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The same day on which the Twenty-third corps effected the crossing of the river (the eighth), Colonel Garrard's cavalry also crossed at Roswell, but about an hour later than this corps Having marched rapidly, the day before, upon the large cotton factory at that point, he took it altogether by surprise, destroying a vast quantity of army canvas, which was extensively manufactured there, and taking captive four hundred factory girls. The latter capture was certainly a novel one in the history of wars, and excited not a little discussion as to the disposition which was proper to be made of the fair captives. Giving" aid and comfort to the enemy" they most assuredly were, and much valuable tent-cloth; but in the case of many of them, it was an involuntary service, since they had been confined and compelled to labor there without cessation from the breaking out of the rebellion. Then, too, the cartel makes no provisions touching the exchange of prisoners of this sort; neither would it do to send them across the lines to their former employers, since they would immediately be set to the manufacture of tents again; nor was it at all safe to discharge them unconditionally in the midst of two great armies, many of them far removed from their friends and helpless. Thus red tape was about to become involved in a hopeless entanglement with crinoline, tent-cloth, and cartels, when General Sherman interposed and solved the knotty question by loading them into one hundred and ten wagons, and sending them to Marietta, to be sent north of the Ohio, and set at liberty. Only think of it! Four hundred weeping and terrified Ellens, Susans, and Maggies transported in the springless and seatless army wagons, away from their lovers and brothers of the sunny South, and all for the offence of weaving tentcloth and spinning stocking-yarn! However, I leave the whole business to be adjudged according to its merits by your readers.
July 9-The Twenty-third corps having crossed the river the evening before, and thrown up a small semi-circle of such works as they could construct in the darkness and thickets, began with the earliest light to extend the lines of defence to embrace a much wider area, and selected eligible sites for placing the artillery. Every preparation was made to meet the largest force the enemy could bring against them, though no demonstration was made during the day. They were sufficiently occupied watching our right, fourteen miles below, and could spare no force to attempt the dislodgement of the corps.
During the day Colonel Sherman, Chief of Staff to General Howard, was taken prisoner in the following manner: He was riding out entirely unattended except by an orderly, and passed over a portion of the road which our pickets had occupied the day before, but from which they had been withdrawn in the night without the Colonel's knowledge. Expecting to meet them, he rode out on a reconnoissance, and before he was aware of it, was right in the
midst of the rebel pickets, who took him without giving a shot. His fate was unknown until the rebel pickets called across the river to ours that they had got "old Sherman." From this it was supposed he was unhurt, and was mistakeu by the soldiers for the General.
Just below the infantry forces of the Army of the Ohio is stationed a small body of cavalry, connecting between the Fourth and Twenty third corps, a part of which is Colonel Jim Brownlow's regiment of East Tennesseeans. Opposite this regiment, the river makes a short bend around a narrow point of land, on which the rebels kept a small picket of observation. These fellows had annoyed the Colonel's men in their bathing and foraging operations, and he determined either to dislodge or capture them. Accordingly, he ordered a few men to strip themselves, and with their cartridge-boxes tied about their necks, to ford the river in front of the rebels and attack them. This they did, directly in the face of a galling fire, and while they thus attracted the rebels' attention, the Colonel, at the head of seven men, crossed in a canoe above, came in the rear of the picket, and succeeded in taking three of them. The remaining nine fled into the thickets, and made good their escape.
It will be gratiying to the friends of the Colonel to learn that he has lately been mustered in as the Colonel of the regiment, having previously held the position of Lieutenant-Colonel.
July 10.-The announcement which I made in a previous letter, that the rebels had crossed all their forces over the river in our front, was (to use the words of General Sherman) " premature." They had at the time disappeared entirely in front of the Fourth and Fourteenth corps, but Hood's corps defiantly maintained a hold upon this side, in front of the Twentieth and Fifteenth corps, until the night of the ninth. But the pressure upon them from our artillery gradually became too heavy, and on that night they withdrew finally and fully to the south bank of the Chattahoochee, and in the morning the smoke of the railroad bridge in flames was visible to the entire army. As soon as it was certainly ascertained that they had crossed, orders were issued for the Fourth corps to march at once up the river and take up a position on the north bank, ready to support the Twenty-third corps, in case they should be attacked, as was expected they would be. This morning the corps is in camp at this ford, with the exception of General Newton's division, which marched to Roswell and crossed the river there on the ninth, at two o'clock in the afternoon. One corps also, of the Army of the Tennessee (I cannot learn which), had made a circuitous march to the rear and left, and is probably across the river this morning, at a point about ten miles above here.
Thus, it will be seen that the army is slowly executing another great flanking movementthis time to the left, as the previous two had been to the right. The entire success with
REBELLION RECORD, 1862-65.
which it has been attended thus far is made the Army of the Tennessee on the left, moved out more brilliant and gratifying by the fact that, from the positio is they had held for a week, on as yet, not a single life, so far as I can learn, the south bank of the river; the former at Ishhas been lost in crossing the river-that river am's Ford, and the latter at Roswell, ten miles which was to be made so bloody and fearful to above. Advancing with a vew to forming a us by the desperation of its defenders. Two of junction as soon as possible, the Twenty-third the attempts made by us-that on the right and corps moved out on a road running east, while the one in the centre-have been unsuccessful, General McPherson's corps proceeded along the though unattended with loss of life, because so Atlanta road, south. About noon, General Hascautiously made. The attempt to cross on the call's division debouched to the right, on a road right was made first. The entire Army of the running south-east, and soon after the signalTennessee was massed near the river, above officers announced that General McPherson was Sweetwater's factory, about five miles below near, and in a short time he opened communithe railroad bridge, and, on the sixth, the pon- cation on the left of the Twenty-third. Altoon train attached to that army was sent down though it was not expected that we should find within a short distance of the river, and a can- any substantial force of the enemy this side of nonade was opened upon the opposite bank, to Peach-tree creek, a stream running west about ascertain if it were practicable to cross at that five miles north of Atlanta, still it was necespoint. The enemy were discovered to be in sary to advance with caution for fear of a surtoo strong force, and too well strengthened by prise. The columns moved slowly, with skirartillery to allow the crossing without great mishers deployed on either side of the roads to sacrifice of life. On the sixth of July the pon-beat about for ambuscades, and an occasional toon train attached to the Army of the Cumber-shell was pitched into suspicious woods and land, commanded by Colonel Buell, of the Fifty-ridges. No response was elicited, however, nor eighth Indiana, was brought down within three quarters of a mile of the river, in front of the Fourth corps, but here again the enemy were awaiting us, and our cannon elicited such replies as made it plainly evident that the crossing should not be attempted there.
On the evening of the sixth, the train was withdrawn to a position a few miles in rear of this ford, where it remained over the seventh, and arrived here in the afternoon of the eighth, in time for the Twenty-third corps to cross that evening, as has been heretofore narrated. Fortunately, our superiority in numbers enabled us to leave large bodies of men at the points where we had previously attempted to cross, who made such demonstrations there as induced the rebels to believe we still intended to attempt to cross, while we sent others still further up the river, who reached above the rebel line, and crossed without opposition. To me it seems a great mistake on the part of the rebels to cross the river in detail, as they did, instead of making the passage with their entire army simultaneously, and deploying at once to the greatest possible extent along the banks, to oppose all attempts. Still, it was only a question of time, since the Chattahoochee is too narrow and too shallow to form an obstacle to an enterprising General and a great army.
July 17.-This portion of the army has at length entered upon the last stage of its victorious advance from Chattanooga to Atlanta; that between the Chattahoochee river and the city. The progress through this interval will constitute a distinct campaign; it is now fully inaugurated, and there is little to induce the belief that it will consume as much time, or cost as much effort and life, as did the last one, from Kenesaw Mountain to the Chattahoochee.
Early on the morning of the seventeenth, the Army of the Ohio, holding the centre, and the
anything seen except flying scouts of cavalry, in bodies of from two to six, until about the middle of the afternoon, when a body of cavalry was discovered in an open field at a distance, drawn up in line of battle. Citizens brigades of cavalry had been there the day found along the road and questioned, said three before, but hearing that General Stoneman was getting in their rear, two of them had left. It was evident, then, that their force was small, though it stretched thinly over an extent of a mile and a half. They had four pieces of artillery in position, and threw a few shells at us, which were replied to by a section on our part. But their cavalry could make no head against the rattling musketry fire of our skirmishers. The range of their carbines was too short, and as soon as our line approached them so that the bullets from our long-range guns began to whistle about them, they were compelled to withdraw, artillery and all. No body of men can stand long against a fire which they are entirely unable to return. These did not, but fled precipitately. What loss we inflicted cannot be told; our own was so slight as scarcely to deserve mention-one man in the Sixth Tennessee slightly wounded.
These operations had consumed the time, so five miles during the day; headquarters moved that the line advanced perhaps no more than about four. The line of march which the two armies had pursued brought General McPherson's line at right-angles with that of General Schofield's, the latter running east and west.
diverging road, had become detached from the
is a compromise between hilly and rolling; the
soil is sandy and filled with great quantities of sharp fragments of flint and granite, though it appears to be productive. The growth of tim ber is heavy, and the crops of corn are good and in advanced state of forwardness. The young ears are in some cases within a week's growth of " roasting" ears, and another fortnight of such beautiful combining of sunshine and rain as we are now having will put the army in the way of good living on the best of the country.
All that can be found in the country through which we pass are women and children, with occasionally an old man who skipped their draft, and very rarely one in the prime of life who has eluded it by keeping the woods. Scarcely more than half the houses are occupied by any one, and negroes are as rarely to be met with as in the North. At a house where some of our officers halted a few minutes, the women told them that several of their neighbors had gone to Atlanta to invest all their money in tobacco, intending to return at *once and offer their supplies to our soldiers as they came up. They are sure of a good market and good pay, if only they are permitted to return, and the profits they will realize by selling tobacco bought cheap for "whitebacks," at a very high price in "greenbacks," can readily be imagined.
ONE MIE NORTH OF DECATUR, July 19, 1864.
After the Twenty-third corps effected a junction with the command of General McPherson, on the evening of the seventeenth, the direction of the march was slightly changed, by the Twenty-third taking the main road to Decatur, and the left a parallel road about five miles east of the other. Early in the morning of the eighteenth, the order came to break camp and be on the march. The cavalry of the enemy still hovered about our vanguard, as on the day before, throwing up barricades of fence-rails across the roads, from behind which they offered a feeble resistance to our approach. The history of the day's operations was but a duplicate of the day before-a slow and cautious, but almost uninterrupted march forward, with a regiment or so deployed in front as skirmishers, who, when the rebel cavalry grew too audacious, and presumed to return their fire too long, halted a little, till a shot or two from the artillery could be lodged in the rebel lines, causing them invariably to run away at once. Very few, if any, were wounded, and they but slightly. About noon, the Twenty-third crossed Nance's Creek, at a point twelve miles north-east from Atlanta, and pushed steadily on, over a rather broken and uncultivated tract of country, abounding in pine thickets and scrub-oaks. Soon after noon, Garrard's cavalry, on the left of General McPherson, struck the Atlanta and Charleston Railroad, between Stone Mountain and Decatur, and was immediately followed by the infantry division of General M. L. Smith,
which tore up the track so that the down train at three o'clock was obliged to return to Atlanta. General Sherman's, as well as General Schofield's headquarters, were pitched for the night, on a line of railroad which the rebels had begun to construct, from Decatur to Roswell Factory and Merritt's Paper Mills, on Soapes' creek, but had abandoned as soon as our forces gained possession of Marietta.
July 19.-Every thing was again under way at an early hour, moving down the Decatur road. Unless General Joe Johnston made objections, it was intended to push the army through to Decatur that day-nine miles. Still our forces met no serious opposition, nor found any enemy in their front, save a small squad occasionally, as before, of fugacious cavalry. At Peach-tree creek, which afforded in its deep ravines good opportunity for stubborn resist ance, it had been confidently expected the enemy would be found at last. But no. They still cling to Atlanta, and continue to look out of its front windows, in the vain hope that we will impale ourselves upon their formidable defences, while they slaughter us at will, and all the while we are marching steadily around for its back door.
The Fifteenth corps led the advance of the Army of the Tennessee down the road, converging gradually toward Decatur, with the Eighth Missouri and Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry deployed in front as skirmishers; General Hascall's division took the front of the Twentythird, with Colonel Swayne's brigade as skirmishers. Nothing but cavalry in front still. Rebel papers of the eighteenth were brought in early in the day, announcing the removal of Johnston from command of the rebel army, and his supersedure by Hood. The men are not alarmed at all by the news of this change, but seem rather inclined to regard it as favorable to our progress.
At a house by the road-side, seven miles from Atlanta, a woman was found who had just returned from marketing in Atlanta, and who reported the families as removing their furniture and valuables in great haste. At another house a young man was found who had just sucoedeed in evading the conscription from under age, and he reported that all heads of families had left the city to remove their negroes and property to a secure place, leaving their families to be brought away at the last hour. He stated also that the entire works around the city consisted of a rifle-pit encircling the city at the distance of a mile from the centre, and four pieces of artillery planted on every road coming into the city.
About a mile above Decatur, the skirmish line was stopped by a rather sharp fire from the dismounted cavalry, and a section of the Nineteenth Ohio battery was brought up to their aid. A considerable group of rebels could be distinctly seen standing just in the edge of a piece of woods, and the gun was carefully sighted and the first shell dropped right in their
midst. We afterward learned that it killed two rebel officers, one of them, a Captain, being left in a house in Decatur. This put them to flight at once, and the artillery rapidly followed up a little distance and lodged a few shells close about the village, and then Colonel Swayne's brigade pushed rapidly forward and entered Decatur close upon the heels of the flying rebels. So impetuous was their onset that the rebel citizens who were disposed to flee had barely time to get themselves off, without carrying away any considerable amount of their goods. Half of the families had gone, and a great portion of those who remained were women and children. A solitary family alone showed signs of approbation by waving handkerchiefs on our arrival; all the rest were impudent and defiant, or sullen and little disposed to answer questions. A provost guard was stationed at once at every principal place where booty could have been procured, and all pillaging and unwarranted license was repressed. The main captures of property were about five hundred coffee-pots, which had accumulated in a small tin-store, as, doubtless, the rebels had little use for them, and a box or two of laces.
Decatur is rather a pretty country village, well shaded with trees, and wearing a somewhat ancient air, as though fashioned according to the idea of a half-century past.
July 20, 4.30 A. M.-The army has lain perfectly quiet during the night. The rebels do not seem at all disposed to come out of Atlanta and throw down the gage of battle on open ground. Headquarters are agog, and the army will doubtless move early. Another day's march will carry us across the second, if not the third, of their three railroads.
At daylight of the eighteenth, the Army of the Tennessee moved by the road toward Stone Mountain. The Second cavalry division took the advance, followed by the Fifteenth corps, and it by the Seventeenth corps. At Providence Church, a cross-road seven miles from Roswell, the Sixteenth corps took the Decatur road, the Twenty-third corps moving on a road still further to the right. East of Atlanta and between it and Stone Mountain, Peach-tree creek runs in a north-westerly direction emptying into the Chattahoochee. Along Peach-tree the rebels were believed to have a line. The Army of the Cumberland, which now held the right of our line, was in front of the creek. During the operations of the day, General Thomas' command remained substantially quiet. Whatever firing took place along his line was intended to detain the rebels in their position.
The object of the movement was the destruction of the railroad running east from Atlanta, at some point near Stone Mountain. It also had for a secondary object the securing of a position
upon the enemy's right. The day was excessively hot, but the men moved forward with alacrity. The cavalry reached the railroad without much opposition, and commenced its destruction. To make the work more effectual and thorough, General Logan ordered General Lightburn forward with the Second brigade of the division. The brigade, upon reaching the road, was deployed along the track, and made an excellent job of destruction by turning over the track, burning the ties, and bending the rails. The troops withdrew by a cross-road and the infantry went into camp near Henderson's Mill.
In the morning the whole army was ordered forward to carry the position at Decatur. The Army of the Tennessee moved in the following order: Eighteenth, Seventeenth, and Sixteenth in reserve; on its right was the Army of the Ohio. The rebel cavalry was pursued and driven easily back to Decatur. At that place a rebel force of a brigade of cavalry and two regiments of infantry was dislodged at once, the advance of the Fifteenth and Twenty-third corps reaching the valley about two P. M., nearly at the same time. In the evening the rebels ran up a battery of rifled guns and opened upon our cavalry in front of the village, killing and wounded several mules and horses, and causing a little excitement. They were speedily dislodged.
About five o'clock yesterday morning the whole army moved, under orders to carry or invest Atlanta. On the left the Army of the Tennessee moved with the Fifteenth in advance, the Seventeenth moving up on its left, ours, the Sixteenth, in reserve. Morgan L. Smith's division had the advance of the Fifteenth corps. The rebel pickets were found about a mile west from Decatur. The rebels were obstinate and contested every available position, but the advance drove them steadily, carrying several strong fortifications with great gallantry. About two o'clock this afternoon the rebels made a stand with artillery and infantry. The Fifteenth corps was then some distance in advance of Blair and Schofield; Logan was therefore ordered to halt until the lines could be completed by bringing up Blair on his left and Schofield on the right. Toward evening the rebels opened with artillery inflicting some injury. The Second division of the Fifteenth corps losing seven and the Fourth twenty-one men; two men of battery A-veterans of battery B-were hit, John Haddock, killed, and J. Delevan mortally wounded. General Gresham, commanding the Fourth division of the Seventeenth corps, was severely wounded in the leg. I believe his leg was amputated. Captain Hoover, of General Logan's staff, had his horse shot, and Adler, sutler at corps headquarters lost an arm. General Logan himself narrowly escaped the rebel shell. The bringing up and straightening of the lines used up the day. The right and centre advanced across Peach-tree creek and within a short distance of Atlanta. Briefly as I can state it that was the day's work. There was heavy picket
firing all night and as I write at seven A. M., the
BATTLE OF PEACH-TREE CREEK.
July 22, 1864.
Fourth corps went to its support. The troops on the right, consisting of Hooker's and Palmer's corps and Newton's division of the Fourth corps alone remained on the right, and they were ordered to advance. With what extreme nicety we involved ourselves in the rebel snare! Newton and Hooker advanced from their trenchcaptured some prisoners, and listened to their unanimous story that no considerable body a bait be swallowed with more than this matheof rebels were within a mile and a half. Could matical exactness? The signal was given, and like a storm the rebel host rushed upon our lines to complete their plan. How was miscarThe bloody campaign of Sherman has been riage possible? They poured down in torrentmarked by a signal proof of the unquenchable like columns upon our few devoted columns on valor of his men; of their readiness to give bat- the right-and in three or four hours were Perhaps, in perusing the details tle at any moment; of their proof against sur- crushed, humiliated, and on some parts of the prise, and their tendency to whip the enemy line routed. under all circumstances and against the most of the fight, your readers will ascertain withdiscouraging odds. The tremendous rebel at-out difficulty where they made their grand mistack on our right, on the evening of the twen- calculation. tieth, was one of those rare instances in warfare where the elaborate plans of a commander for the destruction of his adversary succeed in every preliminary, yet fail totally in the fruition. Hood, whose reputation for doing desperate things has elevated him over the shoulders of a man beside whom he is a pigmy in nearly all the essentials of generalship, was to assume the offensive under the guidance of the dangerous Bragg. It was evident from the tone of their newspapers that something new was brewing. Our army was closing around Atlanta, practising, to some extent, one of its delicate flank movements.
The attack, in that it was unexpected, was a surprise. But it did not find our troops without muskets in their hands, or beyond easy reach of their arms. I have not seen the time during this campaign when any portion of the army has not been in complete battle trim. It is useless to deny that there was a vast deal of danger in the tremendous attack. If successful, Sherman could no longer with his remaining forces carry on offensive operations with vigor; and if the rebel army, under Hood, could force him for a moment to relax his hold on its throat, it would be the highest victory "We will seduce the Yan-they have dreamed of. kee south of that difficult little stream, Peachtree creek," planned the rebel conclave, "in such a way that bis army will be divided. Of course But on the he will intrench-he always does. morning of the day we conclude to fight, we shall make feints on his left wing, and induce him to send several divisions to meet the battle we seem to offer. This done, of course, his right wing advances to close the gap, and to see if there is any impediment to its entry into Atlanta. His right shall advance about a mile, capturing some prisoners, to inform them that we have no body of troops within a mile and half. At the same time, four fifths of our army shall be massed within a few hundred yards, cleverly under cover. We shall pounce upon the advancing and unprotected fraction of Sherman's Yankees, without a note of warning, cut it off from its bridges, and will roll it back upon the Chattahoochee. Our only fear is, that the enemy will not walk into the trap."
Singular to say, our army, step by step, fell into the rebel foils, without missing a link. They crossed Peach-tree creek at points where the rebels made a suspiciously feeble resistance. The whole army effected the crossing without serious loss, leaving a gap of three miles which the rebels refused to yield. When, on Wednesday morning, Hood made his feints against our left, Wood's and Stanley's divisions of the
Your telegrams have fully described the situation at the beginning of the fight. Briefly, McPherson's extreme left lay across the Augusta railroad, Schofield's and other forces joined him on the right. Then occurred an interval of three miles, covered by pickets from Newton's division; then the right wing, composed of troops already enumerated, who sustained the whole weight of the fight. The country in their front was broken and rolling, dense forests, fields of corn, barren ridges, marshy meadows, and deep-washed creeks being well jumabled together in the topography.
Peach-tree creek is a narrow, sluggish stream, with sudden banks, fringed with brier patches and almost impassable undergrowth, and would be, without bridges, a fatal bar to the escape of a routed and pursued army. In the rear of Palmer, Hooker, and Newton, there had been built ble, provided access to the bridges was not over ten bridges, rendering speedy retreat feasidenied.
Newton's splendid division, which during the campaign has lost more heavily than any other in the army, held the left flank of the corps advancing from the north. The interval along which we had no force was picketed by three or four regiments of Newton's division, thus reducing his force in the trenches to less than
men. The impression that an attack was