The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Vol. II., Part 3
William T. Sherman

Part 2 out of 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



JULY, 1864.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.

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

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

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.


Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of orders, I
moved my command into position on the right of the Seventeenth
Corps, which was the extreme right of the army in the field, during
the night of the 27th and morning of the 28th; and, while advancing
in line of battle to a more favorable position, we were met by the
rebel infantry of Hardee's and Lee's corps, who made a determined
and desperate attack on us at 11 A.M. of the 28th (yesterday).

My lines were only protected by logs and rails, hastily thrown up
in front of them.

The first onset was received and checked, and the battle commenced
and lasted until about three o'clock in the evening. During that
time six successive charges were made, which were six times
gallantly repulsed, each time with fearful loss to the enemy.

Later in the evening my lines were several times assaulted
vigorously, but each time with like result. The worst of the
fighting occurred on General Harrow's and Morgan L. Smith's fronts,
which formed the centre and right of the corps. The troops could
not have displayed greater courage, nor greater determination not
to give ground; had they shown less, they would have been driven
from their position.

Brigadier-Generals C. R. Woods, Harrow, and Morgan L. Smith,
division commanders, are entitled to equal credit for gallant
conduct and skill in repelling the assault. My thanks are due to
Major-Generals Blair and Dodge for sending me reenforeements at a
time when they were much needed. My losses were fifty killed, four
hundred and forty-nine wounded, and seventy-three missing:
aggregate, five hundred and seventy-two.

The division of General Harrow captured five battle-flags. There
were about fifteen hundred or two thousand muskets left on the
ground. One hundred and six prisoners were captured, exclusive of
seventy-three wounded, who were sent to our hospital, and are being
cared for by our surgeons. Five hundred and sixty-five rebels have
up to this time been buried, and about two hundred are supposed to
be yet unburied. A large number of their wounded were undoubtedly
carried away in the night, as the enemy did not withdraw till near
daylight. The enemy's loss could not have been less than six or
seven thousand men. A more detailed report will hereafter be made.

I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

Major-General, commanding Fifteenth Army Corps.

General Howard, in transmitting this report, added:

I wish to express my high gratification with the conduct of the
troops engaged. I never saw better conduct in battle. General
Logan, though ill and much worn out, was indefatigable, and the
success of the day is as much attributable to him as to any one

This was, of coarse, the first fight in which General Howard had
commanded the Army of the Tennessee, and he evidently aimed to
reconcile General Logan in his disappointment, and to gain the
heart of his army, to which he was a stranger. He very properly
left General Logan to fight his own corps, but exposed himself
freely; and, after the firing had ceased, in the afternoon he
walked the lines; the men, as reported to me, gathered about him in
the most affectionate way, and he at once gained their respect and
confidence. To this fact I at the time attached much importance,
for it put me at ease as to the future conduct of that most
important army.

At no instant of time did I feel the least uneasiness about the
result on the 28th, but wanted to reap fuller results, hoping that
Davis's division would come up at the instant of defeat, and catch
the enemy in flank; but the woods were dense, the roads obscure,
and as usual this division got on the wrong road, and did not come
into position until about dark. In like manner, I thought that
Hood had greatly weakened his main lines inside of Atlanta, and
accordingly sent repeated orders to Schofield and Thomas to make an
attempt to break in; but both reported that they found the parapets
very strong and full manned.

Our men were unusually encouraged by this day's work, for they
realized that we could compel Hood to come out from behind his
fortified lines to attack us at a disadvantage. In conversation
with me, the soldiers of the Fifteenth Corps, with whom I was on
the most familiar terms, spoke of the affair of the 28th as the
easiest thing in the world; that, in fact, it was a common
slaughter of the enemy; they pointed out where the rebel lines had
been, and how they themselves had fired deliberately, had shot down
their antagonists, whose bodies still lay unburied, and marked
plainly their lines of battle, which must have halted within easy
musket-range of our men, who were partially protected by their
improvised line of logs and fence-rails. All bore willing
testimony to the courage and spirit of the foe, who, though
repeatedly repulsed, came back with increased determination some
six or more times.

The next morning the Fifteenth Corps wheeled forward to the left
over the battle-field of the day before, and Davis's division still
farther prolonged the line, which reached nearly to the
ever-to-be-remembered "Sandtown road."

Then, by further thinning out Thomas's line, which was well
entrenched, I drew another division of Palmer's corps (Baird's)
around to the right, to further strengthen that flank. I was
impatient to hear from the cavalry raid, then four days out, and
was watching for its effect, ready to make a bold push for the
possession of East Point. General Garrard's division returned to
Decatur on the 31st, and reported that General Stoneman had posted
him at Flat Rock, while he (Stoneman) went on. The month of July
therefore closed with our infantry line strongly entrenched, but
drawn out from the Augusta road on the left to the Sandtown road on
the right, a distance of full ten measured miles.

The enemy, though evidently somewhat intimidated by the results of
their defeats on the 22d and 28th, still presented a bold front at
all points, with fortified lines that defied a direct assault. Our
railroad was done to the rear of our camps, Colonel W. P. Wright
having reconstructed the bridge across the Chattahoochee in six
days; and our garrisons and detachments to the rear had so
effectually guarded the railroad that the trains from Nashville
arrived daily, and our substantial wants were well supplied.

The month, though hot in the extreme, had been one of constant
conflict, without intermission, and on four several occasions
--viz., July 4th, 20th, 22d, and 28th--these affairs had amounted to
real battles, with casualty lists by the thousands. Assuming the
correctness of the rebel surgeon Foard's report, on page 577 of
Johnston's "Narrative," commencing with July 4th and terminating
with July 31st, we have:

Aggregate loss of the enemy......... 10,841

Our losses, as compiled from the official returns for July,
1864, are:
Killed and Missing. Wounded. Total.

Aggregate loss of July....... 3,804 5,915 9,719

In this table the column of "killed and missing" embraces the
prisoners that fell into the hands of the enemy, mostly lost in the
Seventeenth Corps, on the 22d of July, and does not embrace the
losses in the cavalry divisions of Garrard and McCook, which,
however, were small for July. In all other respects the statement
is absolutely correct. I am satisfied, however, that Surgeon Foard
could not have been in possession of data sufficiently accurate to
enable him to report the losses in actual battle of men who never
saw the hospital. During the whole campaign I had rendered to me
tri-monthly statements of "effective strength," from which I
carefully eliminated the figures not essential for my conduct, so
that at all times I knew the exact fighting-strength of each corps,
division, and brigade, of the whole army, and also endeavored to
bear in mind our losses both on the several fields of battle and by
sickness, and well remember that I always estimated that during the
month of July we had inflicted heavier loss on the enemy than we
had sustained ourselves, and the above figures prove it
conclusively. Before closing this chapter, I must record one or
two minor events that occurred about this time, that may prove of

On the 24th of July I received a dispatch from Inspector-General
James A. Hardie, then on duty at the War Department in Washington,
to the effect that Generals Osterhaus and Alvan P. Hovey had been
appointed major-generals. Both of these had begun the campaign
with us in command of divisions, but had gone to the rear--the
former by reason of sickness, and the latter dissatisfied with
General Schofield and myself about the composition of his division
of the Twenty-third Corps. Both were esteemed as first-class
officers, who had gained special distinction in the Vicksburg
campaign. But up to that time, when the newspapers announced daily
promotions elsewhere, no prominent officers serving with me had
been advanced a peg, and I felt hurt. I answered Hardie on the
25th, in a dispatch which has been made public, closing with this
language: "If the rear be the post of honor, then we had better all
change front on Washington." To my amazement, in a few days I
received from President Lincoln himself an answer, in which he
caught me fairly. I have not preserved a copy of that dispatch,
and suppose it was burned up in the Chicago fire; but it was
characteristic of Mr. Lincoln, and was dated the 26th or 27th day
of July, contained unequivocal expressions of respect for those who
were fighting hard and unselfishly, offering us a full share of the
honors and rewards of the war, and saying that, in the cases of
Hovey and Osterhaus, he was influenced mainly by the
recommendations of Generals Grant and Sherman. On the 27th I
replied direct, apologizing somewhat for my message to General
Hardie, saying that I did not suppose such messages ever reached
him personally, explaining that General Grant's and Sherman's
recommendations for Hovey and Osterhaus had been made when the
events of the Vicksburg campaign were fresh with us, and that my
dispatch of the 25th to General Hardie had reflected chiefly the
feelings of the officers then present with me before Atlanta. The
result of all this, however, was good, for another dispatch from
General Hardie, of the 28th, called on me to nominate eight
colonels for promotion as brigadier-generals. I at once sent a
circular note to the army-commanders to nominate two colonels from
the Army of the Ohio and three from each of the others; and the
result was, that on the 29th of July I telegraphed the names of--

Colonel William Gross, Thirty-sixth Indiana; Colonel Charles C.
Walcutt, Forty-sixth Ohio; Colonel James W. Riley, One Hundred and
Fourth Ohio; Colonel L. P. Bradley, Fifty-first Illinois; Colonel
J. W. Sprague, Sixty-third Ohio; Colonel Joseph A. Cooper, Sixth
East Tennessee; Colonel John T. Croxton, Fourth Kentucky; Colonel
William W. Belknap, Fifteenth Iowa. These were promptly appointed
brigadier-generals, were already in command of brigades or
divisions; and I doubt if eight promotions were ever made fairer,
or were more honestly earned, during the whole war.




The month of August opened hot and sultry, but our position before
Atlanta was healthy, with ample supply of wood, water, and
provisions. The troops had become habituated to the slow and
steady progress of the siege; the skirmish-lines were held close up
to the enemy, were covered by rifle-trenches or logs, and kept up a
continuous clatter of musketry. The mainlines were held farther
back, adapted to the shape of the ground, with muskets loaded and
stacked for instant use. The field-batteries were in select
positions, covered by handsome parapets, and occasional shots from
them gave life and animation to the scene. The men loitered about
the trenches carelessly, or busied themselves in constructing
ingenious huts out of the abundant timber, and seemed as snug,
comfortable, and happy, as though they were at home. General
Schofield was still on the extreme left, Thomas in the centre, and
Howard on the right. Two divisions of the Fourteenth Corps
(Baird's and Jeff. C. Davis's) were detached to the right rear,
and held in reserve.

I thus awaited the effect of the cavalry movement against the
railroad about Jonesboro, and had heard from General Garrard that
Stoneman had gone on to Mason; during that day (August 1st) Colonel
Brownlow, of a Tennessee cavalry regiment, came in to Marietta from
General McCook, and reported that McCook's whole division had been
overwhelmed, defeated, and captured at Newnan. Of course, I was
disturbed by this wild report, though I discredited it, but made
all possible preparations to strengthen our guards along the
railroad to the rear, on the theory that the force of cavalry which
had defeated McCook would at once be on the railroad about
Marietta. At the same time Garrard was ordered to occupy the
trenches on our left, while Schofield's whole army moved to the
extreme right, and extended the line toward East Point. Thomas was
also ordered still further to thin out his lines, so as to set free
the other division (Johnson's) of the Fourteenth Corps (Palmer's),
which was moved to the extreme right rear, and held in reserve
ready to make a bold push from that flank to secure a footing on
the Mason Railroad at or below East Point.

These changes were effected during the 2d and 3d days of August,
when General McCook came in and reported the actual results of his
cavalry expedition. He had crossed the Chattahoochee River below
Campbellton, by his pontoon-bridge; had then marched rapidly across
to the Mason Railroad at Lovejoy's Station, where he had reason to
expect General Stoneman; but, not hearing of him, he set to work,
tore up two miles of track, burned two trains of cars, and cut away
five miles of telegraph-wire. He also found the wagon-train
belonging to the rebel army in Atlanta, burned five hundred wagons,
killed eight hundred mules; and captured seventy-two officers and
three hundred and fifty men. Finding his progress eastward, toward
McDonough, barred by a superior force, he turned back to Newnan,
where he found himself completely surrounded by infantry and
cavalry. He had to drop his prisoners and fight his way out,
losing about six hundred men in killed and captured, and then
returned with the remainder to his position at Turner's Ferry.
This was bad enough, but not so bad as had been reported by Colonel
Brownlow. Meantime, rumors came that General Stoneman was down
about Mason, on the east bank of the Ocmulgee. On the 4th of
August Colonel Adams got to Marietta with his small brigade of nine
hundred men belonging to Stoneman's cavalry, reporting, as usual,
all the rest lost, and this was partially confirmed by a report
which came to me all the way round by General Grant's headquarters
before Richmond. A few days afterward Colonel Capron also got in,
with another small brigade perfectly demoralized, and confirmed the
report that General Stoneman had covered the escape of these two
small brigades, himself standing with a reserve of seven hundred
men, with which he surrendered to a Colonel Iverson. Thus another
of my cavalry divisions was badly damaged, and out of the fragments
we hastily reorganized three small divisions under
Brigadier-Generals Garrard, McCook, and Kilpatrick.

Stoneman had not obeyed his orders to attack the railroad first
before going to Macon and Andersonville, but had crossed the
Ocmulgee River high up near Covington, and had gone down that river
on the east bank. He reached Clinton, and sent out detachments
which struck the railroad leading from Macon to Savannah at
Griswold Station, where they found and destroyed seventeen
locomotives and over a hundred cars; then went on and burned the
bridge across the Oconee, and reunited the division before Macon.
Stoneman shelled the town across the river, but could not cross
over by the bridge, and returned to Clinton, where he found his
retreat obstructed, as he supposed, by a superior force. There he
became bewildered, and sacrificed himself for the safety of his
command. He occupied the attention of his enemy by a small force
of seven hundred men, giving Colonels Adams and Capron leave, with
their brigades, to cut their way back to me at Atlanta. The former
reached us entire, but the latter was struck and scattered at some
place farther north, and came in by detachments. Stoneman
surrendered, and remained a prisoner until he was exchanged some
time after, late in September, at Rough and Ready.

I now became satisfied that cavalry could not, or would not, make a
sufficient lodgment on the railroad below Atlanta, and that nothing
would suffice but for us to reach it with the main army. Therefore
the most urgent efforts to that end were made, and to Schofield, on
the right, was committed the charge of this special object. He had
his own corps (the Twenty-third), composed of eleven thousand and
seventy-five infantry and eight hundred and eighty-five artillery,
with McCook's broken division of cavalry, seventeen hundred and
fifty-four men and horses. For this purpose I also placed the
Fourteenth Corps (Palmer) under his orders. This corps numbered at
the time seventeen thousand two hundred and eighty-eight infantry
and eight hundred and twenty-six artillery; but General Palmer
claimed to rank General Schofield in the date of his commission as
major-general, and denied the latter's right to exercise command
over him. General Palmer was a man of ability, but was not
enterprising. His three divisions were compact and strong, well
commanded, admirable on the defensive, but slow to move or to act
on the offensive. His corps (the Fourteenth) had sustained, up to
that time, fewer hard knocks than any other corps in the whole
army, and I was anxious to give it a chance. I always expected to
have a desperate fight to get possession of the Macon road, which
was then the vital objective of the campaign. Its possession by us
would, in my judgment, result in the capture of Atlanta, and give
us the fruits of victory, although the destruction of Hood's army
was the real object to be desired. Yet Atlanta was known as the
"Gate-City of the South," was full of founderies, arsenals, and
machine-shops, and I knew that its capture would be the death-knell
of the Southern Confederacy.

On the 4th of August I ordered General Schofield to make a bold
attack on the railroad, anywhere about East Point, and ordered
General Palmer to report to him for duty. He at once denied
General Schofield's right to command him; but, after examining the
dates of their respective commissions, and hearing their arguments,
I wrote to General Palmer.

August 4th.-10.45 p.m.

From the statements made by yourself and General Schofield to-day,
my decision is, that he ranks you as a major-general, being of the
same date of present commission, by reason of his previous superior
rank as brigadier-general. The movements of to-morrow are so
important that the orders of the superior on that flank must be
regarded as military orders, and not in the nature of cooperation.
I did hope that there would be no necessity for my making this
decision; but it is better for all parties interested that no
question of rank should occur in actual battle. The Sandtown road,
and the railroad, if possible, must be gained to-morrow, if it
costs half your command. I regard the loss of time this afternoon
as equal to the loss of two thousand men.

I also communicated the substance of this to General Thomas, to
whose army Palmer's corps belonged, who replied on the 5th:

I regret to hear that Palmer has taken the course he has, and I
know that he intends to offer his resignation as soon as he can
properly do so. I recommend that his application be granted.

And on the 5th I again wrote to General Palmer, arguing the point
with him, advising him, as a friend, not to resign at that crisis
lest his motives might be misconstrued, and because it might damage
his future career in civil life; but, at the same time, I felt it
my duty to say to him that the operations on that flank, during the
4th and 5th, had not been satisfactory--not imputing to him,
however, any want of energy or skill, but insisting that "the
events did not keep pace with my desires." General Schofield had
reported to me that night:

I am compelled to acknowledge that I have totally failed to make
any aggressive movement with the Fourteenth Corps. I have ordered
General Johnson's division to replace General Hascall's this
evening, and I propose to-morrow to take my own troops
(Twenty-third Corps) to the right, and try to recover what has been
lost by two days' delay. The force may likely be too small.

I sanctioned the movement, and ordered two of Palmers divisions
--Davis's and Baird's--to follow en echelon in support of Schofield,
and summoned General Palmer to meet me in person: He came on the
6th to my headquarters, and insisted on his resignation being
accepted, for which formal act I referred him to General Thomas.
He then rode to General Thomas's camp, where he made a written
resignation of his office as commander of the Fourteenth Corps, and
was granted the usual leave of absence to go to his home in
Illinois, there to await further orders. General Thomas
recommended that the resignation be accepted; that Johnson, the
senior division commander of the corps, should be ordered back to
Nashville as chief of cavalry, and that Brigadier-General Jefferson
C. Davis, the next in order, should be promoted major general, and
assigned to command the corps. These changes had to be referred to
the President, in Washington, and were, in due time, approved and
executed; and thenceforward I had no reason to complain of the
slowness or inactivity of that splendid corps. It had been
originally formed by General George H. Thomas, had been commanded
by him in person, and had imbibed some what his personal character,
viz., steadiness, good order, and deliberation nothing hasty or
rash, but always safe, "slow, and sure." On August 7th I
telegraphed to General Halleck:

Have received to-day the dispatches of the Secretary of War and of
General Grant, which are very satisfactory. We keep hammering away
all the time, and there is no peace, inside or outside of Atlanta.
To-day General Schofield got round the line which was assaulted
yesterday by General Reilly's brigade, turned it and gained the
ground where the assault had been made, and got possession of all
our dead and wounded. He continued to press on that flank, and
brought on a noisy but not a bloody battle. He drove the enemy
behind his main breastworks, which cover the railroad from Atlanta
to East Point, and captured a good many of the skirmishers, who are
of his best troops--for the militia hug the breastworks close. I
do not deem it prudent to extend any more to the right, but will
push forward daily by parallels, and make the inside of Atlanta too
hot to be endured. I have sent back to Chattanooga for two
thirty-pound Parrotts, with which we can pick out almost any house in
town. I am too impatient for a siege, and don't know but this is as
good a place to fight it out on, as farther inland. One thing is
certain, whether we get inside of Atlanta or not, it will be a
used-up community when we are done with it.

In Schofield's extension on the 5th, General Reilly's brigade had
struck an outwork, which he promptly attacked, but, as usual, got
entangled in the trees and bushes which had been felled, and lost
about five hundred men, in killed and wounded; but, as above
reported, this outwork was found abandoned the next day, and we
could see from it that the rebels were extending their lines,
parallel with the railroad, about as fast as we could add to our
line of investment. On the 10th of August the Parrott
thirty-pounders were received and placed in Position; for a couple
of days we kept up a sharp fire from all our batteries converging
on Atlanta, and at every available point we advanced our
infantry-lines, thereby shortening and strengthening the
investment; but I was not willing to order a direct assault, unless
some accident or positive neglect on the part of our antagonist
should reveal an opening. However, it was manifest that no such
opening was intended by Hood, who felt secure behind his strong
defenses. He had repelled our cavalry attacks on his railroad, and
had damaged us seriously thereby, so I expected that he would
attempt the same game against our rear. Therefore I made
extraordinary exertions to recompose our cavalry divisions, which
were so essential, both for defense and offense. Kilpatrick was
given that on our right rear, in support of Schofield's exposed
flank; Garrard retained that on our general left; and McCook's
division was held somewhat in reserve, about Marietta and the
railroad. On the 10th, having occasion to telegraph to General
Grant, then in Washington, I used this language:

Since July 28th Hood has not attempted to meet us outside his
parapets. In order to possess and destroy effectually his
communications, I may have to leave a corps at the railroad-bridge,
well intrenched, and cut loose with the balance to make a circle of
desolation around Atlanta. I do not propose to assault the works,
which are too strong, nor to proceed by regular approaches. I have
lost a good many regiments, and will lose more, by the expiration
of service; and this is the only reason why I want reenforcements.
We have killed, crippled, and captured more of the enemy than we
have lost by his acts.

On the 12th of August I heard of the success of Admiral Farragut in
entering Mobile Bay, which was regarded as a most valuable
auxiliary to our operations at Atlanta; and learned that I had been
commissioned a major-general in the regular army, which was
unexpected, and not desired until successful in the capture of
Atlanta. These did not change the fact that we were held in check
by the stubborn defense of the place, and a conviction was forced
on my mind that our enemy would hold fast, even though every house
in the town should be battered down by our artillery. It was
evident that we most decoy him out to fight us on something like
equal terms, or else, with the whole army, raise the siege and
attack his communications. Accordingly, on the 13th of August, I
gave general orders for the Twentieth Corps to draw back to the
railroad-bridge at the Chattahoochee, to protect our trains,
hospitals, spare artillery, and the railroad-depot, while the rest
of the army should move bodily to some point on the Macon Railroad
below East Point.

Luckily, I learned just then that the enemy's cavalry, under
General Wheeler, had made a wide circuit around our left flank, and
had actually reached our railroad at Tilton Station, above Resaca,
captured a drove of one thousand of our beef-cattle, and was strong
enough to appear before Dalton, and demand of its commander,
Colonel Raum, the surrender of the place. General John E. Smith,
who was at Kingston, collected together a couple of thousand men,
and proceeded in cars to the relief of Dalton when Wheeler
retreated northward toward Cleveland. On the 16th another
detachment of the enemy's cavalry appeared in force about Allatoona
and the Etowah bridge, when I became fully convinced that Hood had
sent all of his cavalry to raid upon our railroads. For some days
our communication with Nashville was interrupted by the destruction
of the telegraph-lines, as well as railroad. I at once ordered
strong reconnoissances forward from our flanks on the left by
Garrard, and on the right by Kilpatrick. The former moved with so
much caution that I was displeased; but Kilpatrick, on the
contrary, displayed so much zeal and activity that I was attracted
to him at once. He reached Fairburn Station, on the West Point
road, and tore it up, returning safely to his position on our right
flank. I summoned him to me, and was so pleased with his spirit
and confidence, that I concluded to suspend the general movement of
the main army, and to send him with his small division of cavalry
to break up the Macon road about Jonesboro, in the hopes that it
would force Hood to evacuate Atlanta, and that I should thereby not
only secure possession of the city itself, but probably could catch
Hood in the confusion of retreat; and, further to increase the
chances of success.

I ordered General Thomas to detach two brigades of Garrard's
division of cavalry from the left to the right rear, to act as a
reserve in support of General Kilpatrick. Meantime, also, the
utmost activity was ordered along our whole front by the infantry
and artillery. Kilpatrick got off during the night of the 18th,
and returned to us on the 22d, having made the complete circuit of
Atlanta. He reported that he had destroyed three miles of the
railroad about Jonesboro, which he reckoned would take ten days to
repair; that he had encountered a division of infantry and a
brigade of cavalry (Ross's); that he had captured a battery and
destroyed three of its guns, bringing one in as a trophy, and he
also brought in three battle-flags and seventy prisoners. On the
23d, however, we saw trains coming into Atlanta from the south,
when I became more than ever convinced that cavalry could not or
would not work hard enough to disable a railroad properly, and
therefore resolved at once to proceed to the execution of my
original plan. Meantime, the damage done to our own railroad and
telegraph by Wheeler, about Resaca and Dalton, had been repaired,
and Wheeler himself was too far away to be of any service to his
own army, and where he could not do us much harm, viz., up about
the Hiawaesee. On the 24th I rode down to the Chattahoochee
bridge, to see in person that it could be properly defended by the
single corps proposed to be left there for that purpose, and found
that the rebel works, which had been built by Johnston to resist
us, could be easily utilized against themselves; and on returning
to my camp, at that same evening, I telegraphed to General
Halleck as follows:

Heavy fires in Atlanta all day, caused by our artillery. I will be
all ready, and will commence the movement around Atlanta by the
south, tomorrow night, and for some time you will hear little of
us. I will keep open a courier line back to the Chattahoochee
bridge, by way of Sandtown. The Twentieth Corps will hold the
railroad-bridge, and I will move with the balance of the army,
provisioned for twenty days.

Meantime General Dodge (commanding the Sixteenth Corps) had been
wounded in the forehead, had gone to the rear, and his two
divisions were distributed to the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps.
The real movement commenced on the 25th, at night. The Twentieth
Corps drew back and took post at the railroad-bridge, and the
Fourth Corps (Stanley) moved to his right rear, closing up with the
Fourteenth Corps (Jeff. C. Davis) near Utoy Creek; at the same time
Garrard's cavalry, leaving their horses out of sight, occupied the
vacant trenches, so that the enemy did not detect the change at
all. The next night (26th) the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps,
composing the Army of the Tennessee (Howard), drew out of their
trenches, made a wide circuit, and came up on the extreme right of
the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps of the Army of the Cumberland
(Thomas) along Utoy Creek, facing south. The enemy seemed to
suspect something that night, using his artillery pretty freely;
but I think he supposed we were going to retreat altogether. An
artillery-shot, fired at random, killed one man and wounded
another, and the next morning some of his infantry came out of
Atlanta and found our camps abandoned. It was afterward related
that there was great rejoicing in Atlanta "that the Yankees were
gone;" the fact was telegraphed all over the South, and several
trains of cars (with ladies) came up from Macon to assist in the
celebration of their grand victory.

On the 28th (making a general left-wheel, pivoting on Schofield)
both Thomas and Howard reached the West Point Railroad, extending
from East Point to Red-Oak Station and Fairburn, where we spent the
next day (29th) in breaking it up thoroughly. The track was heaved
up in sections the length of a regiment, then separated rail by
rail; bonfires were made of the ties and of fence-rails on which
the rails were heated, carried to trees or telegraph-poles, wrapped
around and left to cool. Such rails could not be used again; and,
to be still more certain, we filled up many deep cuts with trees,
brush, and earth, and commingled with them loaded shells, so
arranged that they would explode on an attempt to haul out the
bushes. The explosion of one such shell would have demoralized a
gang of negroes, and thus would have prevented even the attempt to
clear the road.

Meantime Schofield, with the Twenty-third Corps, presented a bold
front toward East Point, daring and inviting the enemy to sally out
to attack him in position. His first movement was on the 30th, to
Mount Gilead Church, then to Morrow's Mills, facing Rough and
Ready. Thomas was on his right, within easy support, moving by
cross-roads from Red Oak to the Fayetteville road, extending from
Couch's to Renfrew's; and Howard was aiming for Jonesboro.

I was with General Thomas that day, which was hot but otherwise
very pleasant. We stopped for a short noon-rest near a little
church (marked on our maps as Shoal-Creek Church), which stood back
about a hundred yards from the road, in a grove of native oaks.
The infantry column had halted in the road, stacked their arms, and
the men were scattered about--some lying in the shade of the trees,
and others were bringing corn-stalks from a large corn-field across
the road to feed our horses, while still others had arms full of
the roasting-ears, then in their prime. Hundreds of fires were
soon started with the fence-rails, and the men were busy roasting
the ears. Thomas and I were walking up and down the road which led
to the church, discussing the chances of the movement, which he
thought were extra-hazardous, and our path carried us by a fire at
which a soldier was roasting his corn. The fire was built
artistically; the man was stripping the ears of their husks,
standing them in front of his fire, watching them carefully, and
turning each ear little by little, so as to roast it nicely. He
was down on his knees intent on his business, paying little heed to
the stately and serious deliberations of his leaders. Thomas's
mind was running on the fact that we had cut loose from our base of
supplies, and that seventy thousand men were then dependent for
their food on the chance supplies of the country (already
impoverished by the requisitions of the enemy), and on the contents
of our wagons. Between Thomas and his men there existed a most
kindly relation, and he frequently talked with them in the most
familiar way. Pausing awhile, and watching the operations of this
man roasting his corn, he said, "What are you doing?" The man
looked up smilingly "Why, general, I am laying in a supply of
provisions." "That is right, my man, but don't waste your
provisions." As we resumed our walk, the man remarked, in a sort
of musing way, but loud enough for me to hear: "There he goes,
there goes the old man, economizing as usual." "Economizing" with
corn, which cost only the labor of gathering and roasting!

As we walked, we could hear General Howard's guns at intervals,
away off to our right front, but an ominous silence continued
toward our left, where I was expecting at each moment to hear the
sound of battle. That night we reached Renfrew's, and had reports
from left to right (from General Schofield, about Morrow's Mills,
to General Howard, within a couple of miles of Jonesboro). The
next morning (August 31st) all moved straight for the railroad.
Schofield reached it near Rough and Ready, and Thomas at two points
between there and Jonesboro. Howard found an intrenched foe
(Hardee's corps) covering Jonesboro, and his men began at once to
dig their accustomed rifle-pits. Orders were sent to Generals
Thomas and Schofield to turn straight for Jonesboro, tearing up the
railroad-track as they advanced. About 3.00 p.m. the enemy
sallied from Jonesboro against the Fifteenth corps, but was easily
repulsed, and driven back within his lines. All hands were kept
busy tearing up the railroad, and it was not until toward evening
of the 1st day of September that the Fourteenth Corps (Davis)
closed down on the north front of Jonesboro, connecting on his
right with Howard, and his left reaching the railroad, along which
General Stanley was moving, followed by Schofield. General Davis
formed his divisions in line about 4 p.m., swept forward over some
old cotton-fields in full view, and went over the rebel parapet
handsomely, capturing the whole of Govan's brigade, with two
field-batteries of ten guns. Being on the spot, I checked Davis's
movement, and ordered General Howard to send the two divisions of
the Seventeenth Corps (Blair) round by his right rear, to get below
Jonesboro, and to reach the railroad, so as to cut off retreat in
that direction. I also dispatched orders after orders to hurry
forward Stanley, so as to lap around Jonesboro on the east, hoping
thus to capture the whole of Hardee's corps. I sent first Captain
Audenried (aide-de-camp), then Colonel Poe, of the Engineers, and
lastly General Thomas himself (and that is the only time during the
campaign I can recall seeing General Thomas urge his horse into a
gallop). Night was approaching, and the country on the farther
side of the railroad was densely wooded. General Stanley had come
up on the left of Davis, and was deploying, though there could not
have been on his front more than a skirmish-line. Had he moved
straight on by the flank, or by a slight circuit to his left, he
would have inclosed the whole ground occupied by Hardee's corps,
and that corps could not have escaped us; but night came on, and
Hardee did escape.

Meantime General Slocum had reached his corps (the Twentieth),
stationed at the Chattahoochee bridge, had relieved General A. S.
Williams in command, and orders had been sent back to him to feel
forward occasionally toward Atlanta, to observe the effect when we
had reached the railroad. That night I was so restless and
impatient that I could not sleep, and about midnight there arose
toward Atlanta sounds of shells exploding, and other sound like
that of musketry. I walked to the house of a farmer close by my
bivouac, called him out to listen to the reverberations which came
from the direction of Atlanta (twenty miles to the north of us),
and inquired of him if he had resided there long. He said he had,
and that these sounds were just like those of a battle. An
interval of quiet then ensued, when again, about 4 a.m., arose
other similar explosions, but I still remained in doubt whether the
enemy was engaged in blowing up his own magazines, or whether
General Slocum had not felt forward, and become engaged in a real

The next morning General Hardee was gone, and we all pushed forward
along the railroad south, in close pursuit, till we ran up against
his lines at a point just above Lovejoy's Station. While bringing
forward troops and feeling the new position of our adversary,
rumors came from the rear that the enemy had evacuated Atlanta, and
that General Slocum was in the city. Later in the day I received a
note in Slocum's own handwriting, stating that he had heard during
the night the very sounds that I have referred to; that he had
moved rapidly up from the bridge about daylight, and had entered
Atlanta unopposed. His letter was dated inside the city, so there
was no doubt of the fact. General Thomas's bivouac was but a short
distance from mine, and, before giving notice to the army in
general orders, I sent one of my staff-officers to show him the
note. In a few minutes the officer returned, soon followed by
Thomas himself, who again examined the note, so as to be perfectly
certain that it was genuine. The news seemed to him too good to be
true. He snapped his fingers, whistled, and almost danced, and, as
the news spread to the army, the shouts that arose from our men,
the wild hallooing and glorious laughter, were to us a full
recompense for the labor and toils and hardships through which we
had passed in the previous three months.

A courier-line was at once organized, messages were sent back and
forth from our camp at Lovejoy's to Atlanta, and to our
telegraph-station at the Chattahoochee bridge. Of course, the glad
tidings flew on the wings of electricity to all parts of the North,
where the people had patiently awaited news of their husbands, sons,
and brothers, away down in "Dixie Land;" and congratulations came
pouring back full of good-will and patriotism. This victory was most
opportune; Mr. Lincoln himself told me afterward that even he had
previously felt in doubt, for the summer was fast passing away; that
General Grant seemed to be checkmated about Richmond and Petersburg,
and my army seemed to have run up against an impassable barrier,
when, suddenly and unexpectedly, came the news that "Atlanta was
ours, and fairly won." On this text many a fine speech was made, but
none more eloquent than that by Edward Everett, in Boston. A
presidential election then agitated the North. Mr. Lincoln
represented the national cause, and General McClellan had accepted
the nomination of the Democratic party, whose platform was that the
war was a failure, and that it was better to allow the South to go
free to establish a separate government, whose corner-stone should be
slavery. Success to our arms at that instant was therefore a
political necessity; and it was all-important that something
startling in our interest should occur before the election in
November. The brilliant success at Atlanta filled that requirement,
and made the election of Mr. Lincoln certain. Among the many letters
of congratulation received, those of Mr. Lincoln and General Grant
seem most important:

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 3, 1864.

The national thanks are rendered by the President to Major-General
W. T. Sherman and the gallant officers and soldiers of his command
before Atlanta, for the distinguished ability and perseverance
displayed in the campaign in Georgia, which, under Divine favor,
has resulted in the capture of Atlanta. The marches, battles,
sieges, and other military operations, that have signalized the
campaign, must render it famous in the annals of war, and have
entitled those who have participated therein to the applause and
thanks of the nation.

President of the United States

CITY POINT VIRGINIA, September 4, 1864-9 P.M.

Major-General SHERMAN:
I have just received your dispatch announcing the capture of
Atlanta. In honor of your great victory, I have ordered a salute
to be fired with shotted guns from every battery bearing upon the
enemy. The salute will be fired within an hour, amid great

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

These dispatches were communicated to the army in general orders,
and we all felt duly encouraged and elated by the praise of those
competent to bestow it.

The army still remained where the news of success had first found
us, viz., Lovejoy's; but, after due refection, I resolved not to
attempt at that time a further pursuit of Hood's army, but slowly
and deliberately to move back, occupy Atlanta, enjoy a short period
of rest, and to think well over the next step required in the
progress of events. Orders for this movement were made on the 5th
September, and three days were given for each army to reach the
place assigned it, viz.: the Army of the Cumberland in and about
Atlanta; the Army of the Tennessee at East Point; and the Army of
the Ohio at Decatur.

Personally I rode back to Jonesboro on the 6th, and there inspected
the rebel hospital, full of wounded officers and men left by Hardee
in his retreat. The next night we stopped at Rough and Ready, and
on the 8th of September we rode into Atlanta, then occupied by the
Twentieth Corps (General Slocum). In the Court-House Square was
encamped a brigade, embracing the Massachusetts Second and
Thirty-third Regiments, which had two of the finest bands of the
army, and their music was to us all a source of infinite pleasure
during our sojourn in that city. I took up my headquarters in the
house of Judge Lyons, which stood opposite one corner of the
Court-House Square, and at once set about a measure already ordered,
of which I had thought much and long, viz., to remove the entire
civil population, and to deny to all civilians from the rear the
expected profits of civil trade. Hundreds of sutlers and traders
were waiting at Nashville and Chattanooga, greedy to reach Atlanta
with their wares and goods, with, which to drive a profitable trade
with the inhabitants. I gave positive orders that none of these
traders, except three (one for each separate army), should be
permitted to come nearer than Chattanooga; and, moreover, I
peremptorily required that all the citizens and families resident in
Atlanta should go away, giving to each the option to go south or
north, as their interests or feelings dictated. I was resolved to
make Atlanta a pure military garrison or depot, with no civil
population to influence military measures. I had seen Memphis,
Vicksburg, Natchez, and New Orleans, all captured from the enemy, and
each at once was garrisoned by a full division of troops, if not
more; so that success was actually crippling our armies in the field
by detachments to guard and protect the interests of a hostile

I gave notice of this purpose, as early as the 4th of September, to
General Halleck, in a letter concluding with these words:

If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will
answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking. If they want
peace, they and their relatives most stop the war.

I knew, of course, that such a measure would be strongly
criticised, but made up my mind to do it with the absolute
certainty of its justness, and that time would sanction its wisdom.
I knew that the people of the South would read in this measure two
important conclusions: one, that we were in earnest; and the other,
if they were sincere in their common and popular clamor "to die in
the last ditch," that the opportunity would soon come.

Soon after our reaching Atlanta, General Hood had sent in by a flag
of truce a proposition, offering a general exchange of prisoners,
saying that he was authorized to make such an exchange by the
Richmond authorities, out of the vast number of our men then held
captive at Andersonville, the same whom General Stoneman had hoped
to rescue at the time of his raid. Some of these prisoners had
already escaped and got in, had described the pitiable condition of
the remainder, and, although I felt a sympathy for their hardships
and sufferings as deeply as any man could, yet as nearly all the
prisoners who had been captured by us during the campaign had been
sent, as fast as taken, to the usual depots North, they were then
beyond my control. There were still about two thousand, mostly
captured at Jonesboro, who had been sent back by cars, but had not
passed Chattanooga. These I ordered back, and offered General Hood
to exchange them for Stoneman, Buell, and such of my own army as
would make up the equivalent; but I would not exchange for his
prisoners generally, because I knew these would have to be sent to
their own regiments, away from my army, whereas all we could give
him could at once be put to duty in his immediate army. Quite an
angry correspondence grew up between us, which was published at the
time in the newspapers, but it is not to be found in any book of
which I have present knowledge, and therefore is given here, as
illustrative of the events referred to, and of the feelings of the
actors in the game of war at that particular crisis, together with
certain other original letters of Generals Grant and Halleck, never
hitherto published.

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, September 12, 1864

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

GENERAL: I send Lieutenant-Colonel Horace Porter, of my staff, with
this. Colonel Porter will explain to you the exact condition of
affairs here, better than I can do in the limits of a letter.
Although I feel myself strong enough now for offensive operations,
I am holding on quietly, to get advantage of recruits and
convalescents, who are coming forward very rapidly. My lines are
necessarily very long, extending from Deep Bottom, north of the
James, across the peninsula formed by the Appomattox and the James,
and south of the Appomattox to the Weldon road. This line is very
strongly fortified, and can be held with comparatively few men;
but, from its great length, necessarily takes many in the
aggregate. I propose, when I do move, to extend my left so as to
control what is known as the Southside, or Lynchburg & Petersburg
road; then, if possible, to keep the Danville road out. At the
same time this move is made, I want to send a force of from six to
ten thousand men against Wilmington. The way I propose to do this
is to land the men north of Fort Fisher, and hold that point. At
the same time a large naval fleet will be assembled there, and the
iron-clads will run the batteries as they did at Mobile. This will
give us the same control of the harbor of Wilmington that we now
have of the harbor of Mobile. What you are to do with the forces
at your command, I do not exactly see. The difficulties of
supplying your army, except when they are constantly moving beyond
where you are, I plainly see. If it had not been for Price's
movement, Canby could have sent twelve thousand more men to Mobile.
From your command on the Mississippi, an equal number could have
been taken. With these forces, my idea would have been to divide
them, sending one-half to Mobile, and the other half to Savannah.
You could then move as proposed in your telegram, so as to threaten
Macon and Augusta equally. Whichever one should be abandoned by
the enemy, you could take and open up a new base of supplies. My
object now in sending a staff-officer to you is not so much to
suggest operations for you as to get your views, and to have plans
matured by the time every thing can be got ready. It would
probably be the 5th of October before any of the plans here
indicated will be executed. If you have any promotions to
recommend, send the names forward, and I will approve them.

In conclusion, it is hardly necessary for me to say that I feel you
have accomplished the most gigantic undertaking given to any
general in this war, and with a skill and ability that will be
acknowledged in history as unsurpassed, if not unequaled. It gives
me as much pleasure to record this in your favor as it world in
favor of any living man, myself included.
Truly yours,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 20, 1864.

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, Commander-in-Chief, City Point,

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge, at the hands of
Lieutenant Colonel Porter, of your staff, your letter of September
12th, and accept with thanks the honorable and kindly mention
of the services of this army in the great cause in which we are all

I send by Colonel Porter all official reports which are completed,
and will in a few days submit a list of names which are deemed
worthy of promotion.

I think we owe it to the President to save him the invidious task
of selection among the vast number of worthy applicants, and have
ordered my army commanders to prepare their lists with great care,
and to express their preferences, based upon claims of actual
capacity and services rendered.

These I will consolidate, and submit in such a form that, if
mistakes are made, they will at least be sanctioned by the best
contemporaneous evidence of merit, for I know that vacancies do not
exist equal in number to that of the officers who really deserve

As to the future, I am pleased to know that your army is being
steadily reinforced by a good class of men, and I hope it will go


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