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On the 26th of July, General Howard* assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee by order of the President, while General Logan returned to his own corps, the Fifteenth. About the same time Hooker and Palmer were relieved, at their own request, of their commands, and were succeeded, the former by General Slocum and the latter by General Jefferson C. Davis. As Slocum was then in Vicksburg, his place was temporarily filled by General H. S. Williams. General D. S. Stanley also succeeded Howard in command of the Fourth Corps.
Meanwhile the army had been making a movement en echelon from left to right, by which the line was prolonged due south, facing east. The right was now held by the Army of the Tennessee, Thomas being in the centre and Schofield on the left. To protect the Army of the Tennessee from any sudden attack in flank while this movement was in progress, Davis's Division of the Fourteenth Corps was posted so as to be within easy supporting distance of Howard. The enemy, observing the movement, and perceiving that it was Sherman's intent to swing around so as to hold the Macon Railroad, massed his troops on the 28th in the same direction. About noon Stewart's Corps attacked Logan, who had just got into position on the right, his corps having been the first detached from its former position on the left. At first the enemy was successful in his onset, his cavalry turning our flank and inflicting considerable loss. But, by the middle of the afternoon, the fortune of battle had changed, and our men, aided by hastily-built intrenchments, repulsed every charge of the enemy. An advance was then ordered, and the enemy was forced back to his own works, leaving the field in our possession. The fighting was very severe till nightfall, although there was little artillery firing. Our loss was about six hundred, and the enemy's nearly five thousand. Had Davis's Division come up on the Bell's Ferry road, as had been looked for, at any time before four o'clock, what was simply a complete repulse would have been a disastrous rout to the enemy.
Meanwhile there was a general advance along the line, but our forces were driven back, the enemy being strongly posted. The Fourth and Fourteenth Corps were hotly engaged, and there was heavy artillery firing in their front all day and night, and on the day succeeding. But night fell upon a divided field. Our right was at one time in danger, but was handsomely rescued.
* Oliver Otis Howard was born in Leeds. Maine participating in the victory of November 25th in In 1830, and graduated at Bowdoin College in 1850 front of that place. Soon afterwards he received and at West Point in 1854. He was appointed in- command of the Fourth Corps, and made the camstructor of mathematics at the Military Academy paign from Chattanooga to Atlanta. He succeeded in 1857, but resigned his commission in 1861 to McPherson as commander of the Army of the Tentake command of a regiment of Maine volunteers. nessee, and in the expedition from Atlanta to SaHe commanded a brigade at Bull Run, and for gal-vannah he commanded the right win of Sherman's lant conduct in that battle was commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers. He fought at Williamsburg, lost an arm at Fair Oaks, and after the battle of Antietam took Sedgwick's Division in Sumner's Corps. Early in 1863 he was assigned to the command of the Eleventh Corps. He was pres ent at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and in the autumn accompanied his corps to Chattanooga,
army. He also commanded a wing in the march northward from Savannah which terminated in the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and all the rebel forces under his command. Since the conclusion of the war he has held the office of Commissioner of Freedmen. He is a man of deep religious principles, and has been called the “Havelock of America.""
Siege of Atlanta.-Position of the City.-Topography.-The Enemy's Strength.-Sherman moves to the Right-Wheeler's Raid.-Kilpatrick's Raid.-Grand Flank Movement of the Army on the Macon Railroad.-Defeat of the Enemy at Jonesboro'.Evacuation of Atlanta-Congratulatory Order of General Sherman.-Truce.-Depopulation of Atlanta.-Correspondence between Sherman and Hood.-Results of the Campaign.
WITH the affair which was described at the close of our last chapter, the enemy ceased his efforts to prevent the extension of Sherman's right flank; but every forward step of the latter was resisted with great force and skill. Sherman was now settled down to the siege of Atlanta, with little hope, however, of either taking it by assault or reducing it while its communications were intact. A description of the locality may not be here misplaced: As seen from Stone Mountain, a vast elevation of granite sixteen miles northeast, Atlanta appears situated upon a large plain, but as the observer descends from this giddy height and travels in the direction of either point of the compass, his progress is obstructed by sharp "pitches" and narrow "ravines," through many of which flow small rivulets. To such an extent is this the character of the surface, that scarcely an acre of level ground can be found in the limits of the city. The soil, where there is any, is light and sandy, with a substratum of red clay. Other portions are gravelly and sterile. The most of the country is still covered with a heavy growth of timber. This description holds good until within a few miles north of Marietta, twenty-one miles north of Atlanta, including Dallas, lying a little northwest of Marietta.
The city is laid out in a circle, two miles in diameter, in the centre of which was the passenger dépôt, since destroyed by fire, from which radiate railroads to every quarter of the South. On the north side of the dépôt is a park. Opposite the three vacant sides were situated the three principal hotels, and in the business portion of the city were many fine blocks of buildings. Before the war these were mostly filled with consignments of goods from the large cities of the North and Northwest for the supply of the cotton regions. But the city had become one vast Government storehouse, containing the machine-shops of the principal railroads, the most extensive rolling mill in the South, founderies, pistol and tent factories, &c., &c. In addition there were works for casting shot and shell, making gun-carriages, cartridges, caps, shoes, clothing, &c., &c. Encircling the city was a line of rifle-pits, nine miles in length and about thirty inches high, upon slight eminences. At nearly regular intervals there were planted twelve or fourteen batteries. The fortifications were constructed as a defence from raids, and for the year previous had been manned with a small force.
This line of works had now become very strong, and extended round the city, within the lines General Sherman had drawn about it. Between the two armies stretched a narrow belt of wooded and hilly ground, which was the scene of a constant series of skirmishes.
enemy had a decided advantage in his fortifications, and the greater facility of movement afforded by the interior position. The force at the disposal of General Hood was not, however, large, and he was looking earnestly for re-enforcements. The strength of his army was not known. Johnston's veterans, by his official report, June 25th, 1864, numbered forty-six thousand six hundred and twenty-eight effective men of all arms, Wheeler's Cavalry included. After that time he received enough veteran troops and Georgia militia to bring his force up to sixty-five or seventy thousand men, from which were to be deducted the losses in subsequent battles. Hood's line of battle extended from Decatur to below East Point, a distance of fifteen miles. General Sherman had been reenforced by convalescents and some new troops, so that his preponderance remained about the same as at the commencement of the campaign. Sherman now resorted to a further prolongation of his line to the southward, with a view of getting possessionof the Macon road. On the 1st of August, Schofield marched from the left to a position below Utoy Creek, where he joined on to Logan's right, and formed the right wing of the army. The enemy made corresponding movements. This process of extending by the right was continued from the 2d to the 5th, on which day Cox's Division of Schofield's Corps attacked the enemy's line a mile below Utoy, and was repulsed with the loss of four hundred men. On the next day Schofield advanced his whole line, in the hope of gaining a foothold on either the West Point or Macon Railroad, but did not succeed.
This movement convinced Sherman that the whole army would require to be moved to reach the Macon road. On the 10th he shelled the city with four-and-a-half-inch rifled guns as an experiment. On the 16th orders were issued for a grand flank movement on the 18th to Fairburn, on the West Point road, and thence across to the Macon road at Jonesboro', twenty-two miles north of Atlanta. This march from Fairburn to Jonesboro' would traverse the base of a triangle of which the east side is the Macon road and the west side the West Point Railroad, both of which meet at East Point, whence they follow a common track six miles to Atlanta. This manoeuvre would cut the only two roads into Atlanta. The necessity of moving the whole army grew out of the superiority of the enemy in cavalry, which was manifested in the failure of the Union cavalry raids. At this juncture, however, Hood detached Wheeler with a cavalry force to proceed east and north and fall upon Thomas's communications at Dalton. Accordingly, on the 14th of August, Wheeler appeared before Dalton, demanding its surrender, which was refused. Some damage was done to the lines, but sufficient protection had been provided to preserve them from danger. Upon ascertaining this movement, Sherman supposed that the detachment of Wheeler would deplete the enemy in cavalry so far as to give the Union army the preponderance. Hence he suspended the general movement he had contemplated, and ordered Kilpatrick, who had recently returned to duty, to proceed with five thousand cavalry on a raid against the two railroads. He was partially successful, and returned to camp on the 22d. The damage he had done, however, was nearly all repaired by that time, and the original grand movement became neces
sary. General Sherman therefore renewed the order for a general movement on his right on the night of the 25th, when, all things being ready, the Fourth Corps, Stanley, drew out of its lines on the extreme left, and marched to a position below Proctor's Creek. The Twentieth Corps, Williams, moved back to the Chattahoochee. During the night of the 26th the Army of the Tennessee continued drawing out and moving rapidly by a circuit well towards Sandtown and across Camp Creek, the Army of the Cumberland below Utoy Creek, Schofield remaining in position. The third move brought the Army of the Tennessee on the West Point Railroad, above Fairburn, the Army of the Cumberland about Red Oak, while Schofield closed in near Digs and Mims. Twelve and one-half miles of railroad were here destroyed, the ties burned, and the iron rails twisted. The whole army moved, the 29th, eastward by several roads: Howard on the right, towards Jonesboro'; Thomas in the centre, by Shoal Creek; Church to Couch's, on the Decatur and Fayetteville road; and Schofield on the left, about Morrow's Mills. The movement proceeded with signal success, and Howard, on the evening of the 30th, passed Flint River and halted within half a mile of Jonesboro'. Hood now began to understand the object of Sherman's movement; but still ignorant, apparently, that nearly the whole Union army was moving upon his communications, he contented himself with sending Hardee's and Lee's Corps to Jonesboro', where they intrenched, while he remained in Atlanta with Stewart's Corps and the militia. On the morning of August 31st, Ioward finding himself in the presence of a heavy force of the enemy, he deployed the Fifteenth Corps and disposed the Sixteenth and Seventeenth on its flanks. The men covered their front with the usual parapet, and were soon prepared to act offensively or defensively, as the case called for. On the morning of the 31st, Kilpatrick took a strong position on a hill in front of the Fifteenth Corps, which the rebels had occupied with a picket line and a few skirmishers. During the forenoon Kilpatrick ascertained that the enemy were massing infantry and cavalry in his front and on his left flank. To meet and check this movement, two regiments of infantry were sent from Osterhaus's command, First Division, Fifteenth Corps, and three regiments of infantry from the Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, as supports; and at the same time a brigade from the Seventeenth Corps was ordered to take a position in the rear of the Sixteenth Corps as reserves, in case of an attack from the enemy. During the forenoon our artillery kept up a ceaseless cannonade upon the rebel lines for the purpose of provoking an assault. The enemy's batteries responded, after a few hours' silence, most vigorously. At three o'clock on the afternoon of the 31st, S. D. Lee's Corps assaulted the Fifteenth Corps and a portion of the Sixteenth Corps, advancing boldly up to our works in three columns, with colors flying. The first line approached within twenty or thirty yards of Hazen's Second Division, Fifteenth Corps; but the deadly fire from our breast works caused it to waver badly, and in fifteen minutes it was broken and irrevocably lost for that moment. The second line of rebels came to the rescue, and with yells dashed on to destruction, for they, too, were swept away before they reached the impenetrable abatis and deadly
palisades that strengthened our works and rendered a successful charge an utter impossibility, unless attempted with vastly superior numbers. The officers endeavored to re-form their lines, with the shattered fragments of the first and second lines, and a final desperate attempt was made to oust the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Corps from their strong position, but the last assault was the most abortive of all, and the most disastrous.
The enemy lost several general officers, including Major-General Anderson, mortally wounded; Colonel Williams and Major Barton, killed; five colonels, majors, &c., wounded or taken prisoners, besides rank and file killed, wounded, and captured. Our loss was slight, as we fought behind our works. The brunt of the fight fell on Hazen's Division, which captured two flags.
While this battle was in progress, orders were sent to push the other movements, and the success of Howard at Jonesboro' was simultaneous with the occupation of the railroad below Rough and Ready by Schofield, and with the occupation of the road lower down by Stanley. The whole army was then ordered to close down upon Jonesboro' on September 1st. The Fourteenth Corps marched along the Macon line, destroyed the track for several miles, and about four o'clock took up position on the left of the Fourth Corps, which had now formed in line of battle.
Orders having been given for the Fourteenth Corps to attack, the First Division, Carlin commanding, in advance, soon came upon the enemy's skirmishers, who were driven inside their main line of works. Carlin's Division formed the left of the Fourteenth Corps, supported by the Third Division, Baird's, while the Second Division, J. D. Morgan, also advanced across a small creek, a branch of Flint River. While this movement was in progress, the enemy evidently divined our intentions, and opened some twenty guns on Morgan's lines, scattering shells among his men at a terrible rate. Morgan now ordered up the Fifth Wisconsin Battery, and very soon quite an artillery duel was in progress, which lasted nearly half an hour; the firing being greatly augmented in its destructiveness by the guns of an Illinois battery, which enfiladed almost the entire length of the rebel works. So hot was the fire from these two batteries that in less than thirty minutes the rebel artillerists, with their infantry support, were driven from their guns in haste, but not until a number of the officers were either wounded or killed. In the mean time the whole of the Fourteenth Corps was posted in strong positions, with the Second Division on the right, First Division on the left, with the left resting on the Macon Railroad, and the Third Division in reserve. At half-past three o'clock P. M., Carlin attacked the enemy's works, situated on a rising knoll in the edge of a piece of dense woods, but was repulsed. Major Edith, commanding a brigade of regulars, was next ordered to attack, supported by Carlin's Division. This brigade moved up to the rebel works in gallant style, eliciting commendation from all; but the enemy suddenly hurled a superior force of fresh troops upon them, and they were obliged to retire or be captured. At four o'clock the entire Fourteenth Corps attacked with great impetuosity the rebel works in two lines. One brigade of the Third