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Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete

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Dalton, and I was waiting for the arrival of Garrard's and
Stoneman's cavalry, known to be near at hand, so as to secure the
full advantages of victory, of which I felt certain. Hooker's
Twentieth Corps was at once moved down to within easy supporting
distance of McPherson; and on the 11th, perceiving signs of
evacuation of Dalton, I gave all the orders for the general
movement, leaving the Fourth Corps (Howard) and Stoneman's cavalry
in observation in front of Buzzard-Roost Gap, and directing all the
rest of the army to march through Snake-Creek Gap, straight on
Resaca. The roads were only such as the country afforded, mere
rough wagon-ways, and these converged to the single narrow track
through Snake-Creek Gap; but during the 12th and 13th the bulk of
Thomas's and Schofield's armies were got through, and deployed
against Resaca, McPherson on the right, Thomas in the centre, and
Schofield on the left. Johnston, as I anticipated, had abandoned
all his well-prepared defenses at Dalton, and was found inside of
Resaca with the bulk of his army, holding his divisions well in
hand, acting purely on the defensive, and fighting well at all
points of conflict. A complete line of intrenchments was found
covering the place, and this was strongly manned at all points. On
the 14th we closed in, enveloping the town on its north and west,
and during the 15th we had a day of continual battle and skirmish.
At the same time I caused two pontoon-bridges to be laid across the
Oostenaula River at Lay's Ferry, about three miles below the town,
by which we could threaten Calhoun, a station on the railroad seven
miles below Resaca. At the same time, May 14th, I dispatched
General Garrard, with his cavalry division, down the Oostenaula by
the Rome road, with orders to cross over, if possible, and to
attack or threaten the railroad at any point below Calhoun and
above Kingston.

During the 15th, without attempting to assault the fortified works,
we pressed at all points, and the sound of cannon and musketry rose
all day to the dignity of a battle. Toward evening McPherson moved
his whole line of battle forward, till he had gained a ridge
overlooking the town, from which his field-artillery could reach
the railroad-bridge across the Oostenaula. The enemy made several
attempts to drive him away, repeating the sallies several times,
and extending them into the night; but in every instance he was
repulsed with bloody loss.

Hooker's corps had also some heavy and handsome fighting that
afternoon and night on the left, where the Dalton roan entered the
intrenchments, capturing a four-gun intrenched battery, with its
men and guns; and generally all our men showed the finest fighting

Howard's corps had followed Johnston down from Dalton, and was in
line; Stoneman'a division of cavalry had also got up, and was on
the extreme left, beyond the Oostenaula.

On the night of May 15th Johnston got his army across the bridges,
set them on fire, and we entered Resaca at daylight. Our loss up
to that time was about six hundred dead and thirty-three hundred
and seventy-five wounded--mostly light wounds that did not
necessitate sending the men to the rear for treatment. That
Johnston had deliberately designed in advance to give up such
strong positions as Dalton and Resaca, for the purpose of drawing
us farther south, is simply absurd. Had he remained in Dalton
another hour, it would have been his total defeat, and he only
evacuated Resaca because his safety demanded it. The movement by
us through Snake-Creek Gap was a total surprise to him. My army
about doubled his in size, but he had all the advantages of natural
positions, of artificial forts and roads, and of concentrated
action. We were compelled to grope our way through forests, across
mountains, with a large army, necessarily more or less dispersed.
Of course, I was disappointed not to have crippled his, army more
at that particular stage of the game; but, as it resulted, these
rapid successes gave us the initiative, and the usual impulse of a
conquering army.

Johnston having retreated in the night of May 15th, immediate
pursuit was begun. A division of infantry (Jeff. C. Davis's) was
at once dispatched down the valley toward Rome, to support
Garrard's cavalry, and the whole army was ordered to pursue,
McPherson by Lay's Ferry, on the right, Thomas directly by the
railroad, and Schofield by the left, by the old road that crossed
the Oostenaula above Echota or Newtown.

We hastily repaired the railroad bridge at Resaca, which had been
partially burned, and built a temporary floating bridge out of
timber and materials found on the spot; so that Thomas got his
advance corps over during the 16th, and marched as far as Calhoun,
where he came into communication with McPherson's troops, which had
crossed the Oostenaula at Lay's Ferry by our pontoon-bridges,
previously laid. Inasmuch as the bridge at Resaca was overtaxed,
Hooker's Twentieth Corps was also diverted to cross by the fords
and ferries above Resaca, in the neighborhood of Echota.

On the 17th, toward evening, the head of Thomas's column, Newton's
division, encountered the rear-guard of Johnston's army near
Adairsville. I was near the head of column at the time, trying to
get a view of the position of the enemy from an elevation in an
open field. My party attracted the fire of a battery; a shell
passed through the group of staff-officers and burst just beyond,
which scattered us promptly. The next morning the enemy had
disappeared, and our pursuit was continued to Kingston, which we
reached during Sunday forenoon, the 19th.

From Resaca the railroad runs nearly due south, but at Kingston it
makes junction with another railroad from Rome, and changes
direction due east. At that time McPherson's head of column was
about four miles to the west of Kingston, at a country place called
"Woodlawn;" Schofield and Hooker were on the direct roads leading
from Newtown to Casaville, diagonal to the route followed by
Thomas. Thomas's head of column, which had followed the country
roads alongside of the railroad, was about four miles east of
Kingston, toward Cassville, when about noon I got a message from
him that he had found the enemy, drawn up in line of battle, on
some extensive, open ground, about half-way between Kingston and
Cassville, and that appearances indicated a willingness and
preparation for battle.

Hurriedly sending orders to McPherson to resume the march, to
hasten forward by roads leading to the south of Kingston, so as to
leave for Thomas's troops and trains the use of the main road, and
to come up on his right, I rode forward rapidly, over some rough
gravel hills, and about six miles from Kingston found General
Thomas, with his troops deployed; but he reported that the enemy
had fallen back in echelon of divisions, steadily and in superb
order, into Cassville. I knew that the roads by which Generals
Hooker and Schofield were approaching would lead them to a seminary
near Cassville, and that it was all-important to secure the point
of junction of these roads with the main road along which we were
marching. Therefore I ordered General Thomas to push forward his
deployed lines as rapidly as possible; and, as night was
approaching, I ordered two field-batteries to close up at a gallop
on some woods which lay between us and the town of Cassville. We
could not see the town by reason of these woods, but a high range
of hills just back of the town was visible over the tree-tops. On
these hills could be seen fresh-made parapets, and the movements of
men, against whom I directed the artillery to fire at long range.
The stout resistance made by the enemy along our whole front of a
couple of miles indicated a purpose to fight at Cassville; and, as
the night was closing in, General Thomas and I were together, along
with our skirmish-lines near the seminary, on the edge of the town,
where musket-bullets from the enemy were cutting the leaves of the
trees pretty thickly about us. Either Thomas or I remarked that
that was not the place for the two senior officers of a great army,
and we personally went back to the battery, where we passed the
night on the ground. During the night I had reports from
McPherson, Hooker, and Schofield. The former was about five miles
to my right rear, near the "nitre-caves;" Schofield was about six
miles north, and Hooker between us, within two miles. All were
ordered to close down on Cassville at daylight, and to attack the
enemy wherever found. Skirmishing was kept up all night, but when
day broke the next morning, May 20th, the enemy was gone, and our
cavalry was sent in pursuit. These reported him beyond the Etowah
River. We were then well in advance of our railroad-trains, on
which we depended for supplies; so I determined to pause a few days
to repair the railroad, which had been damaged but little, except
at the bridge at Resaca, and then to go on.

Nearly all the people of the country seemed to have fled with
Johnston's army; yet some few families remained, and from one of
them I procured the copy of an order which Johnston had made at
Adairsville, in which he recited that he had retreated as far as
strategy required, and that his army must be prepared for battle at
Cassville. The newspapers of the South, many of which we found,
were also loud in denunciation of Johnston's falling back before us
without a serious battle, simply resisting by his skirmish-lines
and by his rear-guard. But his friends proclaimed that it was all
strategic; that he was deliberately drawing us farther and farther
into the meshes, farther and farther away from our base of
supplies, and that in due season he would not only halt for battle,
but assume the bold offensive. Of course it was to my interest to
bring him to battle as soon as possible, when our numerical
superiority was at the greatest; for he was picking up his
detachments as he fell back, whereas I was compelled to make
similar and stronger detachments to repair the railroads as we
advanced, and to guard them. I found at Cassville many evidences
of preparation for a grand battle, among them a long line of fresh
intrenchments on the hill beyond the town, extending nearly three
miles to the south, embracing the railroad-crossing. I was also
convinced that the whole of Polk's corps had joined Johnston from
Mississippi, and that he had in hand three full corps, viz.,
Hood's, Polk's, and Hardee's, numbering about sixty thousand men,
and could not then imagine why he had declined battle, and did not
learn the real reason till after the war was over, and then from
General Johnston himself.

In the autumn of 1865, when in command of the Military Division of
the Missouri, I went from St. Louis to Little Rock, Arkansas, and
afterward to Memphis. Taking a steamer for Cairo, I found as
fellow-passengers Generals Johnston and Frank Blair. We were, of
course, on the most friendly terms, and on our way up we talked
over our battles again, played cards, and questioned each other as
to particular parts of our mutual conduct in the game of war. I
told Johnston that I had seen his order of preparation, in the
nature of an address to his army, announcing his purpose to retreat
no more, but to accept battle at Cassville. He answered that such
was his purpose; that he had left Hardee's corps in the open fields
to check Thomas, and gain time for his formation on the ridge, just
behind Cassville; and it was this corps which General Thomas had
seen deployed, and whose handsome movement in retreat he had
reported in such complimentary terms. Johnston described how he
had placed Hood's corps on the right, Polk's in the centre, and
Hardee's on the left. He said he had ridden over the ground, given
to each corps commander his position, and orders to throw up
parapets during the night; that he was with Hardee on his extreme
left as the night closed in, and as Hardee's troops fell back to
the position assigned them for the intended battle of the next day;
and that, after giving Hardee some general instructions, he and his
staff rode back to Cassville. As he entered the town, or village,
he met Generals Hood and Polk. Hood inquired of him if he had had
any thing to eat, and he said no, that he was both hungry and
tired, when Hood invited him to go and share a supper which had
been prepared for him at a house close by. At the supper they
discussed the chances of the impending battle, when Hood spoke of
the ground assigned him as being enfiladed by our (Union)
artillery, which Johnston disputed, when General Polk chimed in
with the remark that General Hood was right; that the cannon-shots
fired by us at nightfall had enfiladed their general line of
battle, and that for this reason he feared they could not hold
their men. General Johnston was surprised at this, for he
understood General Hood to be one of those who professed to
criticise his strategy, contending that, instead of retreating, he
should have risked a battle. General Johnston said he was
provoked, accused them of having been in conference, with being
beaten before battle, and added that he was unwilling to engage in
a critical battle with an army so superior to his own in numbers,
with two of his three corps commanders dissatisfied with the ground
and positions assigned them. He then and there made up his mind to
retreat still farther south, to put the Etowah River and the
Allatoona range between us; and he at once gave orders to resume
the retrograde movement.

This was my recollection of the substance of the conversation, of
which I made no note at the time; but, at a meeting of the Society
of the Army of the Cumberland some years after, at Cleveland, Ohio,
about 1868, in a short after-dinner speech, I related this
conversation, and it got into print. Subsequently, in the spring
of 1870, when I was at New Orleans, on route for Texas, General
Hood called to see me at the St. Charles Hotel, explained that he
had seen my speech reprinted in the newspapers and gave me his
version of the same event, describing the halt at Cassville, the
general orders for battle on that ground, and the meeting at supper
with Generals Johnston and Polk, when the chances of the battle to
be fought the next day were freely and fully discussed; and he
stated that he had argued against fighting the battle purely on the
defensive, but had asked General Johnston to permit him with his
own corps and part of Polk's to quit their lines, and to march
rapidly to attack and overwhelm Schofield, who was known to be
separated from Thomas by an interval of nearly five miles, claiming
that he could have defeated Schofield, and got back to his position
in time to meet General Thomas's attack in front. He also stated
that he had then contended with Johnston for the "offensive-
defensive" game, instead of the "pure defensive," as proposed by
General Johnston; and he said that it was at this time that General
Johnston had taken offense, and that it was for this reason he had
ordered the retreat that night. As subsequent events estranged
these two officers, it is very natural they should now differ on
this point; but it was sufficient for us that the rebel army did
retreat that night, leaving us masters of all the country above the
Etowah River.

For the purposes of rest, to give time for the repair of the
railroads, and to replenish supplies, we lay by some few days in
that quarter--Schofield with Stoneman's cavalry holding the ground
at Cassville Depot, Cartersville, and the Etowah Bridge; Thomas
holding his ground near Cassville, and McPherson that near
Kingston. The officer intrusted with the repair of the railroads
was Colonel W. W. Wright, a rairoad-engineer, who, with about two
thousand men, was so industrious and skillful that the bridge at
Resaca was rebuilt in three days, and cars loaded with stores came
forward to Kingston on the 24th. The telegraph also brought us the
news of the bloody and desperate battles of the Wilderness, in
Virginia, and that General Grant was pushing his operations against
Lee with terrific energy. I was therefore resolved to give my
enemy no rest.

In early days (1844), when a lieutenant of the Third Artillery, I
had been sent from Charleston, South Carolina, to Marietta,
Georgia, to assist Inspector-General Churchill to take testimony
concerning certain losses of horses and accoutrements by the
Georgia Volunteers during the Florida War; and after completing the
work at Marietta we transferred our party over to Bellefonte,
Alabama. I had ridden the distance on horseback, and had noted
well the topography of the country, especially that about Kenesaw,
Allatoona, and the Etowah River. On that occasion I had stopped
some days with a Colonel Tumlin, to see some remarkable Indian
mounds on the Etowah River, usually called the "Hightower:" I
therefore knew that the Allatoona Pass was very strong, would be
hard to force, and resolved not even to attempt it, but to turn the
position, by moving from Kingston to Marietta via. Dallas;
accordingly I made orders on the 20th to get ready for the march to
begin on the 23d. The Army of the Cumberland was ordered to march
for Dallas, by Euharlee and Stilesboro; Davis's division, then in
Rome, by Van Wert; the Army of the Ohio to keep on the left of
Thomas, by a place called Burnt Hickory; and the Army of the
Tennessee to march for a position a little to the south, so as to
be on the right of the general army, when grouped about Dallas.

The movement contemplated leaving our railroad, and to depend for
twenty days on the contents of our wagons; and as the country was
very obscure, mostly in a state of nature, densely wooded, and with
few roads, our movements were necessarily slow. We crossed the
Etowah by several bridges and fords, and took as many roads as
possible, keeping up communication by cross-roads, or by couriers
through the woods. I personally joined General Thomas, who had the
centre, and was consequently the main column, or "column of
direction." The several columns followed generally the valley of
the Euharlee, a tributary coming into the Etowah from the south,
and gradually crossed over a ridge of mountains, parts of which had
once been worked over for gold, and were consequently full of paths
and unused wagon-roads or tracks. A cavalry picket of the enemy at
Burnt Hickory was captured, and had on his person an order from
General Johnston, dated at Allatoona, which showed that he had
detected my purpose of turning his position, and it accordingly
became necessary to use great caution, lest some of the minor
columns should fall into ambush, but, luckily the enemy was not
much more familiar with that part of the country than we were. On
the other side of the Allatoona range, the Pumpkin-Vine Creek, also
a tributary of the Etowah, flowed north and west; Dallas, the point
aimed at, was a small town on the other or east side of this creek,
and was the point of concentration of a great many roads that led
in every direction. Its possession would be a threat to Marietta
and Atlanta, but I could not then venture to attempt either, till I
had regained the use of the railroad, at least as far down as its
debouche from the Allatoona range of mountains. Therefore, the
movement was chiefly designed to compel Johnston to give up

On the 25th all the columns were moving steadily on Dallas--
McPherson and Davis away off to the right, near Van Wert; Thomas on
the main road in the centre, with Hooker's Twentieth Corps ahead,
toward Dallas; and Schofield to the left rear. For the convenience
of march, Hooker had his three divisions on separate roads, all
leading toward Dallas, when, in the afternoon, as he approached a
bridge across Pumpkin-Vine Creek, he found it held by a cavalry
force, which was driven off, but the bridge was on fire. This fire
was extinguished, and Hooker's leading division (Geary's) followed
the retreating cavalry on a road leading due east toward Marietta,
instead of Dallas. This leading division, about four miles out
from the bridge, struck a heavy infantry force, which was moving
down from Allatoona toward Dallas, and a sharp battle ensued. I
came up in person soon after, and as my map showed that we were
near an important cross-road called "New Hope," from a Methodist
meeting-house there of that name, I ordered General Hooker to
secure it if possible that night. He asked for a short delay, till
he could bring up his other two divisions. viz., of Butterfield and
Williams, but before these divisions had got up and were deployed,
the enemy had also gained corresponding strength. The woods were
so dense, and the resistance so spirited, that Hooker could not
carry the position, though the battle was noisy, and prolonged far
into the night. This point, "New Hope," was the accidental
intersection of the road leading from Allatoona to Dallas with that
from Van Wert to Marietta, was four miles northeast of Dallas, and
from the bloody fighting there for the next week was called by the
soldiers "Hell-Hole."

The night was pitch-dark, it rained hard, and the convergence of
our columns toward Dallas produced much confusion. I am sure
similar confusion existed in the army opposed to us, for we were
all mixed up. I slept on the ground, without cover, alongside of a
log, got little sleep, resolved at daylight to renew the battle,
and to make a lodgment on the Dallas and Allatoona road if
possible, but the morning revealed a strong line of intrenchments
facing us, with a heavy force of infantry and guns. The battle was
renewed, and without success. McPherson reached Dallas that
morning, viz., the 26th, and deployed his troops to the southeast
and east of the town, placing Davis's division of the Fourteenth
Corps, which had joined him on the road from Rome, on his left; but
this still left a gap of at least three miles between Davis and
Hooker. Meantime, also, General Schofield was closing up on
Thomas's left.

Satisfied that Johnston in person was at New Hope with all his
army, and that it was so much nearer my "objective;" the railroad,
than Dallas, I concluded to draw McPherson from Dallas to Hooker's
right, and gave orders accordingly; but McPherson also was
confronted with a heavy force, and, as he began to withdraw
according to his orders, on the morning of the 28th he was fiercely
assailed on his right; a bloody battle ensued, in which he repulsed
the attack, inflicting heavy loss on his assailants, and it was not
until the 1st of June that he was enabled to withdraw from Dallas,
and to effect a close junction with Hooker in front of New Hope.
Meantime Thomas and Schofield were completing their deployments,
gradually overlapping Johnston on his right, and thus extending our
left nearer and nearer to the railroad, the nearest point of which
was Acworth, about eight miles distant. All this time a continual
battle was in progress by strong skirmish-lines, taking advantage
of every species of cover, and both parties fortifying each night
by rifle-trenches, with head-logs, many of which grew to be as
formidable as first-class works of defense. Occasionally one party
or the other would make a dash in the nature of a sally, but
usually it sustained a repulse with great loss of life. I visited
personally all parts of our lines nearly every day, was constantly
within musket-range, and though the fire of musketry and cannon
resounded day and night along the whole line, varying from six to
ten miles, I rarely saw a dozen of the enemy at any one time; and
these were always skirmishers dodging from tree to tree, or behind
logs on the ground, or who occasionally showed their heads above
the hastily-constructed but remarkably strong rifle-trenches. On
the occasion of my visit to McPherson on the 30th of May, while
standing with a group of officers, among whom were Generals
McPherson, Logan, Barry, and Colonel Taylor, my former chief of
artillery, a Minie-ball passed through Logan's coat-sleeve,
scratching the skin, and struck Colonel Taylor square in the
breast; luckily he had in his pocket a famous memorandum-book, in
which he kept a sort of diary, about which we used to joke him a
good deal; its thickness and size saved his life, breaking the
force of the ball, so that after traversing the book it only
penetrated the breast to the ribs, but it knocked him down and
disabled him for the rest of the campaign. He was a most competent
and worthy officer, and now lives in poverty in Chicago, sustained
in part by his own labor, and in part by a pitiful pension recently

On the 1st of June General McPherson closed in upon the right, and,
without attempting further to carry the enemy's strong position at
New Hope Church, I held our general right in close contact with it,
gradually, carefully, and steadily working by the left, until our
strong infantry-lines had reached and secured possession of all the
wagon-roads between New Hope, Allatoona, and Acworth, when I
dispatched Generals Garrard's and Stoneman's divisions of cavalry
into Allatoona, the first around by the west end of the pass, and
the latter by the direct road. Both reached their destination
without opposition, and orders were at once given to repair the
railroad forward from Kingston to Allatoona, embracing the bridge
across the Etowah River. Thus the real object of my move on Dallas
was accomplished, and on the 4th of June I was preparing to draw
off from New Hope Church, and to take position on the railroad in
front of Allatoona, when, General Johnston himself having evacuated
his position, we effected the change without further battle, and
moved to the railroad, occupying it from Allatoona and Acworth
forward to Big Shanty, in sight of the famous Kenesaw Mountain.

Thus, substantially in the month of May, we had steadily driven our
antagonist from the strong positions of Dalton, Resaea, Cassville,
Allatoona, and Dallas; had advanced our lines in strong, compact
order from Chattanooga to Big Shanty, nearly a hundred miles of as
difficult country as was ever fought over by civilized armies; and
thus stood prepared to go on, anxious to fight, and confident of
success as soon as the railroad communications were complete to
bring forward the necessary supplies. It is now impossible to
state accurately our loss of life and men in any one separate
battle; for the fighting was continuous, almost daily, among trees
and bushes, on ground where one could rarely see a hundred yards

The aggregate loss in the several corps for the month of May is
reported-as follows in the usual monthly returns sent to the
Adjutant-General's office, which are, therefore, official:

Casualties during the Month of May, 1864
(Major-General SHERMAN commanding).

Killed and Missing. Wounded. Total.
1,863 7,436 9,299

General Joseph E. Johnston, in his "Narrative of his Military
Operations," just published (March 27, 1874), gives the effective
strength of his army at and about Dalton on the 1st of May, 1864
(page 302), as follows:

Infantry..................... 37,652
Artillery.................... 2,812
Cavalry...................... 2,392

Total ................... 42,856

During May, and prior to reaching Cassville, he was further
reenforced (page 352)

Polk's corps of three divisions....... 12,000
Martin's division of cavalry.......... 3,500
Jackson's division of cavalry......... 3,900

And at New Hope Church, May 26th

Brigade of Quarles.................... 2,200

Grand-total.................. 64,456

His losses during the month of May are stated by him, as taken from
the report of Surgeon Foard (page 325)

Killed Wounded Total
721 4,672 5,393

These figures include only the killed and wounded, whereas my
statement of losses embraces the "missing," which are usually
"prisoners," and of these we captured, during the whole campaign of
four and a half months, exactly 12,983, whose names, rank, and
regiments, were officially reported to the Commissary-General of
Prisoners; and assuming a due proportion for the month of May,
viz., one-fourth, makes 3,245 to be added to the killed and wounded
given above, making an aggregate loss in Johnston's army, from
Dalton to New Hope, inclusive, of 8,638, against ours of 9,299.

Therefore General Johnston is greatly in error, in his estimates on
page 357, in stating our loss, as compared with his, at six or ten
to one.

I always estimated my force at about double his, and could afford
to lose two to one without disturbing our relative proportion; but
I also reckoned that, in the natural strength of the country, in
the abundance of mountains, streams, and forests, he had a fair
offset to our numerical superiority, and therefore endeavored to
act with reasonable caution while moving on the vigorous

With the drawn battle of New Hope Church, and our occupation of the
natural fortress of Allatoona, terminated the month of May, and the
first stage of the campaign.



JUNE, 1864.

On the 1st of June our three armies were well in hand, in the
broken and densely-wooded country fronting the enemy intrenched at
New Hope Church, about five miles north of Dallas. General
Stoneman's division of cavalry had occupied Allatoona, on the
railroad, and General Garrard's division was at the western end of
the pass, about Stilesboro. Colonel W. W. Wright, of the
Engineers, was busily employed in repairing the railroad and
rebuilding the bridge across the Etowah (or High tower) River,
which had been destroyed by the enemy on his retreat; and the
armies were engaged in a general and constant skirmish along a
front of about six miles--McPherson the right, Thomas the centre,
and Schofield on the left. By gradually covering our front with
parapet, and extending to the left, we approached the railroad
toward Acworth and overlapped the enemy's right. By the 4th of
June we had made such progress that Johnston evacuated his lines in
the night, leaving us masters of the situation, when I deliberately
shifted McPherson's army to the extreme left, at and in front of
Acworth, with Thomas's about two miles on his right, and
Schofield's on his right all facing east. Heavy rains set in about
the 1st of June, making the roads infamous; but our marches were
short, as we needed time for the repair of the railroad, so as to
bring supplies forward to Allatoona Station. On the 6th I rode
back to Allatoona, seven miles, found it all that was expected, and
gave orders for its fortification and preparation as a "secondary

General Blair arrived at Acworth on the 8th with his two divisions
of the Seventeenth Corps--the same which had been on veteran
furlough--had come up from Cairo by way of Clifton, on the
Tennessee River, and had followed our general route to Allatoona,
where he had left a garrison of about fifteen hundred men. His
effective strength, as reported, was nine thousand. These, with
new regiments and furloughed men who had joined early in the month
of May, equaled our losses from battle, sickness, and by
detachments; so that the three armies still aggregated about one
hundred thousand effective men.

On the 10th of June the whole combined army moved forward six
miles, to "Big Shanty," a station on the railroad, whence we had a
good view of the enemy's position, which embraced three prominent
hills known as Kenesaw, Pine Mountain, and Lost Mountain. On each
of these hills the enemy had signal-stations and fresh lines of
parapets. Heavy masses of infantry could be distinctly seen with
the naked eye, and it was manifest that Johnston had chosen his
ground well, and with deliberation had prepared for battle; but his
line was at least ten miles in extent--too long, in my judgment, to
be held successfully by his force, then estimated at sixty
thousand. As his position, however, gave him a perfect view over
our field, we had to proceed with due caution. McPherson had the
left, following the railroad, which curved around the north base of
Kenesaw; Thomas the centre, obliqued to the right, deploying below
Kenesaw and facing Pine Hill; and Schofield, somewhat refused, was
on the general right, looking south, toward Lost Mountain.

On the 11th the Etowah bridge was done; the railroad was repaired
up to our very skirmish line, close to the base of Kenesaw, and a
loaded train of cars came to Big Shanty. The locomotive, detached,
was run forward to a water-tank within the range of the enemy's
guns on Kenesaw, whence the enemy opened fire on the locomotive;
but the engineer was not afraid, went on to the tank, got water,
and returned safely to his train, answering the guns with the
screams of his engine, heightened by the cheers and shouts of our

The rains continued to pour, and made our developments slow and
dilatory, for there were no roads, and these had to be improvised
by each division for its own supply train from the depot in Big
Shanty to the camps. Meantime each army was deploying carefully
before the enemy, intrenching every camp, ready as against a sally.
The enemy's cavalry was also busy in our rear, compelling us to
detach cavalry all the way back as far as Resaca, and to
strengthen all the infantry posts as far as Nashville. Besides,
there was great danger, always in my mind, that Forrest would
collect a heavy cavalry command in Mississippi, cross the Tennessee
River, and break up our railroad below Nashville. In anticipation
of this very danger, I had sent General Sturgis to Memphis to take
command of all the cavalry in that quarter, to go out toward
Pontotoc, engage Forrest and defeat him; but on the 14th of June I
learned that General Sturgis had himself been defeated on the 10th
of June, and had been driven by Forrest back into Memphis in
considerable confusion. I expected that this would soon be
followed by a general raid on all our roads in Tennessee. General
G. J. Smith, with the two divisions of the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Corps which had been with General Banks up Red River,
had returned from that ill-fated expedition, and had been ordered
to General Canby at New Orleans, who was making a diversion about
Mobile; but, on hearing of General Sturgis's defeat, I ordered
General Smith to go out from Memphis and renew the offensive, so as
to keep Forrest off our roads. This he did finally, defeating
Forrest at Tupelo, on the 13th, 14th, and 15th days of July; and
he so stirred up matters in North Mississippi that Forrest could
not leave for Tennessee. This, for a time, left me only the task
of covering the roads against such minor detachments of cavalry as
Johnston could spare from his immediate army, and I proposed to
keep these too busy in their own defense to spare detachments. By
the 14th the rain slackened, and we occupied a continuous line of
ten miles, intrenched, conforming to the irregular position of the
enemy, when I reconnoitred, with a view to make a break in their
line between Kenesaw and Pine Mountain. When abreast of Pine
Mountain I noticed a rebel battery on its crest, with a continuous
line of fresh rifle-trench about half-way down the hill. Our
skirmishers were at the time engaged in the woods about the base of
this hill between the lines, and I estimated the distance to the
battery on the crest at about eight hundred yards. Near it, in
plain view, stood a group of the enemy, evidently observing us with
glasses. General Howard, commanding the Fourth Corps, was near by,
and I called his attention to this group, and ordered him to compel
it to keep behind its cover. He replied that his orders from
General Thomas were to spare artillery-ammunition. This was right,
according to the general policy, but I explained to him that we
must keep up the morale of a bold offensive, that he must use his
artillery, force the enemy to remain on the timid defensive, and
ordered him to cause a battery close by to fire three volleys. I
continued to ride down our line, and soon heard, in quick
succession, the three volleys. The next division in order was
Geary's, and I gave him similar orders. General Polk, in my
opinion, was killed by the second volley fired from the first
battery referred to.

In a conversation with General Johnston, after the war, he
explained that on that day he had ridden in person from Marietta to
Pine Mountain, held by Bates's division, and was accompanied by
Generals Hardee and Polk. When on Pine Mountain, reconnoitring,
quite a group of soldiers, belonging to the battery close by,
clustered about him. He noticed the preparations of our battery to
fire, and cautioned these men to scatter. They did so, and he
likewise hurried behind the parapet, from which he had an equally
good view of our position but General Polk, who was dignified and
corpulent, walked back slowly, not wishing to appear too hurried or
cautious in the presence of the men, and was struck across the
breast by an unexploded shell, which killed him instantly. This is
my memory of the conversation, and it is confirmed by Johnston
himself in his "Narrative," page 337, except that he calculated the
distance of our battery at six hundred yards, and says that Polk
was killed by the third shot; I know that our guns fired by volley,
and believe that he was hit by a shot of the second volley. It has
been asserted that I fired the gun which killed General Polk, and
that I knew it was directed against that general. The fact is, at
that distance we could not even tell that the group were officers
at all; I was on horseback, a couple of hundred yards off, before
my orders to fire were executed, had no idea that our shot had
taken effect, and continued my ride down along the line to
Schofield's extreme flank, returning late in the evening to my
head-quarters at Big Shanty, where I occupied an abandoned house.
In a cotton-field back of that house was our signal-station, on the
roof of an old gin-house. The signal-officer reported that by
studying the enemy's signals he had learned the key, and that he
could read their signals. He explained to me that he had
translated a signal about noon, from Pine Mountain to Marietta,
"Send an ambulance for General Polk's body;" and later in the day
another, "Why don't you send an ambulance for General Polk?" From
this we inferred that General Polk had been killed, but how or
where we knew not; and this inference was confirmed later in the
same day by the report of some prisoners who had been captured.

On the 15th we advanced our general lines, intending to attack at
any weak point discovered between Kenesaw and Pine Mountain; but
Pine Mountain was found to be abandoned, and Johnston had
contracted his front somewhat, on a direct line, connecting Kenesaw
with Lost Mountain. Thomas and Schofield thereby gained about two
miles of most difficult, country, and McPherson's left lapped well
around the north end of Kenesaw. We captured a good many
prisoners, among them a whole infantry regiment, the Fourteenth
Alabama, three hundred and twenty strong.

On the 16th the general movement was continued, when Lost Mountain
was abandoned by the enemy. Our right naturally swung round, so as
to threaten the railroad below Marietta, but Johnston had still
further contracted and strengthened his lines, covering Marietta
and all the roads below.

On the 17th and 18th the rain again fell in torrents, making army
movements impossible, but we devoted the time to strengthening our
positions, more especially the left and centre, with a view
gradually to draw from the left to add to the right; and we had to
hold our lines on the left extremely strong, to guard against a
sally from Kenesaw against our depot at Big Shanty. Garrard's
division of cavalry was kept busy on our left, McPherson had
gradually extended to his right, enabling Thomas to do the same
still farther; but the enemy's position was so very strong, and
everywhere it was covered by intrenchments, that we found it as
dangerous to assault as a permanent fort. We in like manner
covered our lines of battle by similar works, and even our
skirmishers learned to cover their bodies by the simplest and best
forms of defensive works, such as rails or logs, piled in the form
of a simple lunette, covered on the outside with earth thrown up at

The enemy and ourselves used the same form of rifle-trench, varied
according to the nature of the ground, viz.: the trees and bushes
were cut away for a hundred yards or more in front, serving as an
abatis or entanglement; the parapets varied from four to six feet
high, the dirt taken from a ditch outside and from a covered way
inside, and this parapet was surmounted by a "head-log," composed
of the trunk of a tree from twelve to twenty inches at the butt,
lying along the interior crest of the parapet and resting in
notches cut in other trunks which extended back, forming an
inclined plane, in case the head-log should be knocked inward by a
cannon-shot. The men of both armies became extremely skillful in
the construction of these works, because each man realized their
value and importance to himself, so that it required no orders for
their construction. As soon as a regiment or brigade gained a
position within easy distance for a sally, it would set to work
with a will, and would construct such a parapet in a single night;
but I endeavored to spare the soldiers this hard labor by
authorizing each division commander to organize out of the freedmen
who escaped to us a pioneer corps of two hundred men, who were fed
out of the regular army supplies, and I promised them ten dollars a
month, under an existing act of Congress. These pioneer
detachments became very useful to us during the rest of the war,
for they could work at night while our men slept; they in turn were
not expected to fight, and could therefore sleep by day. Our
enemies used their slaves for a similar purpose, but usually kept
them out of the range of fire by employing them to fortify and
strengthen the position to their rear next to be occupied in their
general retrograde. During this campaign hundreds if not thousands
of miles of similar intrenchments were built by both armies, and,
as a rule, whichever party attacked got the worst of it.

On the 19th of June the rebel army again fell back on its flanks,
to such an extent that for a time I supposed it had retreated to
the Chattahoochee River, fifteen miles distant; but as we pressed
forward we were soon undeceived, for we found it still more
concentrated, covering Marietta and the railroad. These successive
contractions of the enemy's line encouraged us and discouraged him,
but were doubtless justified by sound reasons. On the 20th
Johnston's position was unusually strong. Kenesaw Mountain was his
salient; his two flanks were refused and covered by parapets and by
Noonday and Nose's Creeks. His left flank was his weak point, so
long as he acted on the "defensive," whereas, had he designed to
contract the extent of his line for the purpose of getting in
reserve a force with which to strike "offensively" from his right,
he would have done a wise act, and I was compelled to presume that
such was his object: We were also so far from Nashville and
Chattanooga that we were naturally sensitive for the safety of our
railroad and depots, so that the left (McPherson) was held very

About this time came reports that a large cavalry force of the
enemy had passed around our left flank, evidently to strike this
very railroad somewhere below Chattanooga. I therefore reenforced
the cavalry stationed from Resaca to Casaville, and ordered forward
from Huntsville, Alabama, the infantry division of General John E.
Smith, to hold Kingston securely.

While we were thus engaged about Kenesaw, General Grant had his
hands full with Lee, in Virginia. General Halleck was the chief of
staff at Washington, and to him I communicated almost daily. I
find from my letter-book that on the 21st of June I reported to him
tersely and truly the condition of facts on that day: "This is the
nineteenth day of rain, and the prospect of fair weather is as far
off as ever. The roads are impassable; the fields and woods become
quagmire's after a few wagons have crossed over. Yet we are at
work all the time. The left flank is across Noonday Creek, and the
right is across Nose's Creek. The enemy still holds Kenesaw, a
conical mountain, with Marietta behind it, and has his flanks
retired, to cover that town and the railroad behind. I am all
ready to attack the moment the weather and roads will permit troops
and artillery to move with any thing like life."

The weather has a wonderful effect on troops: in action and on the
march, rain is favorable; but in the woods, where all is blind and
uncertain, it seems almost impossible for an army covering ten
miles of front to act in concert during wet and stormy weather.
Still I pressed operations with the utmost earnestness, aiming
always to keep our fortified lines in absolute contact with the
enemy, while with the surplus force we felt forward, from one flank
or the other, for his line of communication and retreat. On the
22d of June I rode the whole line, and ordered General Thomas in
person to advance his extreme right corps (Hooker's); and
instructed General Schofield, by letter, to keep his entire army,
viz., the Twenty-third Corps, as a strong right flank in close
support of Hooker's deployed line. During this day the sun came
out, with some promise of clear weather, and I had got back to my
bivouac about dark, when a signal message was received, dated-


General SHERMAN:
We have repulsed two heavy attacks, and feel confident, our only
apprehension being from our extreme right flank. Three entire
corps are in front of us.

Major-General HOOKER.

Hooker's corps (the Twentieth) belonged to Thomas's army; Thomas's
headquarters were two miles nearer to Hooker than mine; and Hooker,
being an old army officer, knew that he should have reported this
fact to Thomas and not to me; I was, moreover, specially disturbed
by the assertion in his report that he was uneasy about his right
flank, when Schofield had been specially ordered to protect that.
I first inquired of my adjutant, Dayton, if he were certain that
General Schofield had received his orders, and he answered that the
envelope in which he had sent them was receipted by General
Schofield himself. I knew, therefore, that General Schofield must
be near by, in close support of Hooker's right flank. General
Thomas had before this occasion complained to me of General
Hooker's disposition to "switch off," leaving wide gaps in his
line, so as to be independent, and to make glory on his own
account. I therefore resolved not to overlook this breach of
discipline and propriety. The rebel army was only composed of
three corps; I had that very day ridden six miles of their lines,
found them everywhere strongly occupied, and therefore Hooker could
not have encountered "three entire corps." Both McPherson and
Schofield had also complained to me of this same tendency of Hooker
to widen the gap between his own corps and his proper army
(Thomas's), so as to come into closer contact with one or other of
the wings, asserting that he was the senior by commission to both
McPherson and Schofield, and that in the event of battle he should
assume command over them, by virtue of his older commission.

They appealed to me to protect them. I had heard during that day
some cannonading and heavy firing down toward the "Kulp House,"
which was about five miles southeast of where I was, but this was
nothing unusual, for at the same moment there was firing along our
lines full ten miles in extent. Early the next day (23d) I rode
down to the "Kulp House," which was on a road leading from Powder
Springs to Marietta, about three miles distant from the latter. On
the way I passed through General Butterfield's division of Hooker's
corps, which I learned had not been engaged at all in the battle of
the day before; then I rode along Geary's and Williams's divisions,
which occupied the field of battle, and the men were engaged in
burying the dead. I found General Schofield's corps on the Powder
Springs road, its head of column abreast of Hooker's right,
therefore constituting "a strong right flank," and I met Generale
Schofield and Hooker together. As rain was falling at the moment,
we passed into a little church standing by the road-side, and I
there showed General Schofield Hooker's signal-message of the day
before. He was very angry, and pretty sharp words passed between
them, Schofield saying that his head of column (Hascall's division)
had been, at the time of the battle, actually in advance of
Hooker's line; that the attack or sally of the enemy struck his
troops before it did Hooker's; that General Hooker knew of it at
the time; and he offered to go out and show me that the dead men of
his advance division (Hascall's) were lying farther out than any of
Hooker's. General Hooker pretended not to have known this fact. I
then asked him why he had called on me for help, until he had used
all of his own troops; asserting that I had just seen Butterfield's
division, and had learned from him that he had not been engaged the
day before at all; and I asserted that the enemy's sally must have
been made by one corps (Hood's), in place of three, and that it had
fallen on Geary's and Williams's divisions, which had repulsed the
attack handsomely. As we rode away from that church General Hooker
was by my side, and I told him that such a thing must not occur
again; in other words, I reproved him more gently than the occasion
demanded, and from that time he began to sulk. General Hooker had
come from the East with great fame as a "fighter," and at
Chattanooga he was glorified by his "battle above the clouds,"
which I fear turned his head. He seemed jealous of all the army
commanders, because in years, former rank, and experience, he
thought he was our superior.

On the 23d of June I telegraphed to General Halleck this summary,
which I cannot again better state:

We continue to press forward on the principle of an advance against
fortified positions. The whole country is one vast fort, and
Johnston must have at least fifty miles of connected trenches, with
abatis and finished batteries. We gain ground daily, fighting all
the time. On the 21st General Stanley gained a position near the
south end of Kenesaw, from which the enemy attempted in vain to
drive him; and the same day General T. J. Wood's division took a
hill, which the enemy assaulted three times at night without
success, leaving more than a hundred dead on the ground. Yesterday
the extreme right (Hooker and Schofield) advanced on the Powder
Springs road to within three miles of Marietta. The enemy made a
strong effort to drive them away, but failed signally, leaving more
than two hundred dead on the field. Our lines are now in close
contact, and the fighting is incessant, with a good deal of
artillery-fire. As fast as we gain one position the enemy has
another all ready, but I think he will soon have to let go Kenesaw,
which is the key to the whole country. The weather is now better,
and the roads are drying up fast. Our losses are light, and, not-
withstanding the repeated breaks of the road to our rear, supplies
are ample.

During the 24th and 25th of June General Schofield extended his
right as far as prudent, so as to compel the enemy to thin out his
lines correspondingly, with the intention to make two strong
assaults at points where success would give us the greatest
advantage. I had consulted Generals Thomas, McPherson, and
Schofield, and we all agreed that we could not with prudence
stretch out any more, and therefore there was no alternative but to
attack "fortified lines," a thing carefully avoided up to that
time. I reasoned, if we could make a breach anywhere near the
rebel centre, and thrust in a strong head of column, that with the
one moiety of our army we could hold in check the corresponding
wing of the enemy, and with the other sweep in flank and overwhelm
the other half. The 27th of June was fixed as the day for the
attempt, and in order to oversee the whole, and to be in close
communication with all parts of the army, I had a place cleared on
the top of a hill to the rear of Thomas's centre, and had the
telegraph-wires laid to it. The points of attack were chosen, and
the troops were all prepared with as little demonstration as
possible. About 9 A.M. Of the day appointed, the troops moved to
the assault, and all along our lines for ten miles a furious fire
of artillery and musketry was kept up. At all points the enemy met
us with determined courage and in great force. McPherson's
attacking column fought up the face of the lesser Kenesaw, but
could not reach the summit. About a mile to the right (just below
the Dallas road) Thomas's assaulting column reached the parapet,
where Brigadier-General Barker was shot down mortally wounded, and
Brigadier-General Daniel McCook (my old law-partner) was
desperately wounded, from the effects of which he afterward died.
By 11.30 the assault was in fact over, and had failed. We had not
broken the rebel line at either point, but our assaulting columns
held their ground within a few yards of the rebel trenches, and
there covered themselves with parapet. McPherson lost about five
hundred men and several valuable officers, and Thomas lost nearly
two thousand men. This was the hardest fight of the campaign up to
that date, and it is well described by Johnston in his "Narrative"
(pages 342, 343), where he admits his loss in killed and wounded

Total ............. 808

This, no doubt, is a true and fair statement; but, as usual,
Johnston overestimates our loss, putting it at six thousand,
whereas our entire loss was about twenty-five hundred, killed and

While the battle was in progress at the centre, Schofield crossed
Olley's Creek on the right, and gained a position threatening
Johnston's line of retreat; and, to increase the effect, I ordered
Stoneman's cavalry to proceed rapidly still farther to the right,
to Sweetwater. Satisfied of the bloody cost of attacking
intrenched lines, I at once thought of moving the whole army to the
railroad at a point (Fulton) about ten miles below Marietta, or to
the Chattahoochee River itself, a movement similar to the one
afterward so successfully practised at Atlanta. All the orders
were issued to bring forward supplies enough to fill our wagons,
intending to strip the railroad back to Allatoona, and leave that
place as our depot, to be covered as well as possible by Garrard's
cavalry. General Thomas, as usual, shook his head, deeming it
risky to leave the railroad; but something had to be done, and I
had resolved on this move, as reported in my dispatch to General
Halleck on July 1st:

General Schofield is now south of Olley's Creek, and on the head of
Nickajack. I have been hurrying down provisions and forage, and
tomorrow night propose to move McPherson from the left to the
extreme right, back of General Thomas. This will bring my right
within three miles of the Chattahoochee River, and about five miles
from the railroad. By this movement I think I can force Johnston
to move his whole army down from Kenesaw to defend his railroad and
the Chattahoochee, when I will (by the left flank) reach the
railroad below Marietta; but in this I must cut loose from the
railroad with ten days' supplies in wagons. Johnston may come out
of his intrenchments to attack Thomas, which is exactly what I
want, for General Thomas is well intrenched on a line parallel with
the enemy south of Kenesaw. I think that Allatoona and the line of
the Etowah are strong enough for me to venture on this move. The
movement is substantially down the Sandtown road straight for

McPherson drew out of his lines during the night of July 2d,
leaving Garrard's cavalry, dismounted, occupying his trenches, and
moved to the rear of the Army of the Cumberland, stretching down
the Nickajack; but Johnston detected the movement, and promptly
abandoned Marietta and Kenesaw. I expected as much, for, by the
earliest dawn of the 3d of July, I was up at a large spy-glass
mounted on a tripod, which Colonel Poe, United States Engineers,
had at his bivouac close by our camp. I directed the glass on
Kenesaw, and saw some of our pickets crawling up the hill
cautiously; soon they stood upon the very top, and I could plainly
see their movements as they ran along the crest just abandoned by
the enemy. In a minute I roused my staff, and started them off
with orders in every direction for a pursuit by every possible
road, hoping to catch Johnston in the confusion of retreat,
especially at the crossing of the Chattahoochee River.

I must close this chapter here, so as to give the actual losses
during June, which are compiled from the official returns by
months. These losses, from June 1st to July 3d, were all
substantially sustained about Kenesaw and Marietta, and it was
really a continuous battle, lasting from the 10th day of June till
the 3d of July, when the rebel army fell back from Marietta toward
the Chattahoochee River. Our losses were:

Killed and Missing Wounded Total
Loss in June Aggregate 1,790 5,740 7,530

Johnston makes his statement of losses from the report of his
surgeon Foard, for pretty much the same period, viz., from June 4th
to July 4th (page 576):
Killed Wounded Total
Total............ 468 3,480 3,948

In the tabular statement the "missing" embraces the prisoners; and,
giving two thousand as a fair proportion of prisoners captured by
us for the month of June (twelve thousand nine hundred and eighty-
three in all the campaign), makes an aggregate loss in the rebel
army of fifty-nine hundred and forty-eight, to ours of seventy-five
hundred and thirty--a less proportion than in the relative strength
of our two armies, viz., as six to ten, thus maintaining our
relative superiority, which the desperate game of war justified.



JULY, 1864.

As before explained, on the 3d of July, by moving McPherson's
entire army from the extreme left, at the base of Kenesaw to the
right, below Olley's Creek, and stretching it down the Nickajack
toward Turner's Ferry of the Chattahoochee, we forced Johnston to
choose between a direct assault on Thomas's intrenched position, or
to permit us to make a lodgment on his railroad below Marietta, or
even to cross the Chattahoochee. Of course, he chose to let go
Kenesaw and Marietta, and fall back on an intrenched camp prepared
by his orders in advance on the north and west bank of the
Chattahoochee, covering the railroad-crossing and his several
pontoon-bridges. I confess I had not learned beforehand of the
existence of this strong place, in the nature of a tete-du-pont,
and had counted on striking him an effectual blow in the expected
confusion of his crossing the Chattahoochee, a broad and deep river
then to his rear. Ordering every part of the army to pursue
vigorously on the morning of the 3d of July, I rode into Marietta,
just quitted by the rebel rear-guard, and was terribly angry at the
cautious pursuit by Garrard's cavalry, and even by the head of our
infantry columns. But Johnston had in advance cleared and
multiplied his roads, whereas ours had to cross at right angles
from the direction of Powder Springs toward Marrietta, producing
delay and confusion. By night Thomas's head of column ran up
against a strong rear-guard intrenched at Smyrna camp-ground, six
miles below Marietta, and there on the next day we celebrated our
Fourth of July, by a noisy but not a desperate battle, designed
chiefly to hold the enemy there till Generals McPherson and
Schofield could get well into position below him, near the
Chattahoochee crossings.

It was here that General Noyes, late Governor of Ohio, lost his
leg. I came very near being shot myself while reconnoitring in the
second story of a house on our picket-line, which was struck
several times by cannon-shot, and perfectly riddled with

During the night Johnston drew back all his army and trains inside
the tete-du-pont at the Chattahoochee, which proved one of the
strongest pieces of field-fortification I ever saw. We closed up
against it, and were promptly met by a heavy and severe fire.
Thomas was on the main road in immediate pursuit; next on his right
was Schofield; and McPherson on the extreme right, reaching the
Chattahoochee River below Turner's Ferry. Stoneman's cavalry was
still farther to the right, along down the Chattahoochee River as
far as opposite Sandtown; and on that day I ordered Garrard's
division of cavalry up the river eighteen miles, to secure
possession of the factories at Roswell, as well as to hold an
important bridge and ford at that place.

About three miles out from the Chattahoochee the main road forked,
the right branch following substantially the railroad, and the left
one leading straight for Atlanta, via Paice's Ferry and Buckhead.
We found the latter unoccupied and unguarded, and the Fourth Corps
(Howard's) reached the river at Paice's Ferry. The right-hand road
was perfectly covered by the tete-du-pont before described, where
the resistance was very severe, and for some time deceived me, for
I was pushing Thomas with orders to fiercely assault his enemy,
supposing that he was merely opposing us to gain time to get his
trains and troops across the Chattahoochee; but, on personally
reconnoitring, I saw the abatis and the strong redoubts, which
satisfied me of the preparations that had been made by Johnston in
anticipation of this very event. While I was with General Jeff. C.
Davis, a poor negro came out of the abatis, blanched with fright,
said he had been hidden under a log all day, with a perfect storm
of shot, shells, and musket-balls, passing over him, till a short
lull had enabled him to creep out and make himself known to our
skirmishers, who in turn had sent him back to where we were. This
negro explained that he with about a thousand slaves had been at
work a month or more on these very lines, which, as he explained,
extended from the river about a mile above the railroad-bridge to
Turner's Ferry below,--being in extent from five to six miles.

Therefore, on the 5th of July we had driven our enemy to cover in
the valley of the Chattahoochee, and we held possession of the
river above for eighteen miles, as far as Roswell, and below ten
miles to the mouth of the Sweetwater. Moreover, we held the high
ground and could overlook his movements, instead of his looking
down on us, as was the case at Kenesaw.

From a hill just back of Mining's Station I could see the houses in
Atlanta, nine miles distant, and the whole intervening valley of
the Chattahoochee; could observe the preparations for our reception
on the other side, the camps of men and large trains of covered
wagons; and supposed, as a matter of course, that Johnston had
passed the river with the bulk of his army, and that he had only
left on our side a corps to cover his bridges; but in fact he had
only sent across his cavalry and trains. Between Howard's corps at
Paice's Ferry and the rest of Thomas's army pressing up against
this tete-du-pont, was a space concealed by dense woods, in
crossing which I came near riding into a detachment of the enemy's
cavalry; and later in the same day Colonel Frank Sherman, of
Chicago, then on General Howard's staff, did actually ride straight
into the enemy's camp, supposing that our lines were continuous.
He was carried to Atlanta, and for some time the enemy supposed
they were in possession of the commander-in-chief of the opposing

I knew that Johnston would not remain long on the west bank of the
Chattahoochee, for I could easily practise on that ground to better
advantage our former tactics of intrenching a moiety in his front,
and with the rest of our army cross the river and threaten either
his rear or the city of Atlanta itself, which city was of vital
importance to the existence not only of his own army, but of the
Confederacy itself. In my dispatch of July 6th to General Halleck,
at Washington, I state that:

Johnston (in his retreat from Kenesaw) has left two breaks in the
railroad--one above Marietta and one near Mining's Station. The
former is already repaired, and Johnston's army has heard the sound
of our locomotives. The telegraph is finished to Mining's Station,
and the field-wire has just reached my bivouac, and will be ready
to convey this message as soon as it is written and translated into

I propose to study the crossings of the Chattahoochee, and, when
all is ready, to move quickly. As a beginning, I will keep the
troops and wagons well back from the river, and only display to the
enemy our picket-line, with a few field-batteries along at random.
I have already shifted Schofield to a point in our left rear,
whence he can in a single move reach the Chattahoochee at a point
above the railroad-bridge, where there is a ford. At present the
waters are turbid and swollen from recent rains; but if the present
hot weather lasts, the water will run down very fast. We have
pontoons enough for four bridges, but, as our crossing will be
resisted, we must manoeuvre some. All the regular crossing-places
are covered by forts, apparently of long construction; but we shall
cross in due time, and, instead of attacking Atlanta direct, or any
of its forts, I propose to make a circuit, destroying all its
railroads. This is a delicate movement, and must be done with
caution. Our army is in good condition and full of confidence; but
the weather is intensely hot, and a good many men have fallen with
sunstroke. The country is high and healthy, and the sanitary
condition of the army is good.

At this time Stoneman was very active on our extreme right,
pretending to be searching the river below Turner's Ferry for a
crossing, and was watched closely by the enemy's cavalry on the
other side, McPherson, on the right, was equally demonstrative at
and near Turner's Ferry. Thomas faced substantially the intrenched
tete-du-pont, and had his left on the Chattahoochee River, at
Paice's Ferry. Garrard's cavalry was up at Roswell, and McCook's
small division of cavalry was intermediate, above Soap's Creek.
Meantime, also, the railroad-construction party was hard at work,
repairing the railroad up to our camp at Vining's Station.

Of course, I expected every possible resistance in crossing the
Chattahoochee River, and had made up my mind to feign on the right,
but actually to cross over by the left. We had already secured a
crossing place at Roswell, but one nearer was advisable; General
Schofield had examined the river well, found a place just below the
mouth of Soap's Creek which he deemed advantageous, and was
instructed to effect an early crossing there, and to intrench a
good position on the other side, viz., the east bank. But,
preliminary thereto, I had ordered General Rousseau, at Nashville,
to collect, out of the scattered detachments of cavalry in
Tennessee, a force of a couple of thousand men, to rendezvous at
Decatur, Alabama, thence to make a rapid march for Opelika, to
break up the railroad links between Georgia and Alabama, and then
to make junction with me about Atlanta; or, if forced, to go on to
Pensacola, or even to swing across to some of our posts in
Mississippi. General Rousseau asked leave to command this
expedition himself, to which I consented, and on the 6th of July he
reported that he was all ready at Decatur, and I gave him orders to
start. He moved promptly on the 9th, crossed the Coosa below the
"Ten Islands" and the Tallapoosa below "Horseshoe Bend," having
passed through Talladega. He struck the railroad west of Opelika,
tore it up for twenty miles, then turned north and came to Marietta
on the 22d of July, whence he reported to me. This expedition was
in the nature of a raid, and must have disturbed the enemy
somewhat; but, as usual, the cavalry did not work hard, and their
destruction of the railroad was soon repaired. Rousseau, when he
reported to me in person before Atlanta, on the 28d of July, stated
his entire loss to have been only twelve killed and thirty wounded.
He brought in four hundred captured mules and three hundred horses,
and also told me a good story. He said he was far down in Alabama,
below Talladega, one hot, dusty day, when the blue clothing of his
men was gray with dust; he had halted his column along a road, and
he in person, with his staff, had gone to the house of a planter,
who met him kindly on the front-porch. He asked for water, which
was brought, and as the party sat on the porch in conversation he
saw, in a stable-yard across the road, quite a number of good
mules. He remarked to the planter, "My good sir, I fear I must take
some of your mules." The planter remonstrated, saying he had
already contributed liberally to the good cause; that it was only
last week he had given to General Roddy ten mules. Rousseau
replied, "Well, in this war you should be at least neutral--that
is, you should be as liberal to us as to Roddy" (a rebel cavalry
general). "Well, ain't you on our side?" "No," said Rousseau; "I
am General Rousseau, and all these men you see are Yanks." "Great
God! is it possible! Are these Yanks! Who ever supposed they
would come away down here in Alabama?" Of course, Rousseau took
his ten mules.

Schofield effected his crossing at Soap's Creek very handsomely on
the 9th, capturing the small guard that was watching the crossing.
By night he was on the high ground beyond, strongly intrenched,
with two good pontoon-bridges finished, and was prepared, if
necessary, for an assault by the whole Confederate army. The same
day Garrard's cavalry also crossed over at Roswell, drove away the
cavalry-pickets, and held its ground till relieved by Newton's
division of Howard's corps, which was sent up temporarily, till it
in turn was relieved by Dodge's corps (Sixteenth) of the Army of
the Tennessee, which was the advance of the whole of that army.

That night Johnston evacuated his trenches, crossed over the
Chattahoochee, burned the railroad bridge and his pontoon and
trestle bridges, and left us in full possession of the north or
west bank-besides which, we had already secured possession of the
two good crossings at Roswell and Soap's Creek. I have always
thought Johnston neglected his opportunity there, for he had lain
comparatively idle while we got control of both banks of the river
above him.

On the 13th I ordered McPherson, with the Fifteenth Corps, to move
up to Roswell, to cross over, prepare good bridges, and to make a
strong tete-du-pont on the farther side. Stoneman had been sent
down to Campbellton, with orders to cross over and to threaten the
railroad below Atlanta, if he could do so without too much risk;
and General Blair, with the Seventeenth Corps, was to remain at
Turner's Ferry, demonstrating as much as possible, thus keeping up
the feint below while we were actually crossing above. Thomas was
also ordered to prepare his bridges at Powers's and Paice's
Ferries. By crossing the Chattahoochee above the railroad bridge,
we were better placed to cover our railroad and depots than below,
though a movement across the river below the railroad, to the south
of Atlanta, might have been more decisive. But we were already so
far from home, and would be compelled to accept battle whenever
offered, with the Chattahoochee to our rear, that it became
imperative for me to take all prudential measures the case admitted
of, and I therefore determined to pass the river above the
railroad-bridge-McPherson on the left, Schofield in the centre,
and Thomas on the right. On the 13th I reported to General Halleck
as follows:

All is well. I have now accumulated stores at Allatoona and
Marietta, both fortified and garrisoned points. Have also three
places at which to cross the Chattahoochee in our possession, and
only await General Stoneman's return from a trip down the river, to
cross the army in force and move on Atlanta.

Stoneman is now out two days, and had orders to be back on the
fourth or fifth day at furthest.

From the 10th to the 15th we were all busy in strengthening the
several points for the proposed passage of the Chattahoochee, in
increasing the number and capacity of the bridges, rearranging the
garrisons to our rear, and in bringing forward supplies. On the
15th General Stoneman got back to Powder Springs, and was ordered
to replace General Blair at Turner's Ferry, and Blair, with the
Seventeenth Corps, was ordered up to Roswell to join McPherson. On
the 17th we began the general movement against Atlanta, Thomas
crossing the Chattahoochee at Powers's and Paice's, by pontoon-
bridges; Schofield moving out toward Cross Keys, and McPherson
toward Stone Mountain. We encountered but little opposition except
by cavalry. On the 18th all the armies moved on a general right
wheel, Thomas to Buckhead, forming line of battle facing
Peach-Tree Creek; Schofield was on his left, and McPherson well
over toward the railroad between Stone Mountain and Decatur, which
he reached at 2 p.m. of that day, about four miles from Stone
Mountain, and seven miles east of Decatur, and there he turned
toward Atlanta, breaking up the railroad as he progressed, his
advance-guard reaching Ecatur about night, where he came into
communication with Schofield's troops, which had also reached
Decatur. About 10 A.M. of that day (July 18th), when the armies
were all in motion, one of General Thomas's staff-officers brought
me a citizen, one of our spies, who had just come out of Atlanta,
and had brought a newspaper of the same day, or of the day before,
containing Johnston's order relinquishing the command of the
Confederate forces in Atlanta, and Hood's order assuming the
command. I immediately inquired of General Schofield, who was his
classmate at West Point, about Hood, as to his general character,
etc., and learned that he was bold even to rashness, and courageous
in the extreme; I inferred that the change of commanders meant
"fight." Notice of this important change was at once sent to all
parts of the army, and every division commander was cautioned to be
always prepared for battle in any shape. This was just what we
wanted, viz., to fight in open ground, on any thing like equal
terms, instead of being forced to run up against prepared
intrenchments; but, at the same time, the enemy having Atlanta
behind him, could choose the time and place of attack, and could at
pleasure mass a superior force on our weakest points. Therefore,
we had to be constantly ready for sallies.

On the 19th the three armies were converging toward Atlanta,
meeting such feeble resistance that I really thought the enemy
intended to evacuate the place. McPherson was moving astride of
the railroad, near Decatur; Schofield along a road leading toward
Atlanta, by Colonel Howard's house and the distillery; and Thomas
was crossing "Peach-Tree" in line of battle, building bridges for
nearly every division as deployed. There was quite a gap between
Thomas and Schofield, which I endeavored to close by drawing two of
Howard's divisions nearer Schofield. On the 20th I was with
General Schofield near the centre, and soon after noon heard heavy
firing in front of Thomas's right, which lasted an hour or so, and
then ceased.

I soon learned that the enemy had made a furious sally, the blow
falling on Hooker's corps (the Twentieth), and partially on
Johnson's division of the Fourteenth, and Newton's of the Fourth.
The troops had crossed Peach-Tree Creek, were deployed, but at the
time were resting for noon, when, without notice, the enemy came
pouring out of their trenches down upon them, they became
commingled, and fought in many places hand to hand. General Thomas
happened to be near the rear of Newton's division, and got some
field-batteries in a good position, on the north side of Peach-Tree
Creek, from which he directed a furious fire on a mass of the
enemy, which was passing around Newton's left and exposed flank.
After a couple of hours of hard and close conflict, the enemy
retired slowly within his trenches, leaving his dead and many
wounded on the field. Johnson's and Newton's losses were light, for
they had partially covered their fronts with light parapet; but
Hooker's whole corps fought in open ground, and lost about fifteen
hundred men. He reported four hundred rebel dead left on the
ground, and that the rebel wounded would number four thousand; but
this was conjectural, for most of them got back within their own
lines. We had, however, met successfully a bold sally, had
repelled it handsomely, and were also put on our guard; and the
event illustrated the future tactics of our enemy. This sally came
from the Peach-Tree line, which General Johnston had carefully
prepared in advance, from which to fight us outside of Atlanta. We
then advanced our lines in compact order, close up to these
finished intrenchments, overlapping them on our left. From various
parts of our lines the houses inside of Atlanta were plainly
visible, though between us were the strong parapets, with ditch,
fraise, chevaux-de-frise, and abatis, prepared long in advance by
Colonel Jeremy F. Gilmer, formerly of the United States Engineers.
McPherson had the Fifteenth Corps astride the Augusta Railroad, and
the Seventeenth deployed on its left. Schofield was next on his
right, then came Howard's, Hooker's, and Palmer's corps, on the
extreme right. Each corps was deployed with strong reserves, and
their trains were parked to their rear. McPherson's trains were in
Decatur, guarded by a brigade commanded by Colonel Sprague of the
Sixty-third Ohio. The Sixteenth Corps (Dodge's) was crowded out of
position on the right of McPherson's line, by the contraction of
the circle of investment; and, during the previous afternoon, the
Seventeenth Corps (Blair's) had pushed its operations on the
farther side of the Augusta Railroad, so as to secure possession of
a hill, known as Leggett's Hill, which Leggett's and Force's
divisions had carried by assault. Giles A. Smith's division was on
Leggett's left, deployed with a weak left flank "in air," in
military phraseology. The evening before General Gresham, a great
favorite, was badly wounded; and there also Colonel Tom Reynolds,
now of Madison, Wisconsin, was shot through the leg. When the
surgeons were debating the propriety of amputating it in his
hearing, he begged them to spare the leg, as it was very valuable,
being an "imported leg." He was of Irish birth, and this
well-timed piece of wit saved his leg, for the surgeons thought, if
he could perpetrate a joke at such a time, they would trust to his
vitality to save his limb.

During the night, I had full reports from all parts of our line,
most of which was partially intrenched as against a sally, and
finding that McPherson was stretching out too much on his left
flank, I wrote him a note early in the morning not to extend so
much by his left; for we had not troops enough to completely invest
the place, and I intended to destroy utterly all parts of the
Augusta Railroad to the east of Atlanta, then to withdraw from the
left flank and add to the right. In that letter I ordered
McPherson not to extend any farther to the left, but to employ
General Dodge's corps (Sixteenth), then forced out of position, to
destroy every rail and tie of the railroad, from Decatur up to his
skirmish-line, and I wanted him (McPherson) to be ready, as soon as
General Garrard returned from Covington (whither I had sent him),
to move to the extreme right of Thomas, so as to reach if possible
the railroad below Atlanta, viz., the Macon road. In the morning
we found the strong line of parapet, "Peach-Tree line," to the
front of Schofield and Thomas, abandoned, and our lines were
advanced rapidly close up to Atlanta. For some moments I supposed
the enemy intended to evacuate, and in person was on horseback at
the head of Schofield's troops, who had advanced in front of the
Howard House to some open ground, from which we could plainly see
the whole rebel line of parapets, and I saw their men dragging up
from the intervening valley, by the distillery, trees and saplings
for abatis. Our skirmishers found the enemy down in this valley,
and we could see the rebel main line strongly manned, with guns in
position at intervals. Schofield was dressing forward his lines,
and I could hear Thomas farther to the right engaged, when General
McPherson and his staff rode up. We went back to the Howard House,
a double frame-building with a porch, and sat on the steps,
discussing the chances of battle, and of Hood's general character.
McPherson had also been of the same class at West Point with Hood,
Schofield, and Sheridan. We agreed that we ought to be unusually
cautious and prepared at all times for sallies and for hard
fighting, because Hood, though not deemed much of a scholar, or of
great mental capacity, was undoubtedly a brave, determined, and
rash man; and the change of commanders at that particular crisis
argued the displeasure of the Confederate Government with the
cautious but prudent conduct of General Jos. Johnston.

McPherson was in excellent spirits, well pleased at the progress of
events so far, and had come over purposely to see me about the
order I had given him to use Dodge's corps to break up the
railroad, saying that the night before he had gained a position on
Leggett's Hill from which he could look over the rebel parapet, and
see the high smoke-stack of a large foundery in Atlanta; that
before receiving my order he had diverted Dodge's two divisions
(then in motion) from the main road, along a diagonal one that led
to his extreme left flank, then held by Giles A. Smith's division
(Seventeenth Corps), for the purpose of strengthening that flank;
and that he had sent some intrenching-tools there, to erect some
batteries from which he intended to knock down that foundery, and
otherwise to damage the buildings inside of Atlanta. He said he
could put all his pioneers to work, and do with them in the time
indicated all I had proposed to do with General Dodge's two
divisions. Of course I assented at once, and we walked down the
road a short distance, sat down by the foot of a tree where I had
my map, and on it pointed out to him Thomas's position and his own.
I then explained minutely that, after we had sufficiently broken up
the Augusta road, I wanted to shift his whole army around by the
rear to Thomas's extreme right, and hoped thus to reach the other
railroad at East Point. While we sat there we could hear lively
skirmishing going on near us (down about the distillery), and
occasionally round-shot from twelve or twenty-four pound guns came
through the trees in reply to those of Schofield, and we could hear
similar sounds all along down the lines of Thomas to our right, and
his own to the left; but presently the firing appeared a little
more brisk (especially over about Giles G. Smith's division), and
then we heard an occasional gun back toward Decatur. I asked him
what it meant. We took my pocket-compass (which I always carried),
and by noting the direction of the sound, we became satisfied that
the firing was too far to our left rear to be explained by known
facts, and he hastily called for his horse, his staff, and his

McPherson was then in his prime (about thirty-four years old), over
six feet high, and a very handsome man in every way, was
universally liked, and had many noble qualities. He had on his
boots outside his pantaloons, gauntlets on his hands, had on his
major-general's uniform, and wore a sword-belt, but no sword. He
hastily gathered his papers (save one, which I now possess) into a
pocket-book, put it in his breast-pocket, and jumped on his horse,
saying he would hurry down his line and send me back word what
these sounds meant. His adjutant-general, Clark, Inspector-General
Strong, and his aides, Captains Steele and Gile, were with him.
Although the sound of musketry on our left grew in volume, I was
not so much disturbed by it as by the sound of artillery back
toward Decatur. I ordered Schofield at once to send a brigade back
to Decatur (some five miles) and was walking up and down the porch
of the Howard House, listening, when one of McPherson's staff, with
his horse covered with sweat, dashed up to the porch, and reported
that General McPherson was either "killed or a prisoner." He
explained that when they had left me a few minutes before, they had
ridden rapidly across to the railroad, the sounds of battle
increasing as they neared the position occupied by General Giles A.
Smith's division, and that McPherson had sent first one, then
another of his staff to bring some of the reserve brigades of the
Fifteenth Corps over to the exposed left flank; that he had reached
the head of Dodge's corps (marching by the flank on the diagonal
road as described), and had ordered it to hurry forward to the same
point; that then, almost if not entirely alone, he had followed
this road leading across the wooded valley behind the Seventeenth
Corps, and had disappeared in these woods, doubtless with a sense
of absolute security. The sound of musketry was there heard, and
McPherson's horse came back, bleeding, wounded, and riderless. I
ordered the staff-officer who brought this message to return at
once, to find General Logan (the senior officer present with the
Army of the Tennessee), to report the same facts to him, and to
instruct him to drive back this supposed small force, which had
evidently got around the Seventeenth Corps through the blind woods
in rear of our left flank. I soon dispatched one of my own staff
(McCoy, I think) to General Logan with similar orders, telling him
to refuse his left flank, and to fight the battle (holding fast to
Leggett's Hill) with the Army of the Tennessee; that I would
personally look to Decatur and to the safety of his rear, and would
reenforce him if he needed it. I dispatched orders to General
Thomas on our right, telling him of this strong sally, and my
inference that the lines in his front had evidently been weakened
by reason thereof, and that he ought to take advantage of the
opportunity to make a lodgment in Atlanta, if possible.

Meantime the sounds of the battle rose on our extreme left more and
more furious, extending to the place where I stood, at the Howard
House. Within an hour an ambulance came in (attended by Colonels
Clark and Strong, and Captains Steele and Gile), bearing
McPherson's body. I had it carried inside of the Howard House, and
laid on a door wrenched from its hinges. Dr. Hewitt, of the army,
was there, and I asked him to examine the wound. He opened the
coat and shirt, saw where the ball had entered and where it came
out, or rather lodged under the skin, and he reported that
McPherson must have died in a few seconds after being hit; that the
ball had ranged upward across his body, and passed near the heart.
He was dressed just as he left me, with gauntlets and boots on, but
his pocket-book was gone. On further inquiry I learned that his
body must have been in possession of the enemy some minutes, during
which time it was rifled of the pocket-book, and I was much
concerned lest the letter I had written him that morning should
have fallen into the hands of some one who could read and
understand its meaning. Fortunately the spot in the woods where
McPherson was shot was regained by our troops in a few minutes, and
the pocket-book found in the haversack of a prisoner of war
captured at the time, and it and its contents were secured by one
of McPherson's staff.

While we were examining the body inside the house, the battle was
progressing outside, and many shots struck the building, which I
feared would take fire; so I ordered Captains Steele and Gile to
carry the body to Marietta. They reached that place the same
night, and, on application, I ordered his personal staff to go on
and escort the body to his home, in Clyde, Ohio, where it was
received with great honor, and it is now buried in a small
cemetery, close by his mother's house, which cemetery is composed
in part of the family orchard, in which he used to play when a boy.
The foundation is ready laid for the equestrian monument now in
progress, under the auspices of the Society of the Army of the

The reports that came to me from all parts of the field revealed
clearly what was the game of my antagonist, and the ground somewhat
favored him. The railroad and wagon-road from Decatur to Atlanta
lie along the summit, from which the waters flow, by short, steep
valleys, into the "Peach-Tree" and Chattahoochee, to the west, and
by other valleys, of gentler declivity, toward the east (Ocmulgee).
The ridges and level ground were mostly cleared, and had been
cultivated as corn or cotton fields; but where the valleys were
broken, they were left in a state of nature--wooded, and full of
undergrowth. McPherson's line of battle was across this railroad,
along a general ridge, with a gentle but cleared valley to his
front, between him and the defenses of Atlanta; and another valley,
behind him, was clear of timber in part, but to his left rear the
country was heavily wooded. Hood, during the night of July 21st,
had withdrawn from his Peach-Tree line, had occupied the fortified
line of Atlanta, facing north and east, with Stewart's--formerly
Polk's--corps and part of Hardee's, and with G. W. Smith's division
of militia. His own corps, and part of Hardee's, had marched out
to the road leading from McDonough to Decatur, and had turned so as
to strike the left and, rear of McPherson's line "in air." At the
same time he had sent Wheeler's division of cavalry against the
trains parked in Decatur. Unluckily for us, I had sent away the
whole of Garrard's division of cavalry during the night of the
20th, with orders to proceed to Covington, thirty miles east, to
burn two important bridges across the Ulcofauhatchee and Yellow
Rivers, to tear up the railroad, to damage it as much as possible
from Stone Mountain eastward, and to be gone four days; so that
McPherson had no cavalry in hand to guard that flank.

The enemy was therefore enabled, under cover or the forest, to
approach quite near before he was discovered; indeed, his skirmish-
line had worked through the timber and got into the field to the
rear of Giles A. Smith's division of the Seventeenth Corps unseen,
had captured Murray's battery of regular artillery, moving through
these woods entirely unguarded, and had got possession of several
of the hospital camps. The right of this rebel line struck Dodge's
troops in motion; but, fortunately, this corps (Sixteenth) had only
to halt, face to the left, and was in line of battle; and this
corps not only held in check the enemy, but drove him back through
the woods. About the same time this same force had struck General
Giles A. Smith's left flank, doubled it back, captured four guns in
position and the party engaged in building the very battery which
was the special object of McPherson's visit to me, and almost
enveloped the entire left flank. The men, however, were skillful
and brave, and fought for a time with their backs to Atlanta. They
gradually fell back, compressing their own line, and gaining
strength by making junction with Leggett's division of the Seventeenth
Corps, well and strongly posted on the hill. One or two
brigades of the Fifteenth Corps, ordered by McPherson, came rapidly
across the open field to the rear, from the direction of the
railroad, filled up the gap from Blair's new left to the head of
Dodge's column--now facing to the general left--thus forming a
strong left flank, at right angles to the original line of battle.
The enemy attacked, boldly and repeatedly, the whole of this flank,
but met an equally fierce resistance; and on that ground a bloody
battle raged from little after noon till into the night. A part of
Hood's plan of action was to sally from Atlanta at the same moment;
but this sally was not, for some reason, simultaneous, for the
first attack on our extreme left flank had been checked and
repulsed before the sally came from the direction of Atlanta.
Meantime, Colonel Sprague, in Decatur, had got his teams harnessed
up, and safely conducted his train to the rear of Schofield's
position, holding in check Wheeler's cavalry till he had got off
all his trains, with the exception of three or four wagons. I
remained near the Howard House, receiving reports and sending
orders, urging Generals Thomas and Schofield to take advantage of
the absence from their front of so considerable a body as was
evidently engaged on our left, and, if possible, to make a lodgment
in Atlanta itself; but they reported that the lines to their front,
at all accessible points, were strong, by nature and by art, and
were fully manned. About 4 p.m. the expected, sally came from
Atlanta, directed mainly against Leggett's Hill and along the
Decatur road. At Leggett's Hill they were met and bloodily
repulsed. Along the railroad they were more successful. Sweeping
over a small force with two guns, they reached our main line, broke
through it, and got possession of De Gress's battery of four
twenty-pound Parrotts, killing every horse, and turning the guns
against us. General Charles R. Wood's division of the Fifteenth
Corps was on the extreme right of the Army of the Tennessee,
between the railroad and the Howard House, where he connected with
Schofield's troops. He reported to me in person that the line on
his left had been swept back, and that his connection with General
Logan, on Leggett's Hill, was broken. I ordered him to wheel his
brigades to the left, to advance in echelon, and to catch the enemy
in flank. General Schofield brought forward all his available
batteries, to the number of twenty guns, to a position to the left
front of the Howard House, whence we could overlook the field of
action, and directed a heavy fire over the heads of General Wood's
men against the enemy; and we saw Wood's troops advance and
encounter the enemy, who had secured possession of the old line of
parapet which had been held by our men. His right crossed this
parapet, which he swept back, taking it in flank; and, at the same
time, the division which had been driven back along the railroad
was rallied by General Logan in person, and fought for their former
ground. These combined forces drove the enemy into Atlanta,
recovering the twenty pound Parrott guns but one of them was found
"bursted" while in the possession of the enemy. The two
six-pounders farther in advance were, however, lost, and had been
hauled back by the enemy into Atlanta. Poor Captain de Gress came
to me in tears, lamenting the loss of his favorite guns; when they
were regained he had only a few men left, and not a single horse.
He asked an order for a reequipment, but I told him he must beg and
borrow of others till he could restore his battery, now reduced to
three guns. How he did so I do not know, but in a short time he
did get horses, men, and finally another gun, of the same special
pattern, and served them with splendid effect till the very close
of the war. This battery had also been with me from Shiloh till
that time.

The battle of July 22d is usually called the battle of Atlanta. It
extended from the Howard House to General Giles A. Smith's
position, about a mile beyond the Augusta Railroad, and then back
toward Decatur, the whole extent of ground being fully seven miles.
In part the ground was clear and in part densely wooded. I rode
over the whole of it the next day, and it bore the marks of a
bloody conflict. The enemy had retired during the night inside of
Atlanta, and we remained masters of the situation outside. I
purposely allowed the Army of the Tennessee to fight this battle
almost unaided, save by demonstrations on the part of General
Schofield and Thomas against the fortified lines to their immediate
fronts, and by detaching, as described, one of Schofield's brigades
to Decatur, because I knew that the attacking force could only be a
part of Hood's army, and that, if any assistance were rendered by
either of the other armies, the Army of the Tennessee would be
jealous. Nobly did they do their work that day, and terrible was
the slaughter done to our enemy, though at sad cost to ourselves,
as shown by the following reports:


General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.

Yesterday morning the enemy fell back to the intrenchments proper
of the city of Atlanta, which are in a general circle, with a
radius of one and a half miles, and we closed in. While we were
forming our lines, and selecting positions for our batteries, the
enemy appeared suddenly out of the dense woods in heavy masses on
our extreme left, and struck the Seventeenth Corps (General Blair)
in flank, and was forcing it back, when the Sixteenth Corps
(General Dodge) came up and checked the movement, but the enemy's
cavalry got well to our rear, and into Decatur, and for some hours
our left flank was completely enveloped. The fight that resulted
was continuous until night, with heavy loss on both sides. The
enemy took one of our batteries (Murray's, of the Regular Army)
that was marching in its place in column in the road, unconscious
of danger. About 4 p.m. the enemy sallied against the division of
General Morgan L. Smith, of the Fifteenth Corps, which occupied an
abandoned line of rifle-trench near the railroad east of the city,
and forced it back some four hundred yards, leaving in his hands
for the time two batteries, but the ground and batteries were
immediately after recovered by the same troops reenforced. I
cannot well approximate our loss, which fell heavily on the
Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps, but count it as three thousand; I
know that, being on the defensive, we have inflicted equally heavy
loss on the enemy.

General McPherson, when arranging his troops about 11.00 A.M., and
passing from one column to another, incautiously rode upon an
ambuscade without apprehension, at some distance ahead of his staff
and orderlies, and was shot dead.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.


Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: I find it difficult to make prompt report of results,
coupled with some data or information, without occasionally making
mistakes. McPherson's sudden death, and Logan succeeding to the
command as it were in the midst of battle, made some confusion on
our extreme left; but it soon recovered and made sad havoc with the
enemy, who had practised one of his favorite games of attacking our
left when in motion, and before it had time to cover its weak
flank. After riding over the ground and hearing the varying
statements of the actors, I directed General Logan to make an
official report of the actual result, and I herewith inclose it.

Though the number of dead rebels seems excessive, I am disposed to
give full credit to the report that our loss, though only thirty-
five hundred and twenty-one killed, wounded, and missing, the
enemy's dead alone on the field nearly equaled that number, viz.,
thirty-two hundred and twenty. Happening at that point of the line
when a flag of truce was sent in to ask permission for each party
to bury its dead, I gave General Logan authority to permit a
temporary truce on that flank alone, while our labors and fighting
proceeded at all others.

I also send you a copy of General Garrard's report of the breaking
of the railroad toward Augusta. I am now grouping my command to
attack the Macon road, and with that view will intrench a strong
line of circumvallation with flanks, so as to have as large an
infantry column as possible, with all the cavalry to swing round to
the south and east, to strike that road at or below East Point.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.


Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Military Division of the

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the following general summary
of the result of the attack of the enemy on this army on the 22d

Total loss, killed, wounded, and missing, thirty-five hundred and
twenty-one, and ten pieces of artillery.

We have buried and delivered to the enemy, under a flag of truce
sent in by them, in front of the Third Division, Seventeenth Corps,
one thousand of their killed.

The number of their dead in front of the Fourth Division of the
same corps, including those on the ground not now occupied by our
troops, General Blair reports, will swell the number of their dead
on his front to two thousand.

The number of their dead buried in front of the Fifteenth Corps, up
to this hour, is three hundred and sixty, and the commanding
officer reports that at least as many more are yet unburied;
burying-parties being still at work.

The number of dead buried in front of the Sixteenth Corps is four
hundred and twenty-two. We have over one thousand of their wounded
in our hands, the larger number of the wounded being carried off
during the night, after the engagement, by them.

We captured eighteen stands of colors, and have them now. We also
captured five thousand stands of arms.

The attack was made on our lines seven times, and was seven times
repulsed. Hood's and Hardee's corps and Wheeler's cavalry engaged

We have sent to the rear one thousand prisoners, including
thirty-three commissioned officers of high rank.

We still occupy the field, and the troops are in fine spirits. A
detailed and full report will be furnished as soon as completed.


Our total loss............................ 3,521
Enemy's dead, thus far reported, buried,
and delivered to them..................... 3,220
Total prisoners sent North................ 1,017
Total prisoners, wounded, in our hands.... 1,000
Estimated loss of the enemy, at least.... 10,000

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Joan A. Logan, Major-General.

On the 22d of July General Rousseau reached Marietta, having
returned from his raid on the Alabama road at Opelika, and on the
next day General Garrard also returned from Covington, both having
been measurably successful. The former was about twenty-five
hundred strong, the latter about four thousand, and both reported
that their horses were jaded and tired, needing shoes and rest.
But, about this time, I was advised by General Grant (then
investing Richmond) that the rebel Government had become aroused to
the critical condition of things about Atlanta, and that I must
look out for Hood being greatly reenforced. I therefore was
resolved to push matters, and at once set about the original
purpose of transferring the whole of the Army of the Tennessee to
our right flank, leaving Schofield to stretch out so as to rest his
left on the Augusta road, then torn up for thirty miles eastward;
and, as auxiliary thereto, I ordered all the cavalry to be ready to
pass around Atlanta on both flanks, to break up the Macon road at
some point below, so as to cut off all supplies to the rebel army
inside, and thus to force it to evacuate, or come out and fight us
on equal terms.

But it first became necessary to settle the important question of
who should succeed General McPherson? General Logan had taken
command of the Army of the Tennessee by virtue of his seniority,
and had done well; but I did not consider him equal to the command
of three corps. Between him and General Blair there existed a
natural rivalry. Both were men of great courage and talent, but
were politicians by nature and experience, and it may be that for
this reason they were mistrusted by regular officers like Generals
Schofield, Thomas, and myself. It was all-important that there
should exist a perfect understanding among the army commanders, and
at a conference with General George H. Thomas at the headquarters
of General Thomas J. Woods, commanding a division in the Fourth
Corps, he (Thomas) remonstrated warmly against my recommending that
General Logan should be regularly assigned to the command of the
Army of the Tennessee by reason of his accidental seniority. We
discussed fully the merits and qualities of every officer of high
rank in the army, and finally settled on Major-General O. O. Howard
as the best officer who was present and available for the purpose;
on the 24th of July I telegraphed to General Halleck this
preference, and it was promptly ratified by the President. General
Howard's place in command of the Fourth Corps was filled by General
Stanley, one of his division commanders, on the recommendation of
General Thomas. All these promotions happened to fall upon
West-Pointers, and doubtless Logan and Blair had some reason to
believe that we intended to monopolize the higher honors of the war
for the regular officers. I remember well my own thoughts and
feelings at the time, and feel sure that I was not intentionally
partial to any class, I wanted to succeed in taking Atlanta, and
needed commanders who were purely and technically soldiers, men who
would obey orders and execute them promptly and on time; for I knew
that we would have to execute some most delicate manoeuvres,
requiring the utmost skill, nicety, and precision. I believed that
General Howard would do all these faithfully and well, and I think
the result has justified my choice. I regarded both Generals Logan
and Blair as "volunteers," that looked to personal fame and glory
as auxiliary and secondary to their political ambition, and not as
professional soldiers.

As soon as it was known that General Howard had been chosen to
command the Army of the Tennessee; General Hooker applied to
General Thomas to be relieved of the command of the Twentieth
Corps, and General Thomas forwarded his application to me approved
and heartily recommended. I at once telegraphed to General
Halleck, recommending General Slocum (then at Vicksburg) to be his
successor, because Slocum had been displaced from the command of
his corps at the time when the Eleventh and Twelfth were united and
made the Twentieth.

General Hooker was offended because he was not chosen to succeed
McPherson; but his chances were not even considered; indeed, I had
never been satisfied with him since his affair at the Gulp House,
and had been more than once disposed to relieve him of his corps,
because of his repeated attempts to interfere with Generals
McPherson and Schofield. I had known Hooker since 1836, and was
intimately associated with him in California, where we served
together on the staff of General Persifer F. Smith. He had come to
us from the East with a high reputation as a "fighter," which he
had fully justified at Chattanooga and Peach-Tree Creek; at which
latter battle I complimented him on the field for special
gallantry, and afterward in official reports. Still, I did feel a
sense of relief when he left us. We were then two hundred and
fifty miles in advance of our base, dependent on a single line of
railroad for our daily food. We had a bold, determined foe in our
immediate front, strongly intrenched, with communication open to
his rear for supplies and reenforcements, and every soldier
realized that we had plenty of hard fighting ahead, and that all
honors had to be fairly earned.

Until General Slocum joined (in the latter part of August), the
Twentieth Corps was commanded by General A. S. Williams, the senior
division commander present. On the 25th of July the army,
therefore, stood thus: the Army of the Tennessee (General O. O.
Howard commanding) was on the left, pretty much on the same ground
it had occupied during the battle of the 22d, all ready to move
rapidly by the rear to the extreme right beyond Proctor's Creek;
the Army of the Ohio (General Schofield) was next in order, with
its left flank reaching the Augusta Railroad; next in order,
conforming closely with the rebel intrenchmenta of Atlanta, was
General Thomas's Army of the Cumberland, in the order of--the
Fourth Corps (Stanley's), the Twentieth Corps (Williams's), and the
Fourteenth Corps (Palmer's). Palmer's right division (Jefferson C.
Davis's) was strongly refused along Proctor's Creek. This line was
about five miles long, and was intrenched as against a sally about
as strong as was our enemy. The cavalry was assembled in two
strong divisions; that of McCook (including the brigade of Harrison
which had been brought in from Opelika by General Rousseau)
numbered about thirty-five hundred effective cavalry, and was
posted to our right rear, at Turner's Ferry, where we had a good
pontoon-bridge; and to our left rear, at and about Decatur, were
the two cavalry divisions of Stoneman, twenty-five hundred, and
Garrard, four thousand, united for the time and occasion under the
command of Major-General George Stoneman, a cavalry-officer of high
repute. My plan of action was to move the Army of the Tennessee to
the right rapidly and boldly against the railroad below Atlanta,
and at the same time to send all the cavalry around by the right
and left to make a lodgment on the Macon road about Jonesboro.

All the orders were given, and the morning of the 27th was fixed
for commencing the movement. On the 26th I received from General
Stoneman a note asking permission (after having accomplished his
orders to break up the railroad at Jonesboro) to go on to Macon to
rescue our prisoners of war known to be held there, and then to
push on to Andersonville, where was the great depot of Union
prisoners, in which were penned at one time as many as twenty-three
thousand of our men, badly fed and harshly treated. I wrote him an
answer consenting substantially to his proposition, only modifying
it by requiring him to send back General Garrard's division to its
position on our left flank after he had broken up the railroad at
Jonesboro. Promptly, and on time, all got off, and General Dodge's
corps (the Sixteenth, of the Army of the Tennessee) reached its
position across Proctor's Creek the same evening, and early the
next morning (the 28th) Blair's corps (the Seventeenth) deployed on
his right, both corps covering their front with the usual parapet;
the Fifteenth Corps (General Logan's) came up that morning on the
right of Blair, strongly refused, and began to prepare the usual
cover. As General Jeff. C. Davis's division was, as it were, left
out of line, I ordered it on the evening before to march down
toward Turner's Ferry, and then to take a road laid down on our
maps which led from there toward East Point, ready to engage any
enemy that might attack our general right flank, after the same
manner as had been done to the left flank on the 22d.

Personally on the morning of the 28th I followed the movement, and
rode to the extreme right, where we could hear some skirmishing and
an occasional cannon-shot. As we approached the ground held by the
Fifteenth Corps, a cannon-ball passed over my shoulder and killed
the horse of an orderly behind; and seeing that this gun enfiladed
the road by which we were riding, we turned out of it and rode down
into a valley, where we left our horses and walked up to the hill
held by Morgan L. Smith's division of the Fifteenth Corps. Near a
house I met Generals Howard and Logan, who explained that there was
an intrenched battery to their front, with the appearance of a
strong infantry support. I then walked up to the ridge, where I
found General Morgan L. Smith. His men were deployed and engaged
in rolling logs and fence-rails, preparing a hasty cover. From
this ridge we could overlook the open fields near a meeting-house
known as "Ezra Church," close by the Poor-House. We could see the
fresh earth of a parapet covering some guns (that fired an
occasional shot), and there was also an appearance of activity
beyond. General Smith was in the act of sending forward a regiment
from, his right flank to feel the position of the enemy, when I
explained to him and to Generals Logan and Howard that they must
look out for General Jeff. C. Davis's division, which was comming
up from the direction of Turner's Ferry.

As the skirmish-fire warmed up along the front of Blair's corps, as
well as along the Fifteenth Corps (Logan's), I became convinced
that Hood designed to attack this right flank, to prevent, if
possible, the extension of our line in that direction. I regained
my horse, and rode rapidly back to see that Davis's division had
been dispatched as ordered. I found General Davis in person, who
was unwell, and had sent his division that morning early, under the
command of his senior brigadier, Morgan; but, as I attached great
importance to the movement, he mounted his horse, and rode away to
overtake and to hurry forward the movement, so as to come up on the
left rear of the enemy, during the expected battle.

By this time the sound of cannon and musketry denoted a severe
battle as in progress, which began seriously at 11.30 a.m., and
ended substantially by 4 p.m. It was a fierce attack by the enemy
on our extreme right flank, well posted and partially covered. The
most authentic account of the battle is given by General Logan, who
commanded the Fifteenth Corps, in his official report to the
Adjutant-General of the Army of the Tennessee, thus:


Lieutenant-Colonel WILLIAM T. CLARK, Assistant Adjutant-General,
Army of the Tennessee, present.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of orders, I
moved my command into position on the right of the Seventeenth
Corps, which was the extreme right of the army in the field, during
the night of the 27th and morning of the 28th; and, while advancing

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