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CHAPTER XXV.

JULY-SEPTEMBER, 1864.

ATLANTA REACHED-HOOD'S FIRST ATTACK-HIS ASSAULT ON MC PAERSON

DEATH OF THE LATTER-HOWARD PLACED OVER THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE-STONEMAN AND MC COOK'S RAID-HOOKER RESIGNS-FIERCE ATTACK ON HOWARD-SHELLING OF ATLANTA-AN UNSUCCESSFUL ASSAULT-WHEELER SENT TO CUT SHERMAN'S COMMUNICATIONS-KILPATRICK DISPATCHED TO CUT Hood's—SHERMAN RESOLVED TO PLANT HIS ARMY ON THE MACON ROAD-BATTLE OF JONESBORO'-ATLANTA CUT OFF-HOOD EVACUATES IT SLOCUM TAKES POSSESSION—THE REBEL ARMY PURSUED TO LOVEJOY'S STA

TION-REST TO THE ARMY-SUMMING UP OF THE CAMPAIGN-SHERMAN OR

DERS ALL THE INHABITANTS TO LEAVE-HIS CORRESPONDENCE WITH HOOD

AND THE MAYOR, ON THE SUBJECT.

ON

N the 17th of July, the whole army moved forward,

fighting as it advanced, and, at length, Atlanta greeted the

eyes of the weary, suffering, yet enthusiastic troops. Johnston, at this time, was removed from command, and Hood put in his place. A new mode of conducting the campaign was now to be inaugurated. The Fabian policy was dropped at once, and the impetuous Hood, the moment he obtained the control of the army, broke into a furious offensive. On the 20th, Sherman was in the act of forming his new lines, about five miles from Atlanta, with no enemy in force apparently near, when suddenly, nearly the whole of Hood's army came pouring forward with shouts and yells. that rolled like thunder over the field. Newton's division of Howard's Corps, and Johnson's of Palmer's, received the first shock. They had just before thrown up a breastwork of rails, behind which they poured in a galling fire. Hook- . er's Corps, however, was entirely uncovered, yet stood like a flaming citadel in the open fields. Where this onset was

332

HOOD'S FIRST ATTACK.

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made, a gap in the lines existed, which Hood hoped to penę. trate. Had he succeeded, disastrous consequences would, doubtless, den as a thunder-clap, and found our troops partially unprepared, it failed to break through our lines. The rebels threw themselves forward on our batteries with a recklessness that was frightful to behold. Their ranks melted away before the fire like the sand bank when caved by the torrent, yet the living never faltered. Over their own piled-up dead, they still crowded the gates of death with a self-devotion never surpassed. The sacrifice was great, but it did not avail, and the bleeding, shattered host fell back to its intrenchments, having lost in this short, fierce engagement, according to the estimate of Thomas, five thousand men. Our loss was about half that number.

Two days after, Hood abandoned his extensive line of de, fenses, falling back to his interior position of redoubts, in front of which were almost impenetrable chevaux-de-frise, with water between them.

While Thomas was thus pushing forward in front, Mc Pherson, from Decatur to the eastward, was moving down the railroad toward the city.

Hood, two days after this terrible repulse, made another desperate attempt to break through the net that was steadily closing round him. Leaving just enough troops in the in. trenchments to hold them, he massed his entire army against McPherson on the left, who had not yet got into position. The onşet, if possible, was more terrific than that of two days before, and, at one time, came very near overwhelming the Army of the Tennessee. Blair caught

Blair caught the first blow, , and then the shouting, yelling, frantic mass poured down on the whole line with a fury that, at first, seemed irresistible. In the meantime, a heavy force got in the rear and captured some twelve guns. The enraged gunners rushed back for

A BLOODY CONTEST.

333

" For a

their pieces, and a bloody, hand to hand fight took place
over them. In front, the rebels, with their usual daring,
dashed unflinchingly through the fire that wasted them, up
to the very breastworks, and planted their colors alongside
of our own, and fought like tigers around them,
half an hour, the two armies fought face to face each side of the
same line of intrenchments, with the battle colors of the re-
spective parties flying from the same works.” The struggle
was so close and deadly that orders were of little avail—it
was a contest of the old Greeks and Romans, when every.
thing, for a time, rested solely on the valor of the soldiers.
Sherman, with Schofield and Howard, stood on an elevation
that commanded a view of the battle field. Planting two bat-
teries on two hills—one on each side of him—which poured a
converging fire into the enemy, he sent word to Logan, in the
centre, to mass his troops and charge. "You must retake
those guns," was the stern order. No sooner did the gallant
Logan receive it, than he swiftly massed his troops, and
riding alternately at the heads of the columns, shouted them
on. Wood's division led the charge, and a loud cheer rolled
down the line, as it advanced. The enemy supposing we
were thoroughly beaten, were astonished at the sight, but
moved boldly out to meet the onset—the artillery, on both
sides, playing over the heads of the troops. Soon, however,
it ceased as the approaching lines came close together. A
crushing fire, a cheer, and then we were upon and over them,
scattering them in flight, and retaking part of the guns.

The struggle was a short one, but while it lasted, death reaped the field with rapid strokes. Six tremendous assaults were made on the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps, but when darkness closed over the field, victory was

The dead lay everywhere—sometimes in ranks, as though whole companies had been swept away by a single volley. Logan reported the enemy's dead at over three

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ours.

834

DEATH OF MCPHERSON.

thousand, and the whole rebel loss was estimated at twelve thousand, including seventeen hundred prisoners. We captured, also, eighteen stand of colors, and five thousand small arms. Our loss was only a little over seventeen hundred. The enemy, however, succeeded in carrying off eight pieces of artillery. Our greatest loss, however, was the death of General McPherson, who fell while crossing a piece of woods, attended only by an orderly. He came unexpectedly upon a detachment of rebels, who fired upon him as he attempt

ed to escape.

1

A comparatively young man, he was one of the ablest officers in the army. Long before he was known to the public, Grant leaned on him, and the enemy, who knew his worth, feared him. Noble and pure-minded, he was beloved by all. Able in council, his opinions carried great weight, while in “the high places of the field,” he moved, a tower of strength. As Napoleon, when it was told him that the noble, trųe-hearted Duroc had fallen, so the iron-hearted Sherman, when the tidings reached him that McPherson was dead, burst into tears.

The next day, Garrard returned from a cavalry raid to Covington, forty-two miles east of Atlanta, in which railroads, bridges, cotton, stores, &c., were destroyed, he having lost but two men in the expedition.

Sherman was now able to move his lines so as to lay regular siege to Atlanta, but to cut off its supplies, it was neccessary that the Macon road should be broken up.

To accomplish this, Stoneman was dispatched with a cavalry force of five thousand, while McCook, with four thousand infantry was to meet him on the railroad near Lovejoy's, and co-operate with his movement. The former got in front of Macon, but on his return, he was surrounded by Iverson, and captured, with a thousand of his men. McCook performed his part of the task assigned him, but getting hemmed in by a large

ATTACK ON HOWARD.

335

force of infantry and cavalry, had to cut his way out, which he did in the most gallant style. On the whole, the expedition was a sad failure. Sherman, in the meantime, kept extending his lines and tightening his coils around the doomed place. Like a scorpion girt with fire, Hood turned and turned to find some way of escape, and on the 28th, at noon, again flung his army in a desperate assault'on our lines. Again the Army of the Tennessee received the rebel assault, but, this time, under the leadership of Howard. Sherman had put him in McPherson's place, which so offended Hooker, who felt his claims were overlooked, that he resigned his position and came home. Howard had assumed direct command only the day before the battle.

Says Sherman, “The enemy had come out of Atlanta by the Bell's Ferry road, and formed his masses in the open fields, behind a swell of ground, and after the artillery firing, advanced in parallel lines, directly against the Fifteenth Corps, expecting to catch that flank in air. His advance was magnificent, but founded on an error that cost him sadly; for our men coolly and deliberately cut down his men, and, in spite of the efforts of the rebel officers, his ranks broke and fled. But they were rallied again and again, as often as six times, at some points, and a few of the rebel officers and men reached our lines of rail-piles, but only to be killed or hauled over as prisoners.” These assaults continued from noon until four in the afternoon, when the enemy disappeared, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands. The splen. did and daring manner in which the rebel troops, rigot on the top of repeated defeats, were brought to the assault, speaks volumes for their bravery. After being driven for nearly two hundred miles, and then, when turning and breaking into a furious offensive, remorselessly slaughtered, it showed the highest order of bravery, and marvellous endurance, to move with confident bearing; as they aid against

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