Today in History:

917 Series I Volume XXXVIII-II Serial 73 - The Atlanta Campaign Part II


were repulsed almost along our whole line. The enemy charged upon our left, and were in turn temporarily checked, but still kept gaining ground upon us, and using his battery with most wonderful effect and accuracy. The fight thus continued, with doubtful results, until about 2 p. m., when it became apparent that the enemy was being re-enforced directly in our rear by the force that we had fought the day before at Macon. The fight then became general all along the line, and from that time until the surrender we lost heavily in killed and wounded, but the enemy suffered none the less. About 4 p. m. General Stoneman, his staff, and most of the brigade commanders held a consultation, and it was thought best to make a desperate effort to cut our way out to our right rear, as this seemed to be the weakest part of the enemy's lines. Just as the general had given his directions for this movement, and the respective officers were starting to their commands, the enemy opened a battery on our right and left flank, and continued their fire from the one in front, followed by a general charge. Our lines gave way, and fell back. I was ordered to a certain point to rally a line Whilst doing this I became separated from the general. The line soon gave way again, the enemy then being within fifty yards, both in front and on the left flank. I at that moment met Colonel Adams, who had just come from General S[toneman] with permission to cut out if he could, stating, moreover, that the general was about to surrender, but that he desired all to get out who could, and he would remain in person and engage the enemy as long as possible, so as to give those making their escape as much start as possible. This we know he did, for we cold still hear cannonading when we were out some two or three miles from the battle-field. I came out with Colonel Adams and his brigade. Colonel Capron had escaped a few minutes before, with a part of the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, Eighth Michigan Cavalry, and the First Ohio Squadron. Lieutenant-Colonel Matson came out with most of the Sixth Indiana Cavalry, all striking out in a northeasterly direction. There thus escaped about 1,200 or 1,300 men, at least two-thirds, if not three-quarters, of the command that was left at the time the battle closed. Colonel Adams came by way of Eatonton, passing it some five miles before we halted, being then about thirty-five miles from the battle-field. Colonel Capron came farther to the left, but getting out about as far as Colonel Adams.

August 1, to-day Adams' brigade was joined about noon by a detachment of the Eighth Michigan, under command of Major Buck, and the Sixth Indiana, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Matson, came through Madison about 2 p. m., and here destroyed a large amount of commissary and quartermaster stores. Burnt some coffee and 50,000 pounds of bacon. The march was continued until dark, when we were joined by Colonel Capron and his command, and the column then moved on until about midnight, when we stopped twelve miles from the bridge crossing the Oconee River, near Athens, Ga.

August 2, to-day we approached the Oconee River, near Watkinsville, hoping to be able to cross at this point and destroy the armory and other government works at Athens. Adams' brigade was in the advance, and when within five miles of the river captured 6 of the enemy's pickets, and within three miles, captured all the reserve picket, consisting of about 20 men. On his approach to the river at the bridge, he was opened upon by a rifled battery. It was then