Today in History:

99 Series I Volume XXXVIII-III Serial 74 - The Atlanta Campaign Part III


p. m. At daylight of the 27th the order was successfully executed, my troops having relieved those of the Fourteenth Army Corps, directly under the guns of the enemy, on Little Kenesaw Mountain. This movement again brought my command together, with Osterhaus' division on the right and Harrow's division on the left, with Smith's division in reserve.

In pursuance of instructions contained in Special Field Orders, Numbers 51, Department and Army of the Tennessee, I organized the division of Brigadier General M. L. Smith, consisting of Brigadier General J. a. J. Lightburn's and Brigadier General Giles A. Smith's brigades, and Colonel C. C. Walcutt's brigade, of the Fourth Division, General Harrow commanding, into an assaulting column, under command of General M. L. Smith, with orders to be ready at 8 o'clock precisely, on the morning of the 27th, to assault the enemy's works on the south and west slope of Little Kenesaw Mountain. The column for assault being formed, I directed it at 8 o'clock precisely to move forward. Immediately after uncovering themselves, they became engaged. The advance was continued in two lines, steadily, in the face of a destructive fire from three batteries of about twelve pieces, throwing shot and shell, and from a musketry fire from the sharpshooters of the enemy, situated below the enemy's first line of rifle-pits and also from the rifle-pits. After a most stubborn and destructive resistance, my attacking column succeeded in taking and holding two lines of the enemy's rifle-pits, and advanced toward the succeeding works of the enemy, situated just below the crest of the mountain. It soon became evident that the works could not be approached by assault, on account of a steep declivity of rocks twenty and twenty-five feet in height, and the nature of the ground, which was of the most rugged and craggy character, exposing at times small bodies of my troops to the concentrated fire of the enemy. Commanding officers state most positively that the position could not be gained in two hours, without any opposing force. After vainly attempting to carry the works for some time, and finding that so many gallant men were being uselessly slain, I ordered them to retire to the last line of works captured, and placed them in a defensible condition for occupancy. The pioneer corps of the command were at once sent to General Smith for this purpose. No less than seven commanding officers of regiments were killed or disabled in this assault. Among the killed was the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Barnhill, of the Fortieth Illinois Volunteers, who was killed instantly at the head of his gallant regiment, within thirty feet of the enemy's last line. Near night-fall the enemy on the right of my line, situated in the captured works, advanced from their works and attacked General Lightburn's command. After a short but severe engagement they were compelled to retire precipitately, and leave their dead and wounded on the ground, when they could not gain possession of them. After this affair the enemy remained quite, and little firing was heard during the night.

In this assault we captured 87 prisoners, including 3 commissioned officers. My casualties were 80 killed, 506 wounded, 17 missing; aggregate, 603 out of the three brigades which constituted the assaulting column.

The night of the 27th was occupied in strengthening the position taken in the day. The 28th, 29th and 30th of June and 1st of July passed without any event of importance occurring, the usual picket and artillery firing being constantly kept up on both sides. The different