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Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V2 by Jacob Dolson Cox

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southeast of Kingston, known as Gillem's Bridge, and to Schofield
two pontoon bridges to be laid at the site of Milam's Bridge, which
had been burned. There were fords near all these crossings which
were also to be utilized as far as practicable. [Footnote: Sherman's
general plan was given to his subordinates in person, but he
repeated it to Halleck, Official Records vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p.
274. Thomas's order is given, _Id._, p. 289, and accompanying
sketch, p. 290. Gillem's Bridge in the Atlas is called Free Bridge,
plate lviii. Schofield's place for pontoon bridges is fixed by his
dispatch to Sherman, _Id._, p. 284, my own dispatch, _Id._, p. 298,
and my official report, _Id._, pt. ii. p. 680. The line of march and
place of crossing as given in the Atlas are incorrect.] We marched
from Cartersville on the Euharlee road by the way of the hamlet of
Etowah Cliffs, till we reached the direct road from Cassville to
Milam's Bridge, when we found the way blocked by Hooker's corps,
which had possession of the pontoons which Schofield's engineer had
placed. Hooker, however, was not responsible for this, as he had
been ordered to change his line of march by a dispatch from Thomas's
headquarters written without stopping to inquire how such a change
might conflict with Schofield's right of way and with Sherman's
plans. Halted thus about noon, we were not able to resume the march
till next day, as Hooker had ordered his supply trains to follow his
column. [Footnote: _Id._, pt. iv. pp. 283, 291. Schofield to Sherman
and reply, _Id._, pp. 296, 297. When I wrote "Atlanta," I supposed
Hooker acted without orders.] The incident only emphasizes the way
in which we learned by experience the importance of strict system in
such movements, and the mischiefs almost sure to follow when there
is any departure from a plan of march once arranged. There was, of
course, no intention to make an interference, and the difficulty
rarely, if ever, occurred in the subsequent parts of the campaign.

In preparation for the movement to turn Johnston's new position at
Allatoona we were ordered to provide for twenty days' absence from
direct railway communication. Within that time Sherman expected to
regain the railway again and establish supply depots near the camps.
Meanwhile Kingston was made the base, and was garrisoned with a
brigade. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 272,
274, 278.] The returning veterans were coming back by regiments and
were fully supplying the losses of the campaign with men of the very
best quality and full of enthusiasm. Nine regiments joined the
Twenty-third Corps or were _en route_ during the brief halt at the
Etowah. [Footnote: _Id._, p. 291.] The ration was the full supply of
fresh beef from the herds driven with the army, varied by bacon two
days in the week, a pound of bread, flour, or corn-meal per man each
day, and the small rations of coffee, sugar and salt. [Footnote:
_Id._, p. 272.] Vegetables and forage were to some extent gathered
from the country. The coffee was always issued roasted, but in the
whole berry, and was uniformly first-rate in quality. The soldiers
carried at the belt a tin quart-pail, in which the coffee was
crushed as well as boiled. The pail was set upon a flat stone like a
cobbler's lapstone, and the coffee berries were broken by using the
butt of the bayonet as a pestle. At break of day every camp was
musical with the clangor of these primitive coffee-mills. The coffee
was fed to the mill a few berries at a time, and the veterans had
the skill of gourmands in getting just the degree of fineness in
crushing which would give the best strength and flavor. The cheering
beverage was the comfort and luxury of camp life, and we habitually
spoke of halting to make coffee, as in the French army they speak of
their _soupe_.



Sherman's plan for June--Movements of 24th May--Johnston's position
at Dallas and New Hope Church--We concentrate to attack--Pickett's
Mill--Dallas--Flanking movements--Method developed by the character
of the country--Closer personal relations to Sherman--Turning
Johnston's right--Cross-roads at Burnt Church--A tangled
forest--Fighting in a thunderstorm--Sudden freshet--Bivouac in a
thicket--Johnston retires to a new line--Formidable character of the
old one--Sherman extends to the railroad on our left--Blair's corps
joins the army--General Hovey's retirement--The principles
involved--Politics and promotions.

Sherman's general plan of campaign for the month of June was to move
his army in several columns upon Dallas, and then along the ridge
between the Etowah and Chattahooche rivers on Marietta. As Johnston
was at Allatoona and his cavalry was active all along the south bank
of the Etowah, our left flank was not only covered by Stoneman's
cavalry, but Schofield was purposely held back a day's march so as
to cover the rear as well as the flank, which was exposed to a
possible attack from Johnston as we marched south and opened a space
between us and the river, uncovering the supply trains which filled
the roads over which the troops had passed.

After crossing the river at Milam's bridge on May 24th, we turned
eastward through Stilesborough, to and across Richland Creek,
reaching the road on the upland which runs from Cassville to
Marietta by way of Rowland's Ferry. Stoneman, who had crossed the
Etowah with his division of horse at Shellman's Ford on the 22d, and
covered the laying of the pontoon bridges at Milam's, went back to
look after a raid by the Confederate cavalry at Cass Station, and
was not able to return to his position south of the river until the
evening of the 24th, when he scouted the road toward Allatoona.
Having the advance, my division marched southward on the Marietta
road to Sligh's Mill, where the road forks, the right-hand branch
turning southwest, along the ridge, to Huntsville, better known in
the neighborhood as Burnt Hickory. This place was about half-way on
the direct road from Kingston to Dallas, and was the rendezvous for
the Cumberland Army for the night. We camped at Sligh's Mill, being
joined by Hascall's division of our corps. Hovey's division and the
corps trains took the road from Stilesborough up Raccoon Creek, some
miles west of us and covered by our march. The Army of the Tennessee
reached VanWert, some miles west of Burnt Hickory, on the Rome and
Dallas road.

We lay at Sligh's Mill during the 25th, till five P.M., [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 311.] giving time for
McPherson to approach Dallas, and for Thomas to continue his
movement of the centre upon the same place. We were then to march to
Burnt Hickory and follow Thomas to Dallas. But the enemy was also
active and modified our program. His cavalry had reported our
concentration in front of Kingston, and the laying of our pontoons
at Milam's bridge on the 23d. [Footnote: _Id._, p. 737.] They had
also made a reconnoissance to Cass Station, and found nothing there
but the wagons of the Twenty-third Corps, of which a number were
captured and destroyed. Satisfied that Sherman was marching
southward in force, Johnston immediately put his army in motion.
Hardee's Corps, being his left, marched to Dallas and took position
south of the town, covering the main road to Atlanta and extending
its line northeast toward New Hope Church. Hood was assigned to the
right at the church, and Polk had the interval in the centre, upon
the main road they had travelled from Allatoona. The line was along
the ridge dividing the headwaters of Pumpkin Vine Creek, which flows
northward into the Etowah, from the sources of the Sweetwater and
Powder-spring creeks which empty into the Chattahoochee at the

The movement was begun on the 24th, and in the forenoon of the 25th
the Confederate troops were taking the positions assigned them,
covered by their cavalry. A captured dispatch gave Sherman useful
information, and he directed that instead of marching straight to
Dallas, Hooker should test the appearance of hostile force toward
New Hope Church, turning off on the Marietta road at Owen's Mill.
This brought on the fierce combat at New Hope Church, where Hood's
Corps held its line against Hooker's very vigorous attack. The
fighting began about four o'clock in the afternoon and lasted till
darkness put an end to it. All the other troops of the grand army
were hurried forward. McPherson continued his march to Dallas,
Thomas hastened the Fourth Corps to Hooker's support, holding part
of the Fourteenth as a general reserve, and Schofield was directed
to hasten the march of the Twenty-third Corps by way of Burnt

My division marched from Sligh's Mill at five o'clock, and on
reaching Burnt Hickory took the road Hooker had travelled to Owen's
Mill, accompanied by Hascall's division, Hovey's being left near
Burnt Hickory to protect the trains. A thunderstorm with pouring
rain came on soon after we started and lasted through the night. On
reaching the road behind Hooker, we found it filled with his wagons,
and the storm, the darkness, and the obstructed road produced a
combination of miseries which made the march slow and fatiguing to
the last degree. We plodded on till midnight, but had not yet
reached Pumpkin Vine Creek, when we halted for a little rest, and to
get further orders from Schofield, who had before nightfall gone on
to communicate with Sherman. Word came that he was disabled by an
accident when on his way back to us, and I was directed to lead the
two divisions forward and report to Sherman. After a halt of an hour
the men fell into ranks again, and pressing the toilsome march,
reached the field at daybreak. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 303, 311, 320. The official Atlas is again
inaccurate in making our line of advance from Sligh's Mill follow
the Marietta road instead of that to Burnt Hickory (Huntsville).]

By Sherman's orders we joined the Fourth Corps (Howard's), extending
its line to the left, and the whole swung forward through a terribly
tangled forest till we passed Brown's saw-mill and reached the open
valley which was the continuation of that in front of Hooker, and
took our extreme left over the Dallas and Allatoona road. We had met
with a strong skirmishing resistance, for Johnston was manifestly
unwilling to give up the control of the road we had crossed. Having
thus partly turned the Confederate position on our left, Sherman
hoped that McPherson might complete their dislodgment by a similar
flanking movement through Dallas on our right. [Footnote: _Id._, pp.
321, 322.] The distances, however, were greater than we estimated,
and though McPherson kept with him Davis's division of Palmer's
Corps (greatly to Palmer's disgust), [Footnote: _Id._, pp. 316,
324.] he was still unable to connect his line with Hooker's, and
occupied an isolated, salient position in front of Dallas which
would be perilous if Johnston were able to concentrate upon him.

The enemy's line was along one of the smaller branches of Pumpkin
Vine Creek, and Sherman ordered for the 27th that McPherson should
press toward the left down the little valley, whilst Howard, with
one division of his own corps withdrawn from the line and one
division of Palmer's which had been in reserve, should push out
beyond our left and turn the enemy's right near Pickett's Mill. A
brigade of the Twenty-third Corps moved in the interval to cover
Howard's flank and keep connection with the intrenched line. The
almost impenetrable character of the forest made the movement slow,
and it was late in the afternoon when Howard reached the enemy's
position. He found they too had been busy in extending their lines,
though pretty sharply recurved, to the eastward. The fierce combat
did not succeed in carrying the Confederate position, but it gained
good ground near the mill, better covering all the roads toward the
railway. The left wing of the Twenty-third Corps swung forward to
Howard's position, and all intrenched strongly upon it.

On May 28th McPherson was ordered to prepare for moving to the
extreme left, continuing the extension of our line toward the
railroad. Suspecting this, the Confederates made a fierce attack
upon the position in front of Dallas, but were repulsed with heavy
loss. At McPherson's request his movement was delayed a little, lest
it should seem to be forced by Johnston's attack. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 339, 340.]

Sherman had been very unwilling to give up the hope of putting
Johnston's army to rout in a decisive engagement, and to accept,
instead, the patient flanking movements by which he should force
upon his adversary the dilemma of abandoning more and more of
Georgia, or of himself making attacks upon intrenched lines. In
writing to Halleck after the battle of Resaca, he had said that
although the campaign was progressing favorably, he knew that his
army "must have one or more bloody battles such as have
characterized Grant's terrific struggles." [Footnote: _Id._, p.
219.] But the affairs at New Hope Church and Pickett's Mill show
that the country was so impracticable that it was not possible to
deliver an attack by his whole army at once, and so to give real
unity to a great battle. He was therefore brought, perforce, to
accept the systematic advance by flanking movements, and to avoid
assaults upon intrenched positions on the forest-covered hills. He
knew that this policy would bring a time when the enemy could no
longer afford to retreat and must resort to aggressive tactics, even
at the risk of destruction to his army. It was a curious repetition
of the ancient colloquy,--"If thou art a great general, come down
and fight me.--If thou art a great general, make me come down and
fight thee." It may be readily admitted that in such a country as
Central Europe other methods would have been feasible and
preferable; but in the tangled wildernesses of Virginia and Georgia
the matter was brought to the test by leaders who had courage and
will equal to any, and the result was a system which may be
confidently said to be the natural evolution of warfare in such
environment. Johnston knew that his retreat, though slow, was giving
dissatisfaction to President Davis at Richmond, but he saw also that
to assault Sherman's lines meant final and irretrievable disaster,
and he continued his patient and steady defence. Our progress around
his right warned him that the New Hope Church position must soon be
abandoned, and a new one was already selected, closer to Marietta,
with Kennesaw, Pine and Lost mountains, for its strongholds.

The two or three days during which General Schofield had been
disabled had brought me into closer personal relations with Sherman
than I had enjoyed before, and was the beginning of an intimate
friendship which lasted as long as he lived. I had the opportunity
of learning more of his characteristics and his methods, and saw how
sound his judgment was, and how cool a prudence there was behind his
apparent impulsiveness. The untiring activity of his mind turned
every problem over and over until he had viewed it from every point
and considered the probable consequences of each mode of solving it.
At bottom of all lay the indomitable courage and will which were
only stimulated by obstacles, and which stuck to the inexorable
purpose of keeping the initiative and making each day bring him
nearer to a successful end of the campaign.

By the 1st of June McPherson had brought the Army of the Tennessee
into close connection with the centre, where Palmer's Corps of the
Cumberland Army had its three divisions reunited (except one
brigade), relieving us and enabling Thomas to draw out Hooker's
Corps as a reserve. The orders for the 2d were that we were to pass
to the left beyond Howard's Corps, and push out upon the Burnt
Hickory and Marietta road, turning the enemy's flank and reaching,
if possible, the cross-roads where it intersected a second road
leading from New Hope Church to Ackworth, a little in rear of the
enemy's lines. The object was to cover more completely the
connections with the railroad south of the Etowah, and to gain
positions which would take in reverse portions of the Confederate
lines. Hooker's Corps was ordered to support this movement on our
extreme left. The cavalry were ordered to make a combined effort to
reach Allatoona Pass on the railroad, and to hold it till Blair's
(Seventeenth) Corps, coming from Alabama by way of Rome, could
arrive and occupy it in force. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 348, 349, 362, 366, 367.]

Stoneman with the cavalry of the Army of the Ohio entered Allatoona
on June 1st, and reported the gorge a place he could hold against a
superior force. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 379.] General Johnston was so
well persuaded that his position was no longer tenable that he
issued the same day a confidential order directing a withdrawal, but
recalled it late in the day in view of the changes evidently going
on at our extreme right, and so remained a few days longer.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 753.] On the morning of the 2d, the preliminary
changes in the line being completed, Schofield marched with the
Twenty-third Corps to the left until he reached the Burnt Hickory
and Marietta road, near the Cross Roads Church, or Burnt Church,
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 396.] then turning to the east and guiding his
left on the road he pushed forward through an almost impenetrable
forest where it was impossible to see two rods. There was great
difficulty in keeping the movement of the invisible skirmish line in
accord with the line of battle, which we directed by compass, like a
ship at sea. In the advance, my adjutant-general, Captain Saunders,
was mortally wounded by my side, as we were riding, unconscious of
our danger, through an opening out of our skirmishers in a momentary
loss of direction. There were extensive thickets of the loblolly
pine occasionally met, where these scrub trees were so thick and
their branches so interlaced that neither man nor horse could force
a way through them, and the movement would be delayed till these
densest places were turned by marching around them. The connection
would then be made again, the direction of the skirmishers
rectified, and the advance resumed. The regiments advanced by the
right of companies in columns of fours at deploying distance, but
not even the men of a company could see those on right or left, so
dense was the tangle.

We passed over the divide separating Pumpkin Vine Creek, and its
branches from Allatoona Creek, and the sharp skirmishing began as we
approached the latter. The afternoon was well advanced when we
reached the creek, and a heavy thunderstorm broke as our line forded
the stream and pushed up the hill on the other side. We now drew the
artillery fire from an intrenched line on the crest which we could
not see, and for a time the mingled roar of the thunder and of the
enemy's cannon was such that it was hard to tell the one from the
other. My advanced line closed in as near the intrenchments as
possible, whilst the second remained on the hither side of the
creek. At my request Hascall's division swung still farther out to
the left to develop the line of the enemy's works, and Schofield
asked Butterfield's division of Hooker's Corps to advance on the
extreme flank. He found that Hascall developed the full extent of
the Confederate line, and thought it a good opportunity to take the
position in reverse. Butterfield, however, declined to do more than
move up to Hascall's support in rear, and night fell before
Schofield could accomplish anything decisive. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 386. In this instance the question
of relative rank by date of commission was slightly involved.
Butterfield claimed to rank Schofield and declined to do more than
is stated. Schofield's Report, _Id_., pt. ii. p. 512; Schofield's
Forty-six Years in the Army, p. 130.]

The downpour of rain had been such that the creek, which was
insignificant when we first came to it, became unfordable before
sunset, and gave me no little concern for the first line of my
division, which was over it. It was ordered to cover itself with
such abatis as could be speedily made and to intrench, whilst we
improvised footbridges for crossing to its support if it should be
attacked. I announced that my headquarters for the night would be
immediately in rear of the centre of my second line; but when the
pressure of duty was off and I was at liberty to go to the position
I had named, I found that it was one of the densest parts of a pine
thicket, and I could not even get back of the troops in line till a
path was cut for me by a detachment of men with axes. They cleared a
narrow way for a few rods, and then widened it out into a circular
space at the foot of the trunk of a great tree so that there was
room for a camp-fire, and for two or three of us to bivouac, but
most of the staff remained at a more approachable place a little in
rear. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 396.] We
regarded it so important that the notice given to subordinates of
our whereabouts at night should not be misleading, that we stuck to
the place that had been named, in spite of the inconvenience and
discomfort. The fall of rain is amusingly illustrated by the fact
that in the height of the storm my knee-boots filled with the water
running off me, and I emptied them as I sat in the saddle by lifting
first one leg and then the other up in front of me till the water
ran out of the boot-top in a stream. I had been a little ailing for
a day or two, and my sleep was not as sound as it usually was even
in close contact with the hostile lines. In the wakeful hours the
loss of my friend and able staff officer, Captain Saunders, filled
me with mournful thoughts; for though the daily work under fire had
exposed all the little circle at headquarters to casualties, our
good fortune hitherto had bred a sort of confidence in immunity, and
the sudden fall of him who had been the centre of the staff group
and a personal favorite with all was a heavy blow to us when we had
time to think of it.

Next morning Schofield arranged with General Thomas to relieve
Hovey's division of our corps which had been on our right, and
marching this division beyond Hascall's on our extreme left, the
whole line went forward. The Confederate intrenchment in my
immediate front was completely outflanked, and was found to be a
detached position which the enemy abandoned when threatened by
Hascall's advance, and my men at once occupied it. The movement was
continued until Hovey's division was upon the interior Dallas and
Ackworth road near Allatoona church, whilst my division and
Hascall's held the cross roads which had been covered by the
fortifications we had captured. Hooker's Corps passed beyond Hovey,
covering the flank to the eastward. Sherman now hastened the
extension of the line toward the railroad by passing the whole army
behind us, till by the 6th we became the extreme right flank of the
army. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. p. 681;
_Id._, pt. iv. p. 407.] Johnston had abandoned his position on the
night of the 4th, falling back on the new line he had selected with
his left resting on Lost Mountain and his right upon Brush Mountain,
the next eminence north of Kennesaw. [Footnote: _Id._, pt. iv. pp.
408, 758.]

The abandonment of the New Hope line gave us the opportunity to
examine it, which, of course, we did with great interest. It was
about six miles long, of the most formidable character of field
fortifications. The entry in my diary says of them that we found
them "very strong, both for artillery and infantry, with abatis
carefully sharpened and staked down. They have never before shown so
much industry and finished their defensive works with so much care."
When it is remembered that these lines could only be approached
through forests which hid everything till we were right upon them,
it will easily be believed that we congratulated ourselves that the
enemy was manoeuvred out of them and was being crowded back till he
must soon assume the aggressive and assault our works.

Sherman's new positions placed McPherson's army on Proctor's Creek,
a branch of the Allatoona in front of Ackworth on the railroad,
Thomas's army between Mt. Olivet Church and Golgotha, covering the
principal roads from Cassville and Kingston to Marietta and Lost
Mountain, whilst Schofield was placed in echelon on the right flank,
covering the hospitals and trains until the base could be
transferred to the railway. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 423, 428, 430.] My own division was left for
some days in the position we had carried on the 3d, about a mile
separated from the rest of the line. A pontoon bridge was laid at
the Etowah railway crossing till the great bridge could be
constructed, and General Blair, who was on the 6th at Kingston, with
two divisions of the Seventeenth Corps, was ordered to march to
Ackworth by this direct road. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 424.] Blair's
command was the only important reinforcement received by Sherman
during the campaign, and just about made up for the losses by battle
and by sickness up to the time of its arrival. A more open belt of
country lay along the western side of the line from Kennesaw to Lost
Mountain, and Sherman hurried the readjustment of his forces in the
hope of a decisive engagement with Johnston by the 9th of June or
soon afterward.

A change now occurred in the organization of our corps which
afterward became a matter of so much historical notoriety that it
may be worth while to give the particulars with accuracy. General
Hovey tendered his resignation as a division commander, and asked a
leave of absence to await the action of the President upon it. The
reasons assigned by him were his dissatisfaction and unwillingness
to serve longer with his division, which he claimed should be
increased by five regiments of Indiana cavalry, recruited at the
same time and in connection with his infantry regiments, and, as he
asserted, with some assurance that they should be one organization
under him. He also intimated that he had reason to expect promotion
which had not been given him.

I have already mentioned some dissatisfaction on General Schofield's
part with him at the beginning of the campaign, [Footnote: _Ante_,
p. 214.] but the middle of the campaign seemed so inconvenient a
time to make a change that Schofield sought earnestly to smooth the
matter over, and tried to obtain for Hovey other troops to increase
the size of his division. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii.
pt. iv. p. 439.] Sherman had no infantry which was not a regular
part of other divisions, and could not increase Hovey's command in
that way. He said that he could not tolerate the anomaly of
combining five cavalry regiments with infantry in a division of
foot, and that, in fact, the regiments were along the railroad,
protecting our communications and could not be spared. He invited
Hovey to a personal conference, and urged him to withdraw his
resignation, to take time at least for reflection, and not insist
upon changes in the midst of a campaign and in the presence of the
enemy. The appeal was unsuccessful, and Sherman telegraphed to the
War Department that Hovey was discontented because he was not made a
major-general, and that, though he esteemed him as a man, he should
recommend the acceptance of the resignation. On the paper itself he
endorsed a full statement of the circumstances and his
recommendation that General Hovey be allowed to resign. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 433, 439, 443, 448.]

The official censure of General Sherman having been thus spread upon
the records of the War Department, and that department having made a
tender of resignation in the presence of the enemy a cause for
summary dismissal of inferior officers, the surprise of the army may
be imagined when, on July 25th, Sherman was notified from Washington
that Hovey and Osterhaus had been promoted to be
major-generals,--the first by brevet, the other to the full grade.
To Sherman himself the thing was exceedingly galling, for not only
was his action in Hovey's case reversed, and that which he condemned
made the occasion for reward, but he had, only the day before, in
asking to have Howard transferred to the command of the Army of the
Tennessee, made vacant by McPherson's death, added a special request
on the general subject of promotions. "After we have taken Atlanta,"
he had said, "I will name officers who merit promotion. In the mean
time I request that the President will not give increased rank to
any officer who has gone on leave from sickness, or cause other than
wounds in battle." [Footnote: _Id_., pt. v. p. 241.] This language
had manifest reference to the cases in hand, and was, no doubt,
based on rumors of what was about to happen: but it was too late,
for a dispatch from Colonel Hardie, Inspector-General, was already
on the way to him, announcing the promotions by order of the War

Sherman's indignation boiled over in his reply, which said: "I wish
to put on record this, my emphatic opinion, that it is an act of
injustice to officers who stand by their posts in the day of danger
to neglect them and advance such as Hovey and Osterhaus, who left us
in the midst of bullets to go to the rear in search of personal
advancement. If the rear be the post of honor, then we had better
all change front on Washington." [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. v. p. 247.] The vigor of this protest carried it to Mr.
Lincoln's personal attention, and he answered it, admitting that it
was well taken, but urging reasons for his action which show only
too well that they were more political than military. A Presidential
campaign had just begun, and with all his great qualities, Mr.
Lincoln was susceptible to reasons of political policy in the use of
appointments to office. He referred to the recommendations for
promotion that Grant and Sherman had given these officers in a
former campaign, and to "committals" which had been drawn from him
which he "could neither honorably nor safely disregard." [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 259.] In the case of Osterhaus the President added that
his promise had been given "on what he thought was high merit and
somewhat on his nationality." In short, Indiana and Missouri were
doubtful States, and the German vote was important. But what idea of
military promotions was that which, in such a war and in the midst
of such a campaign, advanced officers to the highest grade upon
personal importunity, not only without consultation with their
commanding general in the field but in spite of his protest; which
does not seem even to have asked the question what was going on in
Georgia and what would be the effect of such action upon the army
there! If there had been unlimited power of promotion, the case
might have been less mischievous; but Congress had limited the
number of officers, so that vacancies were now filled, and, for the
Atlanta campaign and Sherman's army in Georgia, these two were the
only promotions that could be given, and of those whom Sherman
recommended for the grade of major-general for service in that
campaign when Atlanta was taken, not one then received it. When
these things are remembered, Sherman's indignation will be seen to
be righteous, and his protest a memorable effort in favor of good
military administration. In replying to the President he apologized
for the freedom of his language and assured Mr. Lincoln of his
confidence in the conscientiousness of his general course, but he
did not soften or blink the facts. "You can see," said he, "how
ambitious aspirants for military fame regard these things. They come
to me and point them out as evidence that I am wrong in encouraging
them to a silent, patient discharge of duty. I assure you that every
general of my army has spoken of it, and referred to it as evidence
that promotion results from importunity and not from actual service.
I have refrained from recommending any thus far in the campaign, as
I think we should reach some stage in the game before stopping to
balance accounts or to write history." [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 271.]

Some promotions to the rank of brigadier were made in the Potomac
Army at this time, and Grant was notified that there were three or
four other vacancies in that grade. This led him to say he would
like to have them given to such men as Sherman might recommend. He
added: "No one can tell so well as one immediately in command the
disposition that should be made of the material on hand. Osterhaus
has proved himself a good soldier, but if he is not in the field I
regret his promotion." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 260.] As it had been
Grant's former recommendation which had been the strongest
ostensible ground of the promotion, this remark of his is important
as pointing out the true principle in such matters. Recommendations
of such a sort are always on the implied condition that the claim
shall not be forfeited by subsequent conduct, and Grant said in
substance that the circumstances had altered the cases and relieved
him (and the administration too) of any obligation.

To complete the discussion, it must be noted that there were three
brigadiers from Indiana in the Twenty-third Corps at this time, and
Hovey was not only the junior of the three but had been the least
actively employed in the campaign. Manson had been stricken down in
the battle of Resaca whilst heroically leading his men to the
capture of the rebel position, and never fully recovered from the
injury. [Footnote: _Ante_, p. 221.] Hascall distinguished himself at
every step of the campaign. Both left the service at last without
any further recognition. It was common fame in the army that they
were not favored by Governor O. P. Morton, the dominant political
influence in their State. Hovey's further service was not in the
field, but as commandant of the District of Indiana. Osterhaus
returned to the Fifteenth Corps and served creditably in Sherman's
remaining campaigns. Hovey's division was broken up, one brigade
being added to Hascall's division and the other to mine. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 448.]



Continuous rains in June--Allatoona made a field depot on the
railway and fortified--Johnston in the Marietta lines--That from
Pine Mountain to Lost Mountain abandoned--Swinging our right
flank--Affair at Kolb's farm--Preparing for a general attack--Battle
of Kennesaw--The tactical problem--Work of my division--Topography
about Cheney's--Our advance on the 27th--Nickajack valley
reached--The army moves behind us--Johnston retreats to the
Chattahoochee--Twenty-third Corps at Smyrna Camp-ground--Crossing
the Chattahoochee at Soap Creek--At Roswell--Johnston again
retreats--Correspondence with Davis--Mission of B. H. Hill--Visit of
Bragg to Johnston--Johnston's unfortunate reticence--He is relieved
and Hood placed in command--Significance of the change to the
Confederacy and to us.

In the month of June we had more than three weeks of pouring rains,
making a quagmire of the whole country. The "dirt roads," which were
the only ones, were soon destroyed by the heavy army wagons, and
even the place where they had been could not be distinguished in the
waste of mud and ruts which spread far and wide. Sherman found the
intrenchments Johnston had left "an immense line of works," and
congratulated himself that they had been turned with less loss to
himself than he had inflicted on the enemy. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 408.] The first reconnoissances
found that Johnston had retreated so far that, from the commander
downward, we all harbored the hope that he had retreated beyond the
Chattahoochee. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 427.] To prepare for our next
step, the railway crossing of the Etowah must be completed and our
depot of supplies advanced to Allatoona. The gorge there was almost
as defensible on the south as on the north, and Sherman set Captain
Poe, his engineer, to work laying out fortifications to cover its
southern mouth and thus prepare for holding it by a small garrison
as a secondary base if we should have to leave it again to make a
wide turning movement. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii.
pt. iv. p. 428.]

[Illustration: Vicinity of Marietta, June 20,--July 4, 1864.]

We were not long in learning that Johnston was not over the
Chattahoochee, but had only fallen back to a shorter and more
formidable line about Marietta, covering the railway where it passed
through the defiles of Kennesaw Mountain, extending his left centre
to the isolated knob of Pine Mountain, and thence recurving his
flank by way of Gilgal (Hard-Shell Church in local nomenclature)
toward Lost Mountain, which was held by his cavalry.

At the first appearance of a retreat by the Confederates beyond the
Chattahoochee, Sherman's mind naturally turned to the plans of
campaign which should follow his approach to Atlanta as they had
been indicated by General Grant at the beginning of operations in
the spring, and he inquired of Halleck whether the intended movement
of the fleet under Farragut and part of the southwestern army under
Canby against Mobile had been ordered. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 418.] Halleck answered that it had been
suggested to Canby, but that Grant had, just then, all he could
attend to on the Chickahominy. The fierce battles in Virginia had
culminated on June 3d, in the terrible struggle at Cold Harbor,
where the assault had been so costly as almost to produce dismay
throughout the country, and in all our armies to enforce the lesson
of caution in attacking such works as the enemy was now habitually
constructing. The feeling was hinted at by Sherman in his dispatch
to Washington on the 5th, when he said that although he should
probably have to fight Johnston at Kennesaw, he would not "run head
on to his fortifications." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 408.]

Amid the discouragements incident to the incessant rains the army
gained positions closely enveloping Johnston's lines, and we who
constituted the right flank, pushing out from hill to hill and from
brook to brook, gradually outflanked the enemy and forced him to
swing back his left. On the 14th he let go of Pine Mountain, where
General Polk was killed and General Johnston himself had a narrow
escape from our artillery fire while they were reconnoitring our
positions from its summit. On the 16th we were close upon the Gilgal
and Lost Mountain line, and the enemy again withdrew that flank
beyond Mud Creek, which with Noyes's Creek [Footnote: Noyes's Creek
was pronounced Noses Creek by the negroes and the people of the
neighborhood, and the name took that form in our reports at the
time. It was afterward corrected in the Official Records.] and
Olley's are the tributaries of the Sweetwater (before mentioned)
which flows southward into the Chattahoochee. Sherman was on the
lookout for weak places in his adversary's line where he might break
through and change into a rout the war of positions which was too
much like siege operations to suit him. He said to Halleck that
Johnston had declined the assault which must have followed our so
close contact, "and abandoned Lost Mountain and some six miles of as
good field-works as I ever saw." [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 498.] Still keeping the right shoulder forward,
we crowded in upon the new line, and in the night of the 18th the
enemy retreated from the intrenchments behind Mud Creek to those of
Noyes's Creek, whilst at the same time he drew back his extreme
right behind Noonday Creek, compacting his lines with the purpose of
transferring a corps to his left, where we now began to threaten his

Again there was a momentary belief that Marietta was abandoned, but
again it was premature, for the apex of the angle was stoutly held
at the rocky crest of Kennesaw. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 519.] There was
nothing for it but to continue the swing of the right flank. In his
instructions to Thomas, Sherman said, "Until Schofield develops the
flank we should move with due caution; but the moment it is found or
we are satisfied the enemy has lengthened his line beyond his
ability to defend, we must strike quick and with great energy."
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 509.]

The waters were up in all the streams, and Noyes's was wholly
unfordable. Following the Sandtown road southward, my division was
stopped by the creek, and the enemy's artillery and dismounted
cavalry held a good position on the other side, having removed the
flooring of the bridge. In a brilliant little affair by a part of
Cameron's brigade, the bridge was carried, and the whole division
was soon across and intrenched at the crest on the south side,
covering the intersection of the Sandtown road with that from
Marietta to Powder Springs Church. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviiii. pt. iv. pp. 534, 540.] On the morning of June 22d, the
rest of Schofield's corps crossed the creek and took the Marietta
road, whilst Hooker's corps swung forward from the right of the
Cumberland Army to keep pace with Schofield. My own division at the
same time marched southward on the Sandtown road to Cheney's farm,
near the crossing of Olley's Creek, the next in the series of
parallel valleys trending to the southwest. Cheney's was also at the
crossing of the lower road from Marietta to Powder Springs village,
which forked near Kolb's farm, the northern branch being that on
which Schofield was advancing with Hascall's division. But Hood's
corps was also upon this road, having marched in the night from the
extreme right of Johnston's army to extend the left and meet our
aggressive movement. This brought on the bloody affair of Kolb's (or
Culp's) farm, Hood making a fierce attack on Schofield's left and
Hooker's right, which was repulsed. [Footnote: Atlanta, p. 108,
etc.] The enemy had to content himself with extending southward the
line confronting ours, till it passed over the ridge behind Noyes's
creek and covered the valley of Olley's. Schofield had called me
with three brigades to Hascall's support, leaving one (Reilly's) at
the Cheney farm. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv.
pp. 558, 559, 566-569.]

Hood's attack had checked the flanking movement from which Sherman
had hoped good results. Johnston had also been able to stretch out
his right so that the works in front of McPherson seemed to be held
in force enough to make an assault unpromising. On the reports of
subordinates as to their uneasiness at the stretching of their
lines, Thomas suggested to Sherman that the lines be contracted and
strengthened. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 581.] At the same time reports
were received that Confederate cavalry had crossed the Etowah in our
rear, and had begun to make use of torpedoes to derail and destroy
trains on the railway. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii.
pt. iv. p. 579.] Yet Garrard's cavalry on our left reported the
enemy's horse superior in numbers, and were unable to make such
progress there as Sherman had expected. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 542,
555.] It began to look like a dead-lock, and that, of all things,
was what Sherman could not endure. With grim humor he wrote to
Thomas, "I suppose the enemy with his smaller force intends to
surround us!" [Footnote: _Id_., p. 582.] The only alternative seemed
to be to find the places where that smaller force was most
attenuated and break through by main strength. He notified his
subordinates that this must be done on the 27th. [Footnote: _Ibid_.
and p. 588.] As a preliminary, he ordered demonstrations to be kept
up on both flanks to draw the enemy away from the centre. His formal
order, issued on the 24th, directed General Thomas to select a point
of attack near his centre. McPherson was directed to make a feint
with his cavalry and one division of infantry on the left, but to
make his real attack at a point south and west of Kennesaw.
Schofield was likewise to make a demonstration on the extreme right,
in front of my division, but to attack a point as near as
practicable to the Powder Springs road, which was the scene of the
affair of the 22d. [Footnote: _Ibid_.] The tactical details were all
left to the subordinate army commanders.

On the 25th Sherman visited our positions in person, and accompanied
the active reconnoissances which we were making. The result he
stated in an evening dispatch to Thomas, saying, "I found that the
enemy had strengthened his works across the Powder Springs road very
much, having made embrasures for three complete batteries, all
bearing on that road. Line extends as far as can be seen to the
right, mostly in timber and partly in open ground. The enemy is also
on his [Schofield's] right flank on the other side of Olley's
Creek." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 589.]
The outcome of this was a modification of Schofield's orders, so
that instead of attacking seriously in force, he should make strong
demonstrations to attract the enemy to our wing of the army as much
as possible, and thus assist Thomas and McPherson in their attacks
near the centre.

It was with reluctance that Sherman was brought to the determination
to make a front assault. His preference and his earlier purpose had
been to make an equal force to Johnston's keep the Confederates in
their works whilst the remainder of his own army should move from
our right and attack beyond Johnston's left flank. He had thought
the opportunity was come when we had secured the crossing of Noyes's
Creek, and he indicated the morning of the 22d for an advance on the
Powder Springs and Marietta road which we then commanded. In his
dispatch to Thomas on the 21st, he said, "I feel much disposed to
push your right, supported by Schofield and Stoneman's cavalry,
whilst McPherson engages attention to his front, but keeps ready to
march by his right to reinforce you." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 546.]

The founderous condition of the whole region had made every movement
slow, and in the same note to Thomas, Sherman had summed it up in
the two words: "Roads terrific." Yet on the morning of the 22d the
way to Marietta by the Powder Springs road was only contested by
cavalry, though Johnston's ever-watchful eye had seen the danger and
by his order Hood was marching his corps from the other flank of the
army to meet Sherman's extension by our right. In going to examine
McPherson's lines himself, Sherman had added to his dispatch, "If
anything happens, act promptly with your own troops and advise me
and your neighbor, Schofield, who has standing orders to conform to
you." [Footnote: _Ibid_.] The situation was, in fact, exactly what
he had been hoping for. The flank of the enemy was exposed, and we
had the opportunity to use the broad road leading to Marietta to
turn it. Could Hooker, supported by Hascall's division of our corps,
have reached Zion's Church before Hood, or at the same time with
him, it seems almost certain that the position gained would have
compelled Johnston to abandon Kennesaw and Marietta at once, and
fall back to the line of the Nickajack if not beyond the
Chattahoochee. In that case the battle of Kennesaw would not have
been fought.

In the evening of the 22d, when Sherman received Hooker's answer to
a question sent him during the progress of the combat in the
afternoon, and found the latter laboring under the conviction that
the whole of Johnston's army was in his immediate front, he was
naturally annoyed at so exaggerated a view of the situation.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 558.] Thomas
received similar reports from Hooker and a call for reinforcements,
and though he said he "thought at the time he was stampeded,"
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 559.] he sent to him a division from Howard's
corps. The truth was that one brigade of Hooker's corps and one of
Schofield's were the only ones that had suffered at all severely,
the total list of less than 300 casualties being about equally
divided between them. Hood had been repulsed with a loss of more
than 1000. [Footnote: Atlanta, p. 113.] When to these circumstances
are added those which have before been mentioned, [Footnote: _Ante_,
pp. 258, 259.] we can understand how Sherman began to fear that, in
the systematic flanking operations he had been carrying on, his army
was losing the energetic aggressive character without which he could
not profit decisively by the opportunities which might offer.
[Footnote: See Sherman's personal letters to Halleck of July 9th,
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 91; to Grant of June 18th,
_Id_., pt. iv. p. 507; and of July 12th, _Id_., pt. v. p. 123.]
Adding still further the difficulty, amounting almost to an
impossibility, of supplying the wing of the army most distant from
the railroad, and the probability that Johnston's army was stretched
into a line even thinner than his own, it will not seem strange that
he concluded it was time to try whether a bold stroke would not
break through the Confederate defences and rout his adversary. I am
saying this from the standpoint of our own experience in the wooded
and sparsely settled region we were operating in. From a European
point of view, an aggressive policy of attack would be taken as a
matter of course, and the only questions open for debate would be
the tactical ones as to the method of making the assault and the
points at which to deliver it. [Footnote: For a recent summary of
the discussion of "Attack or Defence," see Letters and Essays of
Captain F. N. Maude, R. E. (International Series), p. 70; also his
"Cavalry and Infantry" (same series), p. 127, etc.]

The attack was made on the 27th, and failed to carry the enemy's
works, though our troops were able to hold positions close to the
ditch and to intrench themselves on a new line there. The casualties
in the action were 2164. [Footnote: In Logan's Corps, 629 (Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 85); in Howard's, 756 (_Id_., pt.
i. p. 205), and in Palmer's, 779 (_Id_., p. 509).] Some of the best
officers who took part in the assault were of the opinion that had
the supports been well in hand, so as to have charged quickly over
the first line when it was checked and lost its impetus, the works
in front of Davis's division would have been carried. [Footnote:
McCook's Brigade at Kennesaw Mountain, by Major F. B. James of the
Fifty-Second Ohio; Ohio Loyal Legion Papers, vol. iv. pp. 269, 270.]
It is hardly necessary to say that at the present day an entirely
different deployment and organization of the attacking forces would
be considered essential, and the preparation by concentrated
artillery fire would be much more thorough than was practicable
then. The dense forest made the cannonade almost harmless at the
points chosen for assault, and the attack was one of infantry
against unshaken earthworks. [Footnote: For description of the
battle, see "Atlanta," chap. x.]

In Sherman's visit to our position on the 25th, he had arranged with
Schofield the general plan for our demonstrations on the 26th and
27th. Hascall's division was to make a feint of attack near the
Powder Springs road, whilst mine should force the crossing of
Olley's Creek near Cheney's, on the Sandtown road, build a temporary
bridge over the creek a mile or two above, and make a strong show of
a purpose to attack beyond Hascall's right flank by crossing with a
brigade there. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv.
pp. 589, 592.]

The valley of Olley's Creek was broad and open, and the country
beyond my right was more practicable than the tangled wilderness on
the northern slope of the watershed. We had got beyond the denser
thickets of the loblolly pine, and could better see what we were
about. The old Sandtown road south of Cheney's crossed the creek on
a wooden bridge which was commanded by a fortified hill a little
beyond where a battery of artillery swept the bridge and its
approaches. The stream widened out after passing the bridge and ran
between low and marshy banks with bluffs further back. I had placed
Reilly's brigade astride the road at Cheney's with Myer's Indiana
battery of light twelves, smooth-bore bronze guns. A gap of more
than a mile lay between Reilly and the other three brigades of the
division after I had marched to Hascall's support on the 22d. The
lower branch of the Powder Springs road was parallel to the creek
and not far from it, and my artillery near the right of the three
brigades was on an advancing knoll where the guns not only commanded
the valley before them, but Cockerill's Ohio battery of three-inch
rifles swept nearly the whole space to Reilly's position. [Footnote:
_Id._, p. 568.]

To give more effect to our demonstration, Sherman directed that it
begin on the 26th, and preparations were made to build a bridge in
front of Byrd's brigade, which was ordered to cross the stream when
Reilly's effort against the lower bridge should begin. Our first
information was that the fortified hill in front of Reilly was held
by infantry, and as the work was in form a redoubt, its garrison of
course on foot, we assumed that it was a detached outwork of the
Confederate line. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv.
p. 597.] Reilly kept up a cannonade of the hill in front of him
during the 26th, and made some attempts to get over the stream at
the bridge, but did not seriously try to force the passage. A
temporary bridge was laid at Byrd's position, and soon after noon he
crossed the creek with little opposition, our artillery thoroughly
commanding the further bank. [Footnote: _Id._, p. 599] I personally
accompanied Byrd's movement. The artillery of Hascall's division as
well as my own was turned on the enemy's works when they came out
into the open. The hills along this part of Olley's Creek were not a
continuous ridge, but knobby and somewhat detached; the higher land
marking the edge of the plateau about Marietta was further back, and
the Confederate line of works followed it. Byrd's direction of march
was nearly parallel to the Sandtown road, and by advancing about a
mile and a half he reached the summit of a rough wooded hill about
six hundred yards from the main ridge, with open ground intervening.
He was here from half a mile to a mile east of the Sandtown road,
and from the fortified hill in front of Reilly, which was on the
continuation of the same ridge, though with ravines interrupting it.
The position was a very threatening one, and if any demonstration
could draw the enemy in that direction, this seemed likely to do it.
I directed Byrd to intrench on the crest, drawing back the flanks of
the brigade so as to be ready for attack from any direction. Our
movement had been sharply resisted by the enemy, but so far as we
could see, only by dismounted cavalry. Sherman had said that he did
not care to have Reilly force the passage of the creek that
afternoon, for a strong threatening of the fortified hill would be
more likely to draw the enemy that way than actually capturing it.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 597.] On my
reporting to General Schofield in the evening the position of Byrd's
brigade with the favorable look of the country beyond, it was
arranged that Byrd's bridge should be made stronger for permanent
use, and that Cameron's brigade should follow him at daylight in the
morning. With my whole division except Barter's brigade, which was
left to cover Hascall's right flank, I was to test what further
progress could be made on the Sandtown road. [Footnote: _Id._, pp.

At peep of day on the 27th we were astir, anxious to get our part of
the day's work well advanced before the more serious engagement at
the centre should begin. Another battery had been sent to Reilly,
and he was directed to silence the enemy's guns and find a way
across the creek under cover of his own if he could, but if this
failed, to storm the bridge.

Cameron was over Byrd's bridge at four o'clock, and was ordered upon
reaching the ridge in rear of Byrd to push boldly along it toward
the fortified hill the other side of the Sandtown road in front of
Reilly. Byrd's orders were to hold his position with the main body
of his brigade, but to throw out detachments and skirmishers in all
directions to watch the enemy and to get information of the country.
Leaving Cameron as soon as he was well on his way, I rode to Reilly
in front of the Cheney farm, and found that at five his dispositions
for forcing the passage of the stream were well under way. He had
determined to try it some distance below the bridge, at a place
where, though the banks were swampy, the creek was fordable, and the
hills behind gave good opportunity to use the artillery and put the
men across under shelter. My chief of artillery, Major Wells, was
with him, selecting places for the batteries and getting them in
position. Soon after six I was with Cameron again, and before eight
was back at Reilly's position, urging each to all the speed which
the strong skirmishing opposition would permit. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 619.] As it was necessary to pass
from one position to the other by way of the roads at the rear, it
made hard riding for one who wished to be as much as possible with
the active heads of columns.

Soon after eight o'clock part of Reilly's brigade got over the swamp
and creek under cover of the artillery, uncovering the bridge at the
road where the rest crossed; Cameron's was now coming into close
co-operation from the east, and a dashing charge by both carried the
hill. [Footnote: _Id._, pt. ii. pp. 683, 703, 720.] It was now
half-past eight, and the cannonade which preceded the attacks at the
centre was opening heavily behind us. [Footnote: _Id._, pt. i. pp.
199, 632.] The captured position was a commanding one, and the view
from it covered the whole region from Kennesaw to Lost Mountain.
Cameron was left there whilst Reilly followed the retreating enemy
with orders to advance as far as he could toward the Marietta and
Sandtown road, which was supposed to come into the old Cassville and
Sandtown road a mile or two ahead. We now knew from prisoners that
the force opposed to us was the division of Confederate cavalry
under Jackson, and that they were not closely supported by infantry.

The hill had been held by Ross's brigade, which retreated to another
eminence half a mile further down the road. Reilly again advanced,
supported by Cameron. Ross was again dislodged and retreated upon
the rest of the division at the junction of the roads above
mentioned. [Footnote: _Id._, pt. iv. pp. 799-801.] As we advanced it
became evident that the principal ridge on which Johnston's army was
broke down into separate hills as it came forward toward the forks
of the main roads, and it seemed feasible to hold some of these in
such a way as to make mutually supporting positions from Byrd to
Reilly, covering a front of two miles and commanding the lower part
of the Nickajack valley, in which the Marietta road ran. Reilly was
put in one of these positions with his right across the road on
which we had come, two miles south of Cheney's; Cameron was ordered
forward upon high ground near Reilly's left, and Byrd was directed
to straighten out his line on his right and reach as far as he could
toward Cameron. All were ordered to intrench as rapidly and
thoroughly as possible, for it was plain that we now commanded a
short road to the railway in Johnston's rear, and that he must drive
us out or abandon the Kennesaw line he had clung to so stubbornly.

I had sent my aide, Mr. Coughlan, with the orders to Byrd, and when
the line was extended and skirmishers partly covered the front, he
came back to me by a direct course from Byrd to Cameron and Reilly,
with the daring and intelligence which made him a model staff
officer, and reported that a continuous ridge connected the brigades
so that pickets could be well placed in the interval to give warning
of any hostile attempt to pass between. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 620, 621. Lieutenant Coughlan was
afterward killed in the heroic performance of duty at the battle of
Franklin. See "Franklin," p. 114.] A small hill a few hundred yards
in front of the main line better commanded the Marietta road, and
upon this I directed Reilly to build a lunette for an advanced guard
of a regiment and a battery.

The whole affair was one of the minor class in war, but it had a
special interest, in our ignorance of the topography of the country,
because it revealed a way to Johnston's line of communications,
which could not be seen and was not suspected when Sherman made the
reconnoissance with us on the 25th, and saw the Confederate lines
crossing the Powder Springs road and stretching away far beyond our
right. In my field dispatch to General Schofield I said: "The
possession of the end of the ridge, if we can hold it, I am now sure
will prevent the enemy from extending his line along it, since it
would be necessarily flanked and enfiladed by our positions. The
only objection is the extension relatively to the strength of my
command and the distance from supports. Upon carefully re-examining
the ground my conviction is strengthened that it is exceedingly
desirable to hold all we have gained, and if Hascall's place could
possibly be filled by troops drawn from other parts of the line, it
would give all the force needed to make a _point-d'appui_ which
would be safe and exceedingly available for future movements in this
direction if they become necessary. I only suggest this by way of
indicating the impression made on my own mind by the position."
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 621.]

Reilly was three miles distant from Barter's brigade, which covered
the right of the continuous line of the army intrenchments, and it
was certainly risking something to extend the brigades of a single
division so far, but it would have been a great disappointment to us
to have been called back. General Schofield instantly saw the
advantage, and in answering my dispatch, said, "I do not think the
importance of the position you have gained can be over-estimated,
especially in view of the failure elsewhere and probable future
movements." [Footnote: _Ibid_. See map, p. 255.] He ordered
Stoneman's cavalry to aid me in holding the ground and in picketing
the intervals, and reported to General Sherman the details of the
operation. The latter determined to make use of the advantage
gained, and said, "If we had our supplies well up, I would move at
once by the right flank, but I suppose we must cover our railroad a
few days." [Footnote: Dispatch to McPherson, _Id._, p. 622.] We were
left, therefore, for a little while in our exposed position, whilst
the whole army made strenuous efforts to get forward supplies enough
for a few days' separation from the railway. The weather had begun
to favor us. The day of the affair at the Kolb farm (22d) had been
the first fair day of the month, and the continuous clear skies and
hot suns rapidly dried the roads. Sherman sent Captain Poe to make
an engineer's examination of our position and reconnoissance in
front. The report confirmed his purpose of making us the pivot in a
swinging movement of the whole army. On the 29th Generals Thomas and
Howard accompanied General Schofield and myself in a similar
inspection, to help fix the details of the movement for the Army of
the Cumberland. Crittenden's brigade of dismounted cavalry reported
to me for temporary duty as infantry with my division. On the 1st of
July Hascall's division was relieved by the extension of Hooker's
corps, and Schofield with his whole corps in hand advanced a mile
upon the Marietta road toward Ruff's Mill. Johnston's failure to
attack was proof that he was preparing for retreat, and Sherman
pressed the movement of his own army.

On the 2d Johnston knew that McPherson's army was marching to
interpose between him and the Chattahoochee, and issued his orders
for the evacuation of the Marietta lines in the night, and the
occupation of the position beyond the Nickajack. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 860.] But Thomas and McPherson both
followed so vigorously that the Confederate general saw that he
could not cover the crossings of the river which Stoneman's cavalry
was already reaching on our right, and in the night of the 4th he
again retired, this time to intrenchments with both flanks resting
on the river and covering the railway bridge with two or three of
the principal ferries. With his usual prudence, Johnston had
prepared both these lines with the aid of the Georgia militia under
General Gustavus W. Smith, who, being himself an engineer, was
admirably fitted to co-operate with the plans of the staff.

Again a few days had to be given to repairs of the railroad and a
readjustment of the depots and means of supply, whilst careful
reconnoissances of the river were made both above and below the
Confederate position. Schofield's corps was placed in reserve near
the railway, at Smyrna Camp ground, and on the 8th my division was
assigned the duty of making a crossing of the Chattahoochee, and
laying pontoon bridges at Isham's ford and ferry at the mouth of
Soap Creek, [Footnote: In the official Atlas, pl. lx., two creeks
are named Rottenwood. The upper one of these with paper-mills upon
it is Soap Creek. The ford was sometimes called Cavalry Ford in the
Confederate dispatches. For particulars of the movements at this
period of the campaign, see "Atlanta," chap. xi.] about nine miles
above the railway crossing of the river. Johnston does not seem to
have been well served by his cavalry on this occasion, for the
crossing was gained and two bridges laid with only trifling
opposition, and my division was over and strongly intrenched before
any concentration of the enemy was made in my front. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 85, 89, 93.] This, of
course, decided Johnston to abandon the northern bank of the river,
and he selected a strong position behind Peach-tree Creek as the
next line of defence for Atlanta, burning the railway bridge and
other bridges behind him.

Several days were occupied by Sherman in moving McPherson's command
to Roswell, twenty miles above the railway, and building a
trestle-bridge there, in accumulating supplies and organizing
transportation for another considerable absence from the railroad.
By the 17th the army was over the Chattahoochee, McPherson on the
left, Schoneld next, and Thomas from the centre to the right. A
general wheel of the whole toward the right was ordered, to find and
drive back the enemy upon Atlanta.

Meanwhile the relations between General Johnston and the Confederate
government had reached a crisis. He had regularly reported the
actual movements of his army, but had carefully avoided any
indication of his intentions or of his hopes or fears. When, on the
5th of July, he retreated to the position at the Chattahoochee
crossing, his dispatch briefly announced that "In consequence of the
enemy's advance toward the river below our left, we this morning
took this position, which is slightly intrenched." [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 865.] Mr. Davis replied on
the 7th, expressing grave apprehensions at the situation, pointing
out the dangers of the position, and saying that other places had
been stripped to reinforce him, that further increase was
impossible, and that they now depended on his success. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 867.] By an unfortunate blunder of a subordinate, the
dispatch was not sent in cipher as was intended, and Johnston knew
that the contents with its implied criticism was known to the
telegraphers along the line and was practically public property.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 871] this was not soothing to the general's
feelings, even when explained. His answer said that he had been
forced back by siege operations, and had no opportunity for battle
except by attacking intrenchments. He suggested that the enemy's
purpose to capture Atlanta might be foiled by sending part of the
16,000 cavalry believed to be in Alabama and Mississippi to break up
the railroads behind Sherman and force him to retreat. Davis replied
with the intimation that Johnston must know that no such force was
available in the West, and that it would be much more to the purpose
to use the cavalry he had for that task of pressing importance.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 875] He sent also by letter fuller details of
the stress under which General S.D. Lee was in the Department of
Mississippi, showing that the hands of that officer were more than
full. [Footnote: The letter, however, did not reach Johnston till
after he had been relieved of command.] On the 10th Johnston had
forwarded a laconic dispatch, saying, "On the night of the 8th the
enemy crossed at Isham's Cavalry Ford; intrenched. In consequence we
crossed at and below the railroad, and are now about two miles from
the river, guarding the crossings." [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 873.] On the 11th he telegraphed,
recommending the immediate distribution elsewhere of the prisoners
at Andersonville. [Footnote: _Id_., p.876]

It cannot be denied that there was a certain justification for Mr.
Davis's conclusion that the circumstances foreboded the yielding of
Atlanta without the desperate struggle which the importance of the
position demanded. Had Johnston expressed any hopefulness, or said,
what was the fact, that he was himself coming to the determnation to
try the effect of a bold attack whilst Sherman's army was in motion,
he would probably have been left in command. But the personal
estrangement had gone so far that he confined himself rigidly to the
briefest report of events, leaving the Richmond government to guess
what was next to happen. His attitude was in effect a challenge to
the Confederate President to trust the Confederate cause in Georgia
to him absolutely, or to take the responsibility of removing him.
The Hon. B. H. Hill, who was in Richmond, at Johnston's request, to
learn if it was possible to reinforce him, telegraphed him on the
14th, "You must do the work with your present force. For God's sake,
do it." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 879.] Governor Brown offered to furnish
5000 "old men and boys" for the local defence of Atlanta in the
emergency, in addition to the similar number of the militia reserves
already in the field. These were 'promptly accepted by Mr. Davis and
the order was issued to arm them. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 878, and vol.
lii. pt. ii. pp. 691-695, 704. The correspondence between Mr. Hill
and Mr. Seddon, Secretary of War, is especially instructive as to
the issue between Johnston and Davis.]

Before acting further the Confederate President sent out General
Bragg to Atlanta to examine on the spot and report upon the
condition of affairs. Bragg arrived on the 13th and reported that an
entire evacuation of Atlanta seemed to be indicated by what he saw.
The army was sadly depleted, he said, and reported 10,000 less than
the return of June 10th. He could find but little encouraging.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 878.] On the
following two days he visited Johnston twice and was "received
courteously and kindly." "He has not sought my advice," Bragg added,
"and it was not volunteered. I cannot learn that he has any more
plan for the future than he has had in the past. It is expected that
he will await the enemy on a line some three miles from here, and
the impression prevails that he is now more inclined to fight. The
enemy is very cautious, and intrenches immediately on taking a new
position. His force, like our own, is greatly reduced by the hard
campaign. His infantry now very little over 60,000. The morale of
our army is still reported good." [Footnote: _Id._, p. 881.]

The receipt of this dispatch with Johnston's of the 16th seems to
have decided President Davis to make a change in the command of the
army, and on the 17th Hood was appointed to the temporary rank of
general in the Provisional Army and ordered to relieve Johnston.
[Footnote: _Id._, pp. 885, 887, 889.] Hood shrank from the
responsibility in the crisis which then existed, and suggested delay
till the fate of Atlanta should be decided; but Mr. Davis replied,
"A change of commanders, under existing circumstances, was regarded
as so objectionable that I only accepted it as the alternative of
continuing in a policy which had proved so disastrous. Reluctance to
make the change induced me to send a telegram of inquiry to the
commanding general on the 16th instant. His reply but confirmed
previous apprehensions. There can be but one question which you and
I can entertain: that is, what will best promote the public good;
and to each of you I confidently look for the sacrifice of every
personal consideration in conflict with that object." [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 888.]

Johnston magnanimously assisted Hood in completing the movements of
the army during the 18th to the Peachtree Creek position and
explained to him his plans. These were, first, to attack Sherman's
army when divided in crossing that difficult stream, and, if
successful, to press the advantage to decisive results. If
unsuccessful, to hold the Peachtree lines till Governor Brown's
militia were assembled;[Footnote: Johnston says ten thousand of
these were promised him instead of five. Narrative, p. 348.] then,
holding Atlanta with these, to draw the army back through the town
and march out with the three corps against one of Sherman's flanks,
with the confidence that even if his attack did not succeed, with
Atlanta so strongly fortified he could hold it forever. [Footnote:
Narrative, p. 350.]

In reading his more elaborate statement of the plans of which the
above is an outline, one cannot help thinking how unfortunate for
him it was that he did not give them to Mr. Davis as fully as he
gave them to Hood! In answer to the pressing inquiry of the 16th for
"your plan of operations so specifically as will enable me to
anticipate events," he had replied, "As the enemy has double our
number, we must be on the defensive. My plan of operations must
therefore depend upon that of the enemy. It is mainly to watch for
an opportunity to fight to advantage. We are trying to put Atlanta
in condition to be held for a day or two by the Georgia militia,
that army movements may be freer and wider." [Footnote: _Id_., p.
883.] A good understanding with his government was so essential,
just then, that the most reticent of commanders would have been wise
in sending in cipher the whole page in which he tells the specific
details of his purposes and their alternates as he gave them to
Hood. Had he done so, it is quite safe to say that he would not have
been removed; but reading, in the light of the whole season's
correspondence, the dispatch he actually sent, we cannot say that
Mr. Davis was unreasonable in finding it confirm his previous
apprehension. Had the general fully and frankly opened to Bragg the
same purposes, the latter could not have sent the hopeless message
which clinched the President's decision.

Johnston said in his final message to Davis that the enemy had
advanced more rapidly and penetrated deeper into Virginia than into
Georgia; and that confident language by a military commander is not
usually regarded as evidence of competency. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 888.] There was much force in both
points, but they do not touch the heart of the matter. Between Lee
and his government there was always a frank and cordial comparison
of views and perfect understanding; so that even in disaster it was
seen that he had done the best he could and was actively planning to
repair a mischief. On the other hand, they got from Johnston little
but a diarist's briefest chronicle of events with no word of hopeful
purpose or plan. It was not necessary that he should use "confident
language," but words were certainly called for which expressed
intelligent comprehension of the situation and fertility in purposed
action according to probable contingencies. His advice to Hood
showed that he only needed to be equally frank with the Richmond
authorities. [Footnote: Mr. Davis has discussed his relations to
Johnston in chapter xlviii. of his "Rise and Fall of the Confederate
Government," vol. ii. pp. 547, etc.; but the most succinct statement
of his views is found in a paper prepared for the Confederate
Congress, but withheld. See his letter to Colonel Phelan, Meridian,
Miss., O. R, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1303-1311.]

The assignment of Hood to the command was, of course, in the belief
that he would take a more energetic and aggressive course. He seems
to have been free in his criticisms of his commander, and upon
Bragg's arrival had addressed to him a letter which it is hard to
view as anything else than a bid for the command. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 880.] It said Johnston had
failed to use several opportunities to strike Sherman decisive
blows; that yet the losses of the army were 20,000; that under no
circumstances should the enemy be allowed to occupy Atlanta; that if
Sherman should establish his line at the Chattahoochee, he must be
attacked by crossing that river; that he had so often urged
aggressive action that he was regarded as reckless by "the officers
high in rank in this army, who are declared to hold directly
opposite views." He concluded by saying that he regarded it a great
misfortune that battle was not given to the enemy many miles north
of the present position.

When Johnston learned from Hood's report [Footnote: _Id._, pt. iii.
p. 628.](dated February 15, 1865) the nature of the latter's
statements and criticisms, he notified the Richmond government as
well as Hood that he should demand that the latter be brought before
a court-martial; [Footnote: Id., p. 637.] but it was then April, on
the very eve of the collapse of the Confederacy, and the discussion
was left for continuance in the private writings of the parties and
their friends. Johnston affirmed that in the only instances in the
campaign in which it could be said that a favorable opportunity for
battle had not been seized, Hood himself had been prominent in
protesting against an engagement or had himself failed to carry out
the orders given. In his service as commander of the army, Hood
became involved in disputes as to fact with Hardee and Cheatham as
well as with Johnston, and the result was damaging to his reputation
for accuracy and candor. [Footnote: Johnston's case is stated in his
"Narrative," chapters x. and xi.; Hood's in his "Advance and
Retreat," chapters v. to ix. In connection with these, Hardee's
Report of April 5, 1865, is of interest (Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 697), and his letter to General Mackall (_Id._,
pt. v. p. 987).]

The change of commanders undoubtedly precipitated the ruin of the
Confederate cause; yet we must in candor admit that the situation
was becoming so portentous that human wisdom might be overtaxed in
trying to determine what course to take. Of one thing there is no
shadow of doubt. We of the National Army in Georgia regarded the
removal of Johnston as equivalent to a victory for us. Three months
of sharp work had convinced us that a change from Johnston's methods
to those which Hood was likely to employ, was, in homely phrase, to
have our enemy grasp the hot end of the poker. We knew that we
should be kept on the alert and must be watchful; but we were
confident that a system of aggression and a succession of attacks
would soon destroy the Confederate army. Of course Hood did not mean
to assault solidly built intrenchments; but we knew that we could
make good enough cover whilst he was advancing against a flank, to
insure him a bloody repulse. The dense forests made the artillery of
little effect in demolishing the works or weakening the _morale_ of
the defenders, and it was essentially an infantry attack upon
intrenched infantry and artillery at close range.

The action of the Confederate government was a confession that
Sherman's methods had brought about the very result he aimed at. The
enemy had been manoeuvred from position to position until he must
either give up Atlanta with its important nucleus of railway
communications and abandon all northern Georgia and Alabama, or he
must assume a desperate aggressive with a probability that this
would fatally reduce his army and make the result only the more
completely ruinous. This was the meaning of the substitution of Hood
for Johnston.



Lines of supply by field trains--Canvas pontoons--Why replaced by
bridges--Wheeling toward Atlanta--Battle of Peachtree Creek--Battle
of Atlanta--Battle of Ezra Church--Aggressive spirit of Confederates
exhausted--Sherman turns Atlanta by the south--Pivot position of
Twenty-third Corps--Hood's illusions--Rapidity of our troops in
intrenching--Movements of 31st August--Affair at Jonesboro--Atlanta
won--_Morale_ of Hood's army--Exaggerating difference in
numbers--Examination of returns--Efforts to bring back
absentees--The sweeping conscription--Sherman's candid
estimates--Unwise use of cavalry--Forrest's work--Confederate
estimate of Sherman's campaign.

In advancing from the Chattahoochee, the arrangements Sherman made
for the supply of his army provided separate lines for the trains of
the three columns. McPherson' s wagons would reach him from Marietta
by way of Roswell and the bridge which General Dodge built there.
Schofield's had their depot at Smyrna and came by the wooden bridge
which we built at the mouth of Soap Creek to replace the pontoons.
The latter were of canvas, and whilst unequalled for field use, were
unfit for a bridge of any permanence, because the canvas would be
destroyed by long continuance in the water. As soon as they could be
replaced by a pier or trestle-bridge of timber, they were taken up,
cleaned and dried, and then packed on their special wagons for
transport. This train was in charge of a permanent detachment of
troops who became experts in the handling and care of the material
and in laying the bridge. The brigade of dismounted cavalry in my
division was left at the river as a guard for the wooden bridge
which was kept up till the railway bridge was built and opened for
use. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 163.]
Thomas's troops, who were more than half the army, drew their
supplies from Vining's Station byway of bridges at Power's Ferry
(mouth of Rottenwood Creek) and Pace's Ferry, a mile below.

Grant sent warning of rumors afloat that reinforcements would be
sent Johnston from the east, and in advancing from the Chattahoochee
by a great wheel to the right, Sherman extended his left so that
McPherson should move to the east of Decatur and break the Georgia
Railroad there, whilst Garrard with his division of cavalry should
continue the destruction toward Stone Mountain and make the gap as
wide as possible. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 158.]

This movement made the distance travelled by McPherson and Schofield
a long one, and extended their front largely, whilst Thomas was much
more compact. But when once the railway should be so broken that
Johnston's direct communication with the east would be interrupted,
McPherson and Schofield would both move toward their right, and in
closing in upon Atlanta, come into close touch with Thomas.
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 167.]

It was whilst this movement was progressing, on the 20th of July,
and was near its completion, that Hood made the attack already
planned by Johnston, upon Thomas's columns, crossing Peachtree Creek
by several roads converging at Atlanta. It involved the right of
Howard's corps, the whole of Hooker's, and the left of Palmer's. It
was a fierce and bloody combat, in which the Confederates lost about
6000 men in killed and wounded, whilst the casualty lists of
Thomas's divisions amounted to 2000. Again, on the 22d, the second
part of Johnston's plan was tried, and Hardee's corps, moving by
night through Atlanta and far out to the southward of Decatur,
advanced upon the flank of McPherson's army, whilst Cheatham at the
head of Hood's own corps advanced from the Atlanta lines and
continued the attack upon the centre and left of McPherson and upon
the right of Schofield. A great battle raged along five miles of
front and rear, but at evening the worsted Confederates retired
within the fortifications of the city, a terrible list of 10,000
casualties showing the cost of the aggressive tactics. The losses on
the National side were 3500, heavy enough, in truth, but with very
different results on the relative strength of the armies and their
_morale_. But the end was not yet. On the 28th McPherson's army, now
under the command of Howard, was marching from the left wing to the
right, to extend our lines southward on the west side of Atlanta,
when once more Hood struck fiercely at the moving flank at Ezra
Church, but again found that breastworks grew as if by magic as soon
as Howard's men were deployed in position, and again the gray
columns were beaten back with a list of 5000 added to the killed and
disabled. Howard had less than 600 casualties in the action. It was
only a week since Johnston had been relieved, and matters had come
to such a pass in his army that the men stolidly refused to continue
the assaults. From our skirmish line their officers were seen to
advance to the front with waving swords calling upon the troops to
follow them, but the men remained motionless and silent, refusing to
budge. [Footnote: For details of these engagements, see "Atlanta,"
chaps, xii.-xiv.]

During the first half of August Sherman extended his lines
southward, until my own division, which was the right flank of the
infantry lines, was advanced nearly a mile southeast of the crossing
of the Campbelltown and East Point roads on high ground covering the
headwaters of the Utoy and Camp creeks. We were here somewhat
detached and encamped accordingly in a boldly curved line ready for
action on the flanks as well as front. It was now the 18th of August
and Sherman devoted the next week to the accumulation of supplies,
the removal of sick and wounded to the rear, getting rid of
impedimenta, and general preparation for a fortnight's separation
from his base. My position had been selected with reference to this
plan, as a pivot upon which the whole of the army except the
Twentieth Corps should swing across the railways south of Atlanta.

[Illustration: Map of the Atlanta, GA area, showing the Federal and
Confederate lines.]

The movement began on the 25th, and we stood fast till the 28th,
when we began our flank movement on the inner curve of the march of
the army, taking very short steps, however, as we must keep between
the army trains and the enemy. On the 30th Schofield moved our corps
from Red Oak Station, on the West Point Railroad, a mile and a half
directly toward East Point, so as to cover roads going eastward
toward Rough-and-Ready Station on the Macon road. We were hardly in
position before our skirmishers were briskly engaged with an
advancing force of the enemy's cavalry, and we felt sure that it was
the precursor of an attack by Hood in force. It proved to be nothing
but a reconnoissance, and showed that Hood was strangely
misconceiving the situation. Its chief interest to me at the moment
was in the experiment it enabled me to make of the speed with which
my men could cover themselves in open ground in an emergency. The
division was astride the East Point road, the centre in open fields
where no timber could be got for revetment, and only fence rails to
give some support to the loose earth. Giving the order to make the
light trench of the rifle-pit class, where the earth is thrown
outward and the men stand in the ditch they dig, in fifteen minutes
by the watch the work was such that I reckoned it sufficient cover
to repel an infantry attack, if it came. It would be an
extraordinary occasion when we did not have more warning of an
impending attack; and the incident will illustrate the confidence we
had that in forcing the enemy to assume aggressive tactics, the
campaign was practically decided.

On the 31st, as Sherman's left wing, we held the Macon Railway at
Rough-and-Ready Station, Howard, as right wing, was across Flint
River, closing in on Jonesboro, whilst the centre under Thomas
filled the interval. Hood had sent Hardee with his own and Lee's
(late Hood's) corps to defeat what was supposed to be a detachment
of two corps of Sherman's army, and a sharp affair had occurred at
the Flint River crossing, where Howard succeeded in maintaining his
position on the east side. On hearing of our occupation of
Rough-and-Ready, Hood jumped to the conclusion that it was
preliminary to an attack on Atlanta from the south, and ordered
Lee's corps to march in the night and rejoin him at once. Getting a
better idea of the situation before morning, he stopped Lee and
prepared to evacuate Atlanta. On September 1st Sherman closed in on
Jonesboro, his latest information indicating that two corps of the
enemy were assembled there. Late in the day he learned of the
disappearance of Lee's corps, but assumed that Hood was assembling
somewhere near. He tried hard to concentrate his forces to prevent
Hardee's escape, but his scattered army could not be united till

In the night Hood blew up the ordnance stores at Atlanta, and
hastening to join Lee by roads east of Sherman's positions, he
marched on Lovejoy Station. Hardee evacuated Jonesboro also, and
before morning the Confederate army was assembled again upon the
railroad, five miles nearer to Macon. Atlanta was occupied by the
Twentieth Corps on the 2d, and Sherman ordered his army to return to
the vicinity of that city for a period of rest. Hood's conduct for
the past three days had been the result of complete misapprehension
of the facts; but its very eccentricity had been so incomprehensible
that no rule of military probabilities could be applied to it, and
before Sherman could learn what he was doing, the time had passed
when full advantage could be taken of his errors.

The condition of Hood's army at the close of the campaign was
anything but satisfactory to him. His theory was that his offensive
tactics would keep up the spirit and energy of his men and
constantly improve their _morale_. When he found that they were, on
the contrary, discouraged and despondent, and could not be induced
to repeat the assaults upon our positions which had followed each
other so rapidly in the last days of July, he querulously laid the
blame at the door of his subordinates. He called the attack upon
Howard's advance at Flint River "a disgraceful effort" because only
1485 were wounded, and asked to have Hardee relieved and sent
elsewhere. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp.
1021, 1023, 1030. Hardee had before asked to be relieved. (_Id_.,
pp. 987, 988.) For Hood's final, urgent request and the result, see
vol. xxxix. pt. ii. pp. 832, 880, 881.] True, he had telegraphed
Hardee that the necessity was imperative that the National troops
should be driven into and across the river, and that the men must go
at them with bayonets fixed; but it was his own old corps, now under
Lieutenant-General S. D. Lee, that made the principal attack and was
repulsed. Lee was not one of the officers who might be presumed to
be discontented with Johnston's removal, but had been brought from
the Department of Mississippi, at Hood's suggestion, to take the
corps when the latter was promoted, and had won Davis's admiration
by his zeal. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 892, and vol. lii. pt. ii. p.
713.] It would be hard to find better proof that the trouble lay in
the consciousness of the men in the line that they were asked to lay
down their lives without a reasonable hope of benefit to their
cause. The discouragement pervaded the whole army, and is seen in
Hood's own dispatches hardly less than in others. [Footnote: Hood to
Davis, September 3, two dispatches, _Id_., vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p.
1016. In another, p. 1017, he repeated an earlier suggestion to
remove the prisoners from Andersonville. When Johnston had done
this, it was made one of the charges against him. See Davis to Lee,
_Id_., vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 692. For Hardee's opinion of the
situation, see _Id_., vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 1018.] In a labored
letter to Bragg on September 4th, he unconsciously shows how his own
total misunderstanding of Sherman's movements was the prime cause of
his disaster, whilst the shame at the result leads him to charge it
upon others. As to the spirit of the army, nobody has given more
telling testimony, for he says, "I am officially informed that there
is a tacit if not expressed determination among the men of this
army, extending to officers as high in some instances as colonel,
that they will not attack breastworks." [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 730. This letter seems to have come to light
since the first publication of the records of the campaign, and is
found in the supplemental volume.]

In the correspondence between Johnston and the Confederate
government regarding the numerical force of his army, he naturally
emphasized his inferiority to Sherman in numbers as an explanation
of his cautious defensive tactics and his retreating movements. The
introduction into the Southern returns of a column of "effectives"
as distinguished from the number of officers and men "present for
duty," [Footnote: _Ante_, vol. i. p. 482.] led to a habitual
underestimate by their commanding officers. On several occasions
Johnston defended his conduct of the campaign by asserting that his
army was less than half the size of Sherman's, [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 795.] and this necessarily led to
an examination of his returns. These regular numerical reports are
of course the ultimate authority in all disputes, and we find the
Richmond government doing just what the historian has to
do,--comparing the estimates of the general with his official
returns. Officers of all grades and of the highest character fall
into the error of memory which modifies facts according to one's
wish and feeling. Thus at the beginning of this campaign we find
General Bragg, speaking for the President, saying that General
Polk's "estimates and his official returns vary materially."
[Footnote: _Id._, vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 659.] Nobody could be freer
from intentional misstatement than the good bishop-general. We find
the same discrepancies at the East as well as the West. Lee,
Jackson, Longstreet, and their subordinates fall into the same
error. It is therefore the canon of all criticism on this subject,
that nothing but the statistical returns in the adjutant-general's
office shall be received as proofs of numbers, though, of course,
the returns must be read intelligently.

Conscious of straining every nerve to reinforce the great armies in
the field, Mr. Davis naturally asked what it meant when the army in
Georgia was said to be so weak. General Bragg assisted him with an
analysis of Johnston's last returns. Writing on June 29th, he refers
to the last regular return, that of June 10th, which is the same now
published in the Official Records. In using it, therefore, we agree
with the Confederate government at the time in making it conclusive.
It shows that Johnston's army had present for duty 6538 officers and
63,408 enlisted men, or, in round numbers, was 70,000 strong.
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 805; _Id_.,
pt. iii. p. 677.] The "effectives" are given as 60,564; but this, as
we know, is the result of subtracting the number of the officers and
non-commissioned staff from the aggregate present for duty. But in
addition to the troops named, Bragg very properly adds that Johnston
"has at Atlanta a supporting force of reserves and militia,
estimated at from 7000 to 10,000 effective men, half of whom were
actually with Johnston near Marietta." We thus have from Confederate
authorities the proof that the army was nearly 80,000 strong on June
10th, after the first month of the campaign had closed, including
the engagements at Dalton, Resaca, New Hope Church, Dallas, and
Pickett's Mill.

To complete the examination of the same return, it is necessary to
notice that the "aggregate present" is given at 82,413, or 12,500
more than the "present for duty." This includes "extra-duty men,"
such as clerks at headquarters of the organizations from Johnston's
own down to brigades and regiments, men permanently detailed for any
special service, men in arrest, etc. [Footnote: Hood's dispatch of
September 5, _Id_., pt. v. p. 1021; and his Order No. 19, vol.
xxxix. pt. ii. p. 835.] It is here that good administration in an
army seeks to reduce the number of those who are withdrawn from the
fighting ranks, and to make the "aggregate present" agree as closely
as possible with the "present for duty." I shall presently note the
result of such an effort.

Sherman's return of "present for duty" on May 31st, just after Blair
had joined him with the Seventeenth Corps, was the largest of the
campaign, being 112,819. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii.
pt. i. p. 117.] By the end of June it was reduced to 106,070, when
Johnston's was 59,196 without the reserves and militia. [Footnote:
_Id._, pt. iii. p. 679.]

When Hood assumed the command, Bragg visited the army a second time,
and gave new impulse to the effort to increase its effective force.
On July 27th, in a very full report to Mr. Davis, he says, "the
increase by the arrival of extra-duty men and convalescents, etc.,
is about 5000, and more are coming in daily. The return of the 1st
of August will show a gratifying state of affairs." [Footnote:
_Id._, vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 714.] This promise was fulfilled when
that return showed a diminution in the "present for duty," since the
10th of the month, of only 7403, [Footnote: _Id._, vol. xxxviii. pt.
iii. p. 680.] although the period included the bloody engagements of
Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, and Ezra Church.

The Confederate conscription included the whole able-bodied
population, and details as for extra duty were the means by which
physicians, clergymen, civilian office-holders, etc., were exempted
from service in the army. These lists were rigidly scrutinized, and
the laxity which had grown was corrected as far as possible. The
aggregate of Hood's army, "present and absent," on August 1st, was
135,000, though his "aggregate present" was only 65,000. [Footnote:
_Ibid._] It included, of course, prisoners of war, deserters, and
men otherwise missing, besides the class last mentioned. The extent
to which the efforts to bring back absentees succeeded, is shown by
the return for September 20th, when the aggregate of the "present
and absent" falls to 123,000, [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 637.] though the "present for duty" are almost
as numerous as at the end of July. The difference of 12,000 shows
how many were added to the army in this way, and these are in
addition to the thousands which Bragg spoke of as gained by
transferring non-combatants present with the army to the list of
those present for duty.

It is only by examining Hood's returns in this way that they become
intelligible, for his rolls of those present for duty hardly
diminish at all during the whole month of August, being 51,793 on
the 1st, 51,946 on the 10th, and 51,141 on the 31st. [Footnote:
_Id_., pp. 680-683.] On September 10th he reports 46,149, and on the
20th 47,431, the first of these returns including his losses in the
final combats of the campaign and the fall of Atlanta, and the
latter indicating a gain by the exchange of prisoners with General
Sherman. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xxxix. pt. ii. pp. 828, 850.] By
ignoring all the additions to his fighting force from the sources
which I have enumerated, Hood was able to claim that his total
losses while in command of the army were 5247. [Footnote: _Id_.,
vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 636.] The absurdity was indicated by
Hardee, who replied in his official report that the losses in his
own corps, which was only one third of the army, "considerably
exceeded 7000" during the same period. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 702.]

Sherman's returns show a steady diminution of his available numbers
during July and August, though, as he himself has said, it was not
altogether from casualties on the battlefield and the diseases of
the camp. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 134.] The term of service
of all the troops enlisted in the spring and summer of 1861 for
three years was now ended, and an interval occurred in which the new
levies under the law to enforce the draft had not yet reached the
field, and the army was depleted by the return home of the regiments
which had not "veteranized" in the last winter. He had present for
duty, on July 31st, 91,675 officers and men; on August 31st, 81,758.
Sherman's statement of his losses in battle and his comparison of
them with his opponents is a model of candor and fairness. With the
light we now have, he might properly have increased considerably his
estimate of Johnston's casualties. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. ii. pp.

General Hood was quite right in arguing, in his memoirs, that the
wounded in a campaign are not all a permanent loss to an army,
"since almost all the slightly wounded, proud of their scars, soon
return to the ranks." [Footnote: Advance and Retreat, p. 217.] But
what I have said above shows that he was entirely astray when he
concluded that the difference in the returns of his effective force
at the beginning and end of the campaign would show the number of
killed and permanently disabled. The absence of data as to the
additions to his field force through the means which I have
analyzed, shows how absurd a result was drawn from his premises. The
reports of casualties are not unfrequently faulty, but with all
their faults they would be much more valuable if a complete series
existed which could be compared and tested. It would require a
minute examination of all returns, from companies to divisions, to
determine accurately how many men returned to duty after being
wounded or captured. The imperfect state of the Confederate archives
would prevent this, if it were otherwise practicable. The
statistical returns are conclusive for what they actually give, but
inferences from them must be drawn with care. As an illustration (in
addition to those already given) it may be noted that the
Confederate cavalry made no returns of casualties or losses, and
they do not appear at all in the Medical Director's report which
General Hood makes the basis of his own assertions. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 687.] How grave an
omission this is will be partly seen from the fact that Wheeler's
corps, which reported 8000 men present for duty on August 1st (the
last return made), was in such condition when he reached Tuscumbia
after the raid in the rear of Sherman's army, that its
adjutant-general doubted if more than 1000 men could be got
together. [Footnote: Letter of General Forrest to General Taylor,
Sept. 20, 1864, Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 859.]

The use of the cavalry in "raids," which were the fashion, was an
amusement that was very costly to both sides. Since Stuart's ride
round McClellan's army in 1862, every cavalry commander, National
and Confederate, burned to distinguish himself by some such
excursion deep into the enemy's country, and chafed at the
comparatively obscured but useful work of learning the detailed
positions and movements of the opposing army by incessant outpost
and patrol work in the more restricted theatre of operations of the

From Chattanooga to the Chattahoochee, good work was done by
Stoneman and McCook in scouting upon the front and flanks of the
army, and by Colonel Lowe in vigilant guard of the railway close in
rear of Sherman's movements; but the use of mounted troops in mass
was not satisfactory, and as to the raids on both sides, the game
was never worth the candle. Men and horses were used up, wholesale,
without doing any permanent damage to the enemy, and never reached
that training of horse and man which might have been secured by
steady and systematic attention to their proper duties. Forrest, of
the Confederates, was the only cavalry officer whom Sherman thought
at all formidable, and he showed his high estimate of him by
offering, in his sweeping way, to secure the promotion of the
officer who should defeat and kill him. In another form he expressed
the same idea, by saying he would swap all the cavalry officers he
had for Forrest. [Footnote: The matter took an odd turn, when on the
report that General Mower had defeated Forrest in West Tennessee and
that the brilliant cavalry leader had fallen in the action, Mower
got his promotion, but it turned out that it was Forrest's brother,
a colonel, who was killed--"a horse of another color." Mower,
however, was worthy of promotion "on general principles." See
Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 471; vol. xxxix. pt. i. p.
228; _Id_., pt. ii. pp. 130, 142, 219, 233.]

High as was the National estimate of the importance of Sherman's
campaign, Southern men rated it and its consequences quite as high
as we did. In the conferences at Richmond, at which Mr. Hill had
represented the strong desire of Governor Brown and General Johnston
for reinforcements, Mr. Davis had made his apprehension of the
disastrous results which would follow the loss of Atlanta the reason
of his urgency for a more aggressive campaign. In closing the
interviews, Mr. Seddon, the Secretary of War, and Mr. Hill showed
their sense of the importance of the crisis by exchanging letters
which were diplomatic memoranda of the conversations. Mr. Hill
repeated his conviction that the fate of the Confederacy hung upon
the campaign. He said that the failure of Johnston's army involved
that of Lee; that not only Atlanta but Richmond must fall; not only
Georgia but all the States would be overrun; that all hopes of
possible foreign recognition would be destroyed; in short, that "all
is lost by Sherman's success, and all is gained by Sherman's
defeat." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 706.]
Governor Brown had accompanied Mr. Hill's effort by a dispatch in
which he declared that Atlanta was to the Confederacy "almost as
important as the heart is to the human body." [Footnote: _Id_., p.
680.] So far from taking exception to these strong expressions, Mr.
Davis based his action in regard to General Johnston upon the
absolute necessity of a military policy in Georgia, which would hold
Atlanta at all hazards. When the city fell, the whole South as well
as the North knew that a decisive step had been taken toward the
defeat of the rebellion.



Position of the Army of the Ohio at Decatur--Refitting for a new
campaign--Depression of Hood's army--Sherman's reasons for a
temporary halt--Fortifying Atlanta as a new base--Officers detailed
for the political campaign--Schofield makes inspection tour of his
department--My temporary command of the Army of the Ohio--Furloughs
and leaves of absence--Promotions of several colonels--General
Hascall resigns--Staff changes--My military family--Anecdote of
Lieutenant Tracy--Discipline of the army--Sensitiveness to approval
or blame--Illustration--Example of skirmishing advance--Sufferings
of non-combatants within our lines--A case in point--Pillaging and
its results--Citizens passing through the lines--"The rigors of the
climate"--Visit of Messrs. Hill and Foster--McPherson's death--The
loss to Sherman and to the army--His personal traits--Appointment of
his successor.

At the close of the first week in September the Army of the Ohio
encamped at Decatur, and prepared for a month's rest. My division
took position on the east of the little town, Hascall's on the
south, and our division of cavalry under Colonel Israel Garrard was
east of us, with outposts and patrols watching the roads in that
direction as far as Stone Mountain. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 828.] The Army of the Cumberland was
encamped about Atlanta itself, and the Army of the Tennessee was at
East Point. As Sherman cheerily announced in general orders, we
might expect "to organize, receive pay, replenish clothing, and
prepare for a fine winter's campaign." [Footnote: _Id._, p. 801.]

It was of course probable that Hood would use the interval, which
was even more welcome to him than to us, in similar preparation for
resuming the struggle, though the resources of the Confederacy were
so strained that the Treasury was in debt to the soldiers for ten
months' pay. He told the government that "it would be of vast
benefit to have this army paid," [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. v. p. 1027.] but this expressed his desire rather than
a hope. Depression reigned in his camps about Lovejoy's Station, of
which the name was a mockery. Dissent was rife among his general
officers, and with the whole army he had lost prestige by the costly
failure of his campaign. A period of rest might relieve the
discouragement somewhat, and stringent means were to be used to
bring absentees and conscripts to the ranks. Hardee was transferred
to Savannah; Mackall, Johnston's devoted friend, was removed from
the head of the staff, and other changes of organization were made
with a view to give Hood the men of his own choice in important
positions. [Footnote: These were mostly in accordance with Hood's
recommendations to General Bragg when the latter visited him at the
end of July. See Bragg to Davis, _Id._, vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 713.]

Sherman was fully aware that he would have many advantages in
pushing after Hood at once, but besides his army's real need of
rest, he was clear in his judgment that he must, at this stage of
affairs, prepare for a campaign on a great scale to be continued
through the winter till great results should be achieved. If the
line of operations was to be extended toward Mobile, as was
contemplated by General Grant at the opening of the campaign, or if
Hood should retreat toward the east, in either case he must make
Atlanta a fortified base. Experience had proven that his long line
of communications was liable to interruption, and would be still
more so as he penetrated further into Georgia. He must have a
well-supplied and well-protected depot in the same relations to the
next forward movement that Chattanooga had been to the campaign just
finished. He wanted to get his share of the drafted men under the
conscription law now in operation, to fill up the places of
regiments whose terms had expired, and to be assured that Canby from
New Orleans would co-operate in a settled plan. He was already
revolving in his mind other problems which Hood might possibly open
for solution; but the probability seemed strong that the Confederate
army would bar the way to his advance, and must be beaten and driven
back again. His first task, therefore, was to prepare Atlanta for
his uses. "I want it," he said, "a pure Gibraltar, and will have it
so by October 1st." [Footnote: Dispatch to Halleck, September 9th.
See also that of September 4th, in which his ideas were fully
outlined. Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 794, 839.] This
use of the town made it necessary to remove the resident citizens,
sending north those who were loyal and ordering south those who
adhered to the Confederacy. As a fortified depot must be ready for a
siege, trade and free intercourse with the surrounding country could
not go on. The inhabitants, therefore, would be dependent on the
army for food, their industries must cease, and it was more merciful
to them, as well as a military necessity, to send them away.
[Footnote: Sherman to Hood, _Id_., p. 822.]

The temporary interruption of active campaigning was eagerly seized
upon as an opportunity for leaves of absence by those whose private
and family affairs urgently called for attention. The presidential
campaign was on, and in consultation with Governor Morton of
Indiana, Secretary Stanton selected half a dozen officers from that
State, which was politically a doubtful one, to vary their labors in
the field by "stumping the State" for a month. The form of the
request indicates the feeling as to the character of the civil
contest. "In view," said the Secretary, "of the armed organizations
against the Government of the United States that have been made
throughout the State of Indiana and are now in active operation in
the campaign for Jefferson Davis, this department deems it expedient
that the officers named should have leave to go home, provided they
can be spared without injury to the service." [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 802. Among these appears the name
of Colonel Benjamin Harrison, 70th Indiana, afterward President.
Sherman's characteristic reply was sent from camp near Jonesboro, on
6th September: "The officers named in your dispatch of the 5th will
be ordered to report to the Governor of Indiana for special duty, as
soon as I return to Atlanta, which will be in a day or two unless
the enemy shows fight, which I am willing to accept on his own terms
if he will come outside of his cursed rifle-trenches." _Id_., p.
809. I don't recall any other instance of a regular military detail
for a political campaign.] Generals Logan and Blair also went North
for similar work in Illinois and Missouri.

In the middle of September General Schofield left the army for a
time, to visit Knoxville and Louisville, within his department, on
official business, and extended his absence for a brief reunion with
his family north of the Ohio. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xxxix. pt. ii.
p. 379; pt. iii. p. 10.] This left me in command of the Army of the
Ohio, and Hood's later movement upon our communications prevented
Schofield's return till the end of our active campaign in October. A
liberal issue of furloughs to enlisted men, especially convalescents
in hospital, was made, so that we might get them back in robust
health and good spirits when the fall campaign should open. General
Hascall resigned and left us, and the command of his division passed
to General Joseph A. Cooper, who had been promoted from the
colonelcy of the Sixth East Tennessee. My own division was
temporarily commanded by General James W. Reilly, who had been
promoted on my recommendation from the colonelcy of the One Hundred
and Fourth Ohio. Hascall had commanded his division with marked
ability throughout the campaign, but had become discouraged by the
evidences that he need expect no recognition from the Indiana
governor, [Footnote: See _ante_, vol. i. pp. 406, 485; vol. ii. p.
253.] whose influence was potent if not omnipotent in the promotion
of Indiana officers. The recently announced promotion of Hovey over
him seemed to him equivalent to an invitation to resign, and he
acted upon it.

The resting-spell at Decatur was the natural time for such changes
in organization as had become necessary. The death of my
adjutant-general, Captain Saunders, in June, made it necessary to
fill that very important position, and my aide, Lieutenant Theodore
Cox, was promoted to it. His regiment (the Eleventh Ohio) was just
completing its term of enlistment, and he would be mustered out of
service with it, unless a new appointment were given him, fairly
won, as it had been, by two years of meritorious service. My request
was so cordially backed by Generals Schofield and Sherman that there
was no hesitation at Washington, and I secured for the rest of the
war an invaluable assistant, whose system, accuracy, and neat
methods made the business of my headquarters go on most

My inspector-general, Lieutenant-Colonel Sterling, felt obliged to
resign for business reasons connected with events in his father's
family, and I had to part with another faithful friend and able
officer. As the adjutant-general is the centre of the formal
organization, keeping its records, carrying on its correspondence,
and formulating the orders of his chief, so the inspector-general is
the organ of discipline and of soldierly instruction as well as the
superintendent of the outpost and picket duty, which makes him the
guardian of the camp and the head of the intelligence service when
no special organization of the latter is made. He should be one of
the most intelligent officers of the command, and a model of
soldierly conduct. It was no easy thing to fill Colonel Sterling's
place, but I was fortunate in the selection of Major Dow of the One
Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, a quiet, modest man, a thorough
disciplinarian of clear and strong intellect, and of that perfect
self-possession which is proof against misjudgment in the most
sudden and terrifying occurrences.

I had brought with me from East Tennessee, as my chief of artillery,
Major Wells, who had commanded an Illinois battery, and who directed
the artillery service of the division with great success. My medical
director was Surgeon-Major Frink, of Indiana, who, though he took
the position by virtue of his seniority in the division medical
staff, was as acceptable as if I had chosen him with fullest
knowledge of his qualifications. The topographer was Lieutenant
Scofield of the One Hundred and Third Ohio, educated in civil
engineering, and indefatigable in collecting the data by which to
correct the wretched maps which were our only help in understanding
the theatre of operations. He was a familiar figure at the outposts,
on his steadily ambling nag, armed with his prismatic compass, his
odometer, and his sketch-book. The division commissary of
subsistence was Captain Hentig, a faithful and competent officer who
worked in full accord with Captain Day, the energetic quartermaster
who had come with me over the mountains the preceding year.

A general officer's aides-de-camp are usually his most intimate
associates in the military family, and were sometimes selected with
too much regard to their social qualities. Those of a major-general
were appointed on his nomination, but a brigadier-general must
detail the two allowed him, from the lieutenants in his command.
When commanding a division, custom allowed him to detail a third.
They were the only officers technically called the personal staff,
the others being officers of the several staff corps, or merely
detailed from regiments to do temporary duty. Thus, no
inspector-general was allowed to a brigadier, but when commanding a
division or other organization larger than a brigade, he was
permitted to detail an officer of the line for the very necessary
and responsible duty. The aides are authorized to carry oral orders
and to explain them, to call for and to bring oral reports, and as
the general's confidential and official representatives they should
be of the most intelligent and soldierly men of their grade. All the
other staff officers may be called upon to act as aides when it is
necessary, but these are _ex officio_ the ordinary go-betweens, and,
if fit for their work, are as cordially welcomed and almost as much
at home with the brigade commanders as with their own chief.

My senior aide, after my brother's promotion, was Lieutenant
Coughlan of the Twenty-fourth Kentucky, a handsome young Irishman of
very humble origin, to whom the military service had been the
revelation of his own powers and a noble inspiration. He was lithe
and well set up, though by no means a dandy; would spring at call
for any duty, by night or by day, and delighted the more in his
work, the more perilous or arduous it was. He was captured in the
last days of our operations about Atlanta; [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 623.] but the exchange of prisoners
negotiated by Sherman gave me the opportunity to secure his return
after a month's captivity and imprisonment at Charleston. Two months
later he died heroically in the battle of Franklin. [Footnote:
_Id_., vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 356.]

Lieutenant Bradley of the Sixty-fifth Illinois was second on the
list, an excellent officer who was competent and ready to assist the

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