Page images



drawn up behind breastworks, calmly awaiting the coming shoek.' At a given signal, the whole army moved forward, and'the battle began. Into our uncovered ranks the enemy hurled shot and shell with desolating effect, until the dead lay every where, but not â brigade wavered. * Inch by inch the gallant 'regiments worked their way on, pressing heavier and heavier, every moment, the astonished enemy-determineà, at whatever sacrifice, to carry the strong position that confronted them.

Hooker threw forward Butterfield's division against the enemy's strongest position, supported by Williams' and Geary's divisions, and the battle opened vigorously on both sides. Hooker fought for three or four hours and made steady headway, carrying line after line of rifle-pits, until Butterfield's division encountered a lunette of formidable size. Several attempts were made to carry this and capture its guns, which Here pouring'a destructive fire into our lines, but they did not succeed. The troops fought with great desperation, but as often' as they advanced upon the lunette, the terrific volleys of musketry from the enemy in the fortifications hurled them back in confusion. At last Butterfield charged forward and took a position under the protectiug works of the fort, and so close to the guns within, that they could be touched by the men's hands. "In the effort to gain this exposed position, the contest was a bloody one, Geary's division supporting Butterfield. Ward's brigade, which were participating in their first battle, fought with marked determination, and cortributed much to secure the position."

wsAfter vain efforts to capture the lunette, from which the enemy poured into our ranks grape, canister and shrapnel Hooker's forces gave up the unequal contest, und during the balaħice of the day lay under the breastworks protected from the enemy's fire, and picking off every rebel who showed himself above the ramparts. Night found him in



this position, and he at once matured plans for capturing the works by strategy, under cover of darkness. The pioneers were brought up; the ends were dug out of the works, and the guns drawn out by the aid of ropes, under a destructive fire from the occupants of the lunette, who were driven out or captured, as our troops swarmed in through the opening in overwhelming numbers."

This Corps lost very heavily. At ten o'clock at night, Hooker began to throw up breast-works to protect himself, and in the meantime advanced his skirmish line. This in the darkness moved upon the enemy, and a night battle commenced, lighting up the gloom with flame, and sending its heavy thunder all along our expectant line. At two o'clock in the morning, the rebels gave way, and the low moans of the dying, and cries for water succeeded to the uproar that made the night hideous. In this battle the gallant Kilpatrick was wounded, and had to leave the army

till his recovery. Monday morning dawned bright and clear, but as the sun climbed the heavens it revealed the whole valley filled with smoke and fog, that lay like a great pall over the spring brightness and beauty. It was soon discovered that the retels, not wanting to risk another battie, had evacuated their works, and were in full retreat. Our line immediately advanced, and the cavalry pressed fiercely on the enemy's rear. The latter succeeded in getting off his artillery, but was compelled to burn his wagon trains to prevent them from talling into our hands.

An officer visited the spot where the desperate hand-tohand fight had occurred, for the lunette, and says, “this was thickly strewed with the dead and wounded. Inside and around the work, rebel and Union officers and men lay piled together; some transfixed with bayonet wounds, their faces wearing that fierce contorted look which marks those who have suffered agony. Others, who were shot dead, lay



with their calm faces and glassy eyes turned to heaven. One might think they were but sleeping Others had their skulls crushed in by the end of a musket, while the owner of the musket lay stiff beside them with the death-grip tightened on the piece. Clinging to one of the guns with his hand on the spoke and his body bent as if drawing it, lay a youth with the top of his head shot off. Another with his body cut in two still clung to the ropes.

Crossing the Oostenaula, Johnston partially destroyed the bridge, so that the pursuit was delayed. McPherson endeavored to throw over pontoons, and get in his rear, but was unable to do so under the heavy fire to which he was exposed, and the former got off with his army. Our loss in these two days had been heavy-about five thousand in all. That of the enemy was not probably so great, for he fought behind breastworks—but we took nearly a thousand prisoners, and eight guns, and a large quantity of stores.

The whole army at once pressed rapidly in pursuit-a por. tion going by circuitous roads--struggling through the rough country as it best could--fording the shallow streams-pontooning the deep ones, and hovering like a storm-cloud on the fleeing enemy. The movements were complicated and often wide apart, yet Sherman's grasping mind embraced them all, so that the entire army moved like a single picco of mechanism.

On the 17th, Newton's division had a snarp artillery fight at Adairville, near. Calhoun, but Johnston never halted ir his flight; &d on the 18th, after soma heavy skirmishing, Clinton fell into our hands. Here Sherman

Here Sherman gave his gallant weary troops a few days rest, while he hurried forward his supplies and re-established telegraphic an:l railroad commu. nication with Chattanooga.

Captain Congngham.



It was beautiful spring weather, and the country around being fine, a perfect carnival reigned in the camps that were scattered for miles in every direction. Racing and hunting parties were got up, and mirth and gaiety took the place of battles and marches. But the vast extent of country occupied by the army, and its wooded character, gave opportunity to the base and villainous soldiers that belong to every army to carry out a system of pillage and house burning that filled the inhabitants with terror, and spread suffering on every side. Cold-blooded murders were not wanting to complete the dark list of crimes committed by them.

Leaving a garrison here, and also one at Rome, which had been captured with all its warehouses, foundries, workshops, and fifteen hundred bales of cotton, without a fight, Sherman on the 23rd, again put his army in motion toward Dallas—that lay west of the railroad, south of Allatoona-a place strong by nature, and covered with fortifications. If this point could be reached before Johnston abandoned Allatoona, he would be cut off from Atlanta. This he must prevent at all hazards, and the rugged character of the country gave him every facility for making obstinate defense all along our line of march. Day after day more or less fighting occurred, but still swinging steadily off to the right, Sherman continued to push his victorious columns forward till he approached Dallas. The junction of the Acworth, Marietta and Dallas railroad, he was very anxious to secure, and Hooker was ordered to hasten forward and seize it. Near New Hope Church, the latter came upon the enemy in strong force, and attacked him fiercely. The Corps fought with its accustomed gallantry, and Geary's division especially distinguished itself. The rebels also fought desperately, disputing bravely every inch of ground, yet Hooker drove them steadily toward the junction. But night came on before he reached it, and a drenching, pelting rain storm set in, which arrested



the fight; and the tired Corps sunk to rest on the flooded field.

For three days now, there was constant skirmishing, and some heavy fighting between portions of the army, while Sherman was developing his line, preparatory to a general onward movement. On the 28th, Johnston, taking advantage of the somewhat disintegrated state of our army, fell furiously on McPherson, while closing in on the army of Thomas. Hardee's and Polk's Corps made the assault, which was sudden and terrible. Our men were behind rifle pits extending for two miles, waiting, as the skirmishers fell back, to receive the shock. Logan, hat in hand, rode along his division, encouraging the men, who replied with shouts. Soon after, McPherson with his staff, rode along the whole line, received with deafening cheers as he passed. The assaulting columns came down with shouts and yells, that rose over the crash of their volleys; but our troops reserved their fire until the enemy were within a few yards, when a volley from the first rank leaped forth like a sheet of lightning, cutting with its fiery blade the rebel line of battle. A second one from the rear rank instantaneously followed, and the rash, brave foe fell like

grass before the swinging scythe. Rolled back before this withering fire, they rallied again and again, and came on with the same defiant shouts, charging up almost to the muzzles of the guns. But it was like the waves beating the rocks. The Army of the Tennessee never wavered, but sieady and stern, stood and reaped that harvest of death, till night fell, when tire baffled foe gave it up, and retired, ìeaving the ground covered with dead. His loss in this desperate assault was fully three thousand, while McPherson's was not over a third as great.

Sherman now paused a few days to mislead the enemy, and on the 1st of June sent McPherson around to the left on another flank movement. Johnston was confounded .

« PreviousContinue »