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"General McPherson, who had advanced from Decatur, continued to follow sub. stantially the railroad, with the 15th Corps, General Logan, the 17th, General Blair on its left, and the 16th, General Dodge on its right, but as the general advance of ell the armies contracted the circle, the 16th Corps, General Dodge, was thrown out of line by the 15th connecting on the right with General Schofield near the Howard house. General McPherson, the night before, had gained a high hill to the south and east of the railroad, where the 17th Corps had, after a severe fight, driven the enemy, and it gave him a most commanding position within easy view of the very heart of the city. He had thrown out working parties to it, and was making preparations to occupy it in strength with batteries. The 16th Corps, General Dodge, was ordered from right to left to occupy this position and make it a strong general left flank. General Dodge was moving by a diagonal path or wagon track leading from the Decatur road in the direction of General Blair's left flank.
“About 10 A. M. I was in person with General Schofield examining the appearance of the enemy's lines opposite the distillery, where we attracted enough of the enemy's fire of artillery and musketry to satisfy me the enemy was in Atlanta in force, and meant to fight, and had gone to a large dwelling close by, known as the Howard house, where General McPherson joined me. He described the condition of things on his flank and the disposition of his troops. I explained to him that if we met serious resistance in Atlanta, as present appearances indicated, instead of operating against it by the left I would extend to the right, and that I did not want him to gain much distance to the left. He then described the hill occupied by General Leggett's division of General Blair's corps as essential to the occupation of any ground to the east and south of the Augusta railroad on account of its commanding nature. I therefore ratified his disposition of troops, and modified a previous order I had sent him in writing to use General Dodge's corps, thrown somewhat in reserve by the closing up of our line, to break up the railroad, and I sanctioned its going, as already ordered by General McPherson, to his left, to hold and fortify that position. The General remained with me till near noon, when some reports reaching us that indicated a movement of the enemy on that flank, he mounted and rode away with his staff. I must here also state that the day before I had detached General Garrard's cavalry to go to Covington, on the Augusta road, forty-two miles east of Atlanta, and from that point to send detachments to break the two important bridges across the Yellow and Ulcofauhatchee rivers, tributaries of Ocmulgee, and General McPherson had also left his wagon train at Decatur, under a guard of three regiments commanded by Colonel, now General Sprague. Soon after General McPherson left me at the Howard house, as before described, I heard the sounds of musketry to our left rear, at first mere pattering shots, but soon they grew in volume, accompanied with artillery, and about the same time the sound of guns was heard in the direction of Decatur. No doubt could longer be entertained of the enemy's plan of action, which was to throw a superior force on our left fiank, while he held us with his forts in front, the only question being as to the amount of force he could employ at that point. I hastily transmitted orders to all points of our center and right to press forward and give full employment to all the enemy in his lines, and for Gene. ral Schofield to hold as large a force in reserve as possible, awaiting developments, Not more than half an hour after General McPherson had left me, viz., about 121 M. of the 22d, his Adjutant-General, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, rode up and reporte. that General McPherson was either dead or a prisoner; that he had ridden from mo to General Dodge's column, moving as heretofore described, and had sent off nearly all his staff and orderlies on various errands, and himself had passed into a narrow path or road that led to the left and rear of General Giles A. Smith's division, which was General Blair's extreme left; that a few minutes after he had entered the woods a sharp volley was heard in that direction, and his horse had come out riderless, having two wounds. The suddenness of this terrible calamity would have overwhelmed me with grief, but the living demanded my whole thoughts. I instantly dispatched a staff officer to General John A. Logan, commanding the 15th Corps, to tell him what had happened ; that he must assume command of the army of the Tennessee, and hold stubbornly the ground already chosen, more especially the hill gained by General Leggett the night before.”
So opened a battle bloodier than had yet marked the great march. The death of McPherson was a terrible calamity, for few of the gallant subordinates of Sherman equaled him in ability or popularity. His death was for a time concealed from the men, but when known caused the most intense sorrow. Logan quietly assumed command, and developed anew the soldierly qualities which had already given him so prominent a place among civilian generals.
At high noon the sun looked down on a desperate struggle. Hardee assailed Blair's left flank, overlapped it, and swung around until he came in contact with Dodge's corps in motion. In front of the 17th Army Corps there was bloody work. Sweeney formed his division, and placed Rice's brigade facing the rear, Mersey's (9th Illinois) southward, with Morrill's on his right. Dodge's right was about to be turned when he ordered the 81st Ohio and 12th Illinois under Von Sellar to charge the rebel flank. They crossed a valley, swept around the point of a ridge and burst upon the foe like a thunderbolt, strewing the ground with dead and wounded, capturing several prisoners and two stands of colors. “Bulldog Sweeney" stood like a rock before Hardee, staying his advance, holding his ground against fearful odds until the troops could take position. The assault on our 17th Corps was terrible. The 16th Corps was involved by rebel masses, and lost several guns. Giles Smith's and Leggett's divisions fought against a swarm of troops--the old entrenchments was their battle-ground, and they fought on either side. Logan's corps at the center fought for victory and for life. Morgan Smith's division was so cut up it was compelled to retire. Our artillery was in part captured, including the celebrated Parrot 20-pounders, and Murray's regular artillery.
"RETAKE THOSE GUNS."
Sherman saw the crisis. On a hill near Colonel Howard's house he placed a battery of the 15th Corps and one of the 23d, where they commanded a converging and enfilading fire upon the lines of gray, and sent to Logan the simple order “You must retake those guns.” Logan rode along his columns inspiriting them by stern, burning words, and prepared to obey the order. Wood's division was to lead the charge. Wood swung his men so as to envelop the rebel rear, and supported by a portion of Schofield's command the charge was made. The 15th met the rebel column—the batteries near Colonel Howard's house opened upon the enemy-too near for artillery, a cheer rang along our lines, a low deadly fire sent death and wounds into the rebel column, it staggered, paused-down to their level came the cold bayonets of our army, and forward! The rebels until now flushed with success, broke and fled! A wild shout-a charge along the whole line, a seizure of all our lost artillery, except two guns, a pursuit and a victory. Hood had been a second time foiled. Sherman's official account is the following:
“ Already the whole line was engaged in battle. Hardee's corps had sallied from Atlanta, and by a wide circuit to the cast had struck General Blair's left flank, enveloped it, and his right had swung around until it hit General Dodge in motion. Gene. ral Blair's line was substantially along the old line of the rebel trench, but it was fashioned to fight outward. A space of wooded ground of near half a mile, intervened between the head of General Dodge's column and General Blair's line, through which the enemy had poured, but the last order ever given by General McPherson was to hurry a brigade (Colonel Wangelin's) of the 15th Corps across from the railroad to occupy this gap. It came across on the double quick and checked the enemy. While Hardee attacked in flank, Stewart's corps was to aitack in front directly out from the main works, but fortunately their attacks were not simultaneous. The enemy swept across the hill which our men were then fortifying, and captured the pioneer company, its tools, and almost the entire working party, and bore down on our left until he encountered General Giles A. Smith's division of the 17th Corps, who was somewhat 'in air,' and forced to fight first from one side of the old rifle parapet and then from the other, gradually withdrawing, regiment by regiment, so as to form a flank to General Leggett's division which held the apex of the hill, which was the only part that was deemed essential to our future plans. General Dodge had caught and held well in check the enemy's right, and punished him severely, capturing many prisoners. Smith (General Giles A.) had gradually given up the extremity of his line and formed a new one whose right connected with General Leggett, and his left refused, facing southeast. On this ground and in this order the men fought well and desperately for near four hours, checking and repulsing all the enemy's attacks. The execution on the enemy's ranks at the angle was terrible, and great credit is due both Generals Leggett and Giles A. Smith and their men for their hard and stubborn fighting. The enemy made no further progress on that flank, and by 4 P. M. had almost given up the attempt. In the meantime Wheeler's cavalry unopposed (for General Garrard was absent at Covington by my order) had reached Decatur and attempted to capture the wagon trains, but Colonel, now General Sprague, covered them with great skill and success, sending them to the rear of Generals Schofield and Thomas, and not drawing back from Decatur till every wagon was safe except three which the teamsters had left, carrying off the mules. On our extreme left the enemy had taken a complete battery of six guns, with its horses (Murray's), of the Reguiar Army, as it was moving along unsupported and unapprehensive of danger, in a narrow, wooded road, in that unguarded space between the head of General Dodge's column and the line of battle on the ridge above, but most of the men escaped to the bushes. He also got two other guns on the extreme left flank, that were left on the ground as General Giles A. Smith drew off his men iz the manner heretofore described. About 4 P. M., there was quite a lull, during which the enemy felt forward on the railroad and main Decatur road, and suddenly assailed a regiment which, with a section of guns, had been thrown forward as a kind of picket, and captured the two guns; he then advanced rapidly and broke through our lines at that point which had been materially weakened by the withdrawal of Colonel Martin's brigade, sent by General Logan's order to the extreme left The other brigade, General Lightburn, which held this part of the line, fell back in some disorder about four hundred yards, to a position held by it the night before, leaving the enemy for a time in possession of two batteries, one of which, a 20-pounder Parrott battery of 4 guns, was most valuable to us, and separating General Wood's and General Harrow's divisions of the 15th Corps, that were on the right and left of the railroad. Being in person close by the spot, and appreciating the vast importance of the connection at that point, I ordered certain batteries of General Schofield to be moved to a position somewhat commanding, by a left flank fire, and ordered an incessant fire of shells on the enemy within sight, and the woods beyond, to prevent his reinforcing. I also sent orders to General Logan, which he had already anticipated, to make the 15th Corps regain its lost ground at any cost, and instructed General Woods, supported by General Schofield, to use his division and sweep the parapet down from where he held it until he saved the batteries and recovered the lost ground. The whole was executed in superb style, at times our men and the enemy fighting across the narrow parapet, but at last the enemy gave way and the 15th Corps regained its position and all the guns except the two advanced ones which were out of view and had been removed by the enemy within his main work. With this terminated the battle of the 22d, which cost us 3,722 killed, wounded and prisoners.
“But among the dead was Major-General McPherson, whose body was recovered and brought to me in the heat of the battle, and I had sent it in charge of his personal staff back to Marietta on its way to his Northern home. He was a noble youth, of striking personal appearance, of the highest professional capacity, and with a heart abounding in kindness that drew to him the affections of all men. His sudden death derolved the command of the army on the no less brave and gallant General Logan, who nobly sustained his reputation and that of his veteran army, and avenged the death of his comrade and commander. The enemy left on the field his dead and wounded, and about a thousand well prisoners. His dead alone are computed by General
Logan at 3,240, of which number 2,200 were from actual count, and of these he delivered to the enemy, under a flag of truce, sent in by him (the enemy) 800 bodies. I entertain no doubt that in the battle of July 22d the enemy sustained an aggregate loss of full 8,000 men.”
General Garrard had been sent with a division of cavalry to break up the Augusta railway, and returned on the 24th, reporting success, having made the roads useless, and destroyed the bridges over the branches of the Ocmulgee.
Sherman now desired to destroy the Macon road, on which Hood's army must depend for supplies. He thus reports the partially unsuccessful attempts of McCook and Stoneman. The 14th Illinois under Colonel Capron, and perhaps other regiments, accompanied Stoneman:
"Generals Schofield and Thomas had closed well up, holding the enemy behind his inner intrenchments. I first ordered the army of the Tennessee to prepare to vacate its line and to siift by the right below Proctor's Creek, and General Schofield to extend up to the Augusta road. About the same time General Rosseau had arrived from his expedition to Opelika, bringing me about 2,000 good cavalry, but of course fatigued with its long and rapid march, and ordering it to relieve General Stoneman at the river about Sandtown, I shifted General Stoneman to our left flank and ordered all my cavalry to prepare for a blow at the Macon road, simultaneous with he movement of the army of the Tennessee towards East Point. To accomplish this, I gave General Stoneman the command of his own and General Garrard's cavalry, making an effective force of full 5,000 men, and to General McCook I gave his own and the new cavalry brought by General Rosseau, which was commanded by Colonel Harrison, of the 8th Indiana cavalry, in the aggregate about 4,000. These two well appointed bodies were to move in concert, the former by the left around Atlanta to McDonough, and the latter by the right on Fayetteville, and on a certain night, viz., July 28th, they were to meet on the Macon road near Lovejoy's, and destroy it in the most effectual manner. I estimated this joint cavalry could whip all
so still. I had the officers in command to meet me, and explained the movement perfectly, and they entertained not a doubt of perfect success. At the very moment almost of starting, General Stoneman addressed me a note asking permission after fulfilling his orders and breaking the road, to be allowed, with his command proper, to procecd to Macon and Anderson, and release our prisoners of war confined at those points. There was something most captivating in the idea, and the execution was within the bounds of probability of success. I consented that after the defeat of Wheeler's cavalry, which was embraced in his orders, and breaking the road, he might attempt it with his cavalry proper, sending that of General Garrard
appointed. I have as yet no report from General Stoneman, who is a prisoner of war at Macon, but I know that he dispatched General Garrard's cavalry to Flat Rock, for the purpose of covering his own movement to McDonough, but for some reason