near midnight of the 19th, when part of his command was attacked one mile below the town and driven in, but subsequently the enemy was repulsed.
Toward daylight of the 20th he moved in the direction of McDonough, and thence across country back to the railroad near Lovejoy's Station, reaching that point at about 11 a.m. on the 20th. There he met a brigade of infantry, and although repulsed at first, finally checked the advantage being gained by the enemy and drove him back with heavy loss. While thus engaged fighting infantry, a heavy force of cavalry with artillery came up in his rear, and he found he was completely enveloped. Determining at once to break the enemy's line and extricate his command from its delicate position, he decided to ride over the enemy's cavalry and retire on McDonough. The movement was successfully made and resulted in a complete rout of Jackson's cavalry division, numbering 4,000 men, leaving in our hands 4 guns, 3 battle-flags, and all his wagons. Some prisoners were taken and the enemy's loss in killed and wounded is known to be large. Reforming his command, Kilpatrick fought the enemy's infantry for an hour longer, when finding his men running out of ammunition, he retired in the direction of Latimer's and Decatur without further molestation, reaching the latter place on the afternoon of the 22d.
For details I have the honor to refer you to General Kilpatrick's official report forwarded herewith; as also to that of Lieut. G.I. Robinson, commanding Chicago Board of Trade Battery, and to an article in the Chattanooga Rebel, published at Griffin, Ga., August 25.
Pending the above movements to break the enemy's railroad communications, the troops in front of the city kept up a constant shelling of the fortifications and buildings of Atlanta, and, as refugees informed us, with marked effect. The heavy cavalry force under Wheeler still continued to threaten our railroad in Northern Georgia and East Tennessee without seriously interrupting communication with Chattanooga and Nashville. This, however, gave us no uneasiness, as we had a good accumulation of supplies within safe proximity to the main army. A considerable force of the enemy under Roddey had made its appearance in Northern Alabama, threatening to cross the Tennessee River near Decatur, with a view of destroying the railroad between that place and Nashville. Again in the vicinity of Clarksville, Tenn., and Fort Donelson, the enemy had become troublesome, although without doing very material damage.
To the discretion and good judgment of Major-Generals Rousseau and Steedman, commanding respectively the Districts of the Tennessee and the Etowah, and to Brig. Gen. R. S. Granger, commanding the District of Northern Alabama, was left the disposal of the troops and the defense of our communications with our depots at the north.
In compliance with the directions contained in Special Field Orders, No. 57, headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi (appended, marked A), promulgated to my corps commanders on the 16th of August, everything was placed in readiness for the execution of the contemplated movements by the time mentioned. The major-general commanding the military division having, however, decided to await the return of General Kilpatrick's expedition, the Army of the Cumberland did not withdraw from its works until after dark on the night of the 25th. Stanley's corps, as directed from my headquarters (see instructions to Generals Stanley, Williams, and Garrard appended, marked B), commenced the movement by withdrawing from the position he then held on the left of the army, to a line of ridges and high ground beyond, and to the rear of the position where the right of the Twentieth Corps rested. Here he remained and covered the withdrawal of the Twentieth Corps, the latter having been ordered to take post on the Chattahoochee, at the railroad bridge, Pace's and Turner's Ferries. Garrard's division of cavalry covered the movements of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps, then crossed the Chattahoochee at Pace's Ferry on the 26th, and recrossing at the bridge at Sandtown on the 27th, took post on Stanley's left, picketing Utoy Creek from Utoy Post-Office to Sand-town. The above movements were successfully executed, both corps being in the positions indicated at an early hour on the morning of the 26th. At 9 a.m. of the same day Stanley withdrew still farther to a point along Utoy Creek, posting his command on some ridges facing the creek and across the Sandtown road.
The Fourteenth Corps, then commanded by Bvt. Maj. Gen. J. C. Davis, drew out from the position it had last held on the right of the Army of the Tennessee, and moving across Utoy Creek, took post on the right of Stanley's corps. Garrard's division of cavalry was directed to operate on the left and rear of the army, while Kilpatrick's division was similarly employed on the right.
On the 27th Stanley's corps moved to Mount Gilead Church and formed line of battle along the road leading to Fairburn, skirmishing lightly with the enemy's cavalry. The Fourteenth Corps (Davis') moved as far as Holbrook's house, on the Campbellton road, advancing one brigade to Patterson's house, about a mile beyond, to cover the wagon trains of the corps. The Twentieth Corps was securely in position on the Chattahoochee River, guarding the crossings and protecting the depots at Marietta. Maj. Gen. H.W. Slocum assumed command of the corps, by virtue of General Orders, No. , War Department.
At daylight on the 28th Davis' corps moved from its encampment near Holbrook's house to Mount Gilead Church, thence past the left of Stanley's corps, taking the road leading from Redwine's house to Red Oak, on the West Point railroad. Davis reached the railroad at 4 p.m. and posted his corps on the right of it facing toward East Point. Stanley's command came up immediately after Davis' and formed line on the left of the road. In this position the command remained for the night.
Shortly after dark orders were issued to destroy the road by burning the ties and twisting the rails after heating, The work of destruction was continued throughout the night of the 28th and during part of the 29th, and when completed the railroad had been thoroughly dismantled for a distance of two miles north of my line and a little over a mile south of it.
About 6 a.m. on the 30th the Fourteenth and Fourth Corps moved from Red Oak toward the Macon railroad. The Fourteenth Corps (Davis') concentrated at Flat Shoal Church about 9 a.m., and after resting for an hour moved on in an easterly direction toward Couch's house, on the Decatur and Fayetteville road, at which point line was formed, and the command went into camp. Communication was opened with the Army of the Tennessee at Renfroe's house, two miles south of Couch's. The Fourth Corps formed on the left of the Fourteenth, its left extending beyond Mann's house, the line of the corps running in a northwesterly direction from Couch's. The advanced divisions of both corps skirmished with the enemy's infantry and cavalry during the day, and by sundown it was ascertained that the enemy was in force at Morrow's Mill, on Crooked Creek, about three-fourths of a mile distant from the left of Stanley's corps. Up to dark no communication had been established with the Army of the Ohio. Garrard's cavalry was in the neighborhood of Red Oak guarding the left and rear of the army.
On the morning of the 31st Stanley's corps moved to Morrow's Mill, where it found the enemy in intrenchments very well finished, but occupied only by dismounted cavalry. These were driven out. The Army of the Ohio having come up, both commands pushed out for the railroad, which was reached at the Big Bend, between Rough and Ready and Jonesborough. General Stanley posted his corps between the railroad and Crooked Creek, and in that position remained for the night. Part of the Fourteenth Corps, under Brigadier-Gen-eral Baird, made a reconnaissance and demonstration in front of Couch's house and reached the Macon and Western Railroad about two miles north of Jonesborough with the advance brigade, and destroyed about one mile of the track during the afternoon and night, although constantly annoyed by the enemy's cavalry. While in this position a heavy column of the enemy's infantry was seen moving in a southerly direction on a road still to the eastward of the one then held by them. Some stragglers belonging to this column were picked up by our skirmishers, and from them it was ascertained that the troops we saw moving were Hardee's and Lee's corps. Up to this period the enemy had evidently been deceived as to the nature and strength of our movement on his communications, and only at this late hour had he detached any considerable force from the army in Atlanta. During the afternoon of the 31st, the Army of the Tennessee being heavily attacked in the position it had taken up the night before near Jonesborough, and General Howard having asked for re-enforcements, General Davis was instructed to send one division from his corps to its support. Kilpatrick's division of cavalry, stationed on the right of the Army of the Tennessee, formed a passage across Flint River, and drove the enemy's pickets to within one-half mile of Jonesborough. He was then attacked in turn by a heavy force of infantry and forced to withdraw.
September 1, at an early hour the remainder of the Fourteenth Corps moved from Renfroe's house, on the Decatur and Fayetteville road, to rejoin that part of the command which had advanced the day before to the Rough and Ready and Jonesborough road. The junction formed, the corps moved south toward Jonesborough and reached the pickets of the Army of the Tennessee about two and a half miles from the point of concentration. A reconnaissance was then sent out toward the railroad, which drove in the enemy's skirmishers and gained possession of a ridge on the north side of Mill Creek with but small loss. Later in the afternoon two divisions of Davis' corps (Fourteenth) were formed on the ridge and artillery was opened on the enemy's works with good effect. The line of battle being finally adjusted the command moved forward, attacking the enemy vigorously and driving him several hundred yards to his main works. An assault was then handsomely made on the works, which were carried along the entire line of Davis' command after very heavy fighting and a loss of over 1,200 men. Two field batteries of four guns each were captured in the enemy's fortifications, together with about 1,000 prisoners (including 1 general officer and several field officers)and a number of small-arms and battle-flags. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was very severe. During this time the Fourth Corps (Stanley's) was moving from near Rough and Ready toward Jonesborough along the railroad, destroying it as the troops advanced. Arriving near Jonesborough the column was deployed with a view to advance against the enemy's right flank, but it being already quite late, darkness came on and prevented any extensive movement. The line of Stanley's corps was on the left of the railroad facing southwest. Davis' corps passed the night in the enemy's works, the left of the line connecting with Stanley's right at the railroad.
During the night the enemy fell back from Jonesborough, retreating toward Lovejoy's Station, where he was followed on the morning of the 2d by the Fourth Corps and the Armies of the Tennessee and of the Ohio. Davis' corps was directed to remain at Jonesborough to bury the dead and collect captured property. Stanley's corps moved along the railroad and to the left of it, coming up with the enemy just north of Lovejoy's Station about noon. Line of battle was formed and preparations made to advance against the enemy, in conjunction with the Army of the Tennessee on the right. It was only at a late hour, however, that the assault was made and darkness prevented any decisive movement. Part of Stanley s troops gained the enemy's works and carried a small portion of them, but could not hold possession of the ground for want of co-operation on the part of the balance of the line. During the night information reached us that at 11 a.m. on the 2d the mayor and authorities of Atlanta had surrendered the city to a force of the Twentieth Corps. Major-General Slocum commanding, which in obedience to instructions previously given had been sent out from the Chattahoochee to feel the enemy's strength. The city had been evacuated the night previous, the army destroying in its retreat public property of considerable value, including eighty car-loads of ammunition. Fourteen pieces of artillery and several thousand stand of small-arms were found.
On the 3d the major-general commanding the military division issued orders to the effect that the campaign was ended, and that the grand army would return to Atlanta and vicinity until a new plan could be considered regarding future movements. Directions were at the same time given for the withdrawal of the troops. Corps commanders were instructed to send to the rear all surplus wagons and whatever material that could obstruct the movements of the troops. The enemy still remained intrenched at Lovejoy's, although he was discovered to be moving his trains toward Griffin with the supposed intention of withdrawing his main army to that point or still farther.
At 8 p.m. on the 5th, in conjunction with the rest of the army, the Fourth Corps quietly withdrew from its position and fell back to Jonesborough, reaching that place at daylight on the 6th. The withdrawal was admirably conducted and executed with complete success, although much impeded by a rain-storm and consequent bad condition of the roads.
Both corps (Stanley's and Davis') remained quietly at Jonesborough during the 6th, although Davis' rear guard was attacked by the enemy as it was moving through the town to join the balance of the corps in position north of it. The enemy occupied Jonesborough during the afternoon with a cavalry advance guard, but contented himself with exchanging a few shots with our skirmishers.
On the 7th at 7 a.m. the Fourth Corps withdrew from its camps near Jonesborough, moved along the railroad to near Sykes' house, northeast of Rough and Ready, and took up a position for the night. The Fourteenth Corps fell back simultaneously with Stanley's command, marching on the main road leading to Rough and Ready from Jonesborough, and was posted on the rig? of the Fourth Corps, north of Rough and Ready. The enemy showed no disposition to follow the movements of either command.
The Army of the Cumberland reached Atlanta on the 8th, and was posted on the outskirts of the town--Davis' corps on the right, across the Campbellton road, Slocum's corps in the center, and Stanley's on the left. The pickets of all three corps were thrown out well to the front, and occupied commanding positions.
For a detailed report of the operations, I have the honor to refer you to the reports of the several corps commanders.
Herewith I have the honor to forward returns of prisoners of war, of captured property, and ammunition expended, and a consolidated return of casualties.
In concluding this report, I take the greatest pleasure in calling attention to the uniform gallantry displayed by the officers and troops of the Army of the Cumberland in all the battles in which they participated, and in their unwavering constancy and devotion to duty at all times during the entire campaign, commencing with the contests at Rocky Face Ridge and around Dalton and ending with the operations at Jonesborough and vicinity, which forced the enemy to evacuate Atlanta. During these four months of active campaign hardly a day has passed that some portion of this army was not engaged either in skirmishing or in actual battle with the enemy, and on every occasion behaving with that self-reliance which is the sure prestige of success. All may be justly proud of their participation 'in the campaign against Atlanta.
Among the many gallant and lamented dead who have given their lives to sustain and defend the honor of their country and Government we must enumerate Brig. Gen. C. G. Harker and Col. Dan. McCook, Fifty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who were mortally wounded leading their respective brigades in the assault on the enemy's intrenchments near Kenesaw Mountain, June 27. They were both skillful, brave, and accomplished officers.
The members of my staff were at all times efficient and active in the discharge of their various duties.
I inclose herewith the reports of subordinate commanders, which embody the operations of their respective commands in detail, and to which I have the honor to invite the attention of the major-general commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding.
CIRCULAR.] HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Near Atlanta, Ga., July 25, 1864.
The major-general commanding congratulates the troops upon the brilliant success which has attended the Union arms in the late battles, and which has been officially reported, as follows:
In the battle of the 20th instant, in which the Twentieth Corps, one division of the Fourth Corps, and part of the Fourteenth Corps, was engaged, total Union loss in killed, wounded, and missing, 1,733. In front of the Twentieth Corps there were put out of the fight 6,000 rebels. Five hundred and sixty-three of the enemy were buried by our own troops, and the rebels were permitted to bury 250 additional themselves. The Second Division, of the Fourth Corps, repulsed seven assaults of the enemy with slight loss to themselves, which must swell the rebel loss much beyond 6,000. Prisoners captured, 300, and 7 stand of colors. No report has yet been received of the part taken in this battle by the Fourteenth Army Corps.
In the battle of the 22d the total Union loss in killed, wounded, and missing, 3,500, and 10 pieces of artillery. Rebel loss, prisoners captured, 3,200. Known dead of the enemy in front of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Corps and one division of the Seventeenth Corps, 2,142. The other division of the Seventeenth Corps repulsed six assaults of the enemy before it fell back, which will swell the rebel loss in killed to at least 3,000. There were captured from the enemy in this battle 18 stand of colors and 5,000 stand of arms.
Brigadier-General Garrard, commanding Second Cavalry Division, has just returned from a raid upon the Georgia railroad, having lost 2 men and brought in 200 prisoners and a fair lot of fresh horses and negroes. He destroyed the railroad bridges across the branches of the Ocmulgee and the depots at Conyers, Covington, and Social Circle.
By command of Major-General Thomas:
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
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