Today in History:

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


vious. The troops engaged against the corps on this date was ascertained to be Hood's old corps, commanded by Cheatham. The position was strengthened and maintained until the 26th, when General Smith was directed by me from department headquarters to place General Woods' division in the new line of works, which had been constructed with a view to the withdrawal of the army, and to follow, with his remaining troops, the corps of General Blair, to a new position to be taken up, on the extreme right of the army. As soon as the Second and Fourth Divisions had filed past the works occupied by the First Division, it was directed to draw out and follow the corps to the new position. General Smith, with the command, reached the position he was directed to arrive at in proper time on the 27th of July. On the morning of the 28th of July, having been relieved from the command of the department by the appointment of General Howard, I reassumed command of my old corps, and returned General Smith to the command of the Second Division.

I here desire to thank General Smith, and the officers and soldiers under him, while in command of the corps, for the gallant manner in which they acted during all the time I was removed from them. General Smith has my especial thanks for the manner in which he conducted the command.

Immediately after resuming command of the corps, commenced to move it into the position assigned it, on the right of the Seventeenth Corps, and extreme right of the army, with Woods' division on the left Harrow's in the center, and Smith's on the right. My command was thus moving forward in line of battle when the skirmishers became very actively engaged, and just as my command had gained the ridge upon which was situated Ezra Chapel, the enemy suddenly and with the greatest fury assaulted the right and center of my line. The troops had not had a moment to construct even the rudest defenses. The position we occupied, however, at the moment of attack was one of the most favorable that could have been chosen by us, it being the crest of a continuous ridge, in front of the greatest portion of which a good and extensive fire line was opened. The enemy moved forward rapidly and in good order, evidently intending to and confidently believing they would break our lines at the first onset, which happily they did not do, nor even compel a single portion of it to waver, but all stood firm alike, and repelled the assault handsomely, after about one hour's terrific fighting, in which the enemy's loss was greater than ours in the ratio of 10 to 1. The enemy soon reformed again, and made a desperate assault, which was repeated four successive times with like result of the first. During temporary lulls in the fighting, which did not at any time exceed from three to five minutes, the men would bring together logs and sticks to shield themselves from the bullets of the enemy in the next assault. The engagement lasted from 11.30 a.m. until darkness compelled a cessation. The enemy used one battery of artillery. We used none whatever. It was an open field fight, in which the enemy exceeded us in numerical strength, and we exceeded him in determination and spirit to continue the contest. During the engagement I received from Major-General Blair two regiments of infantry, under command of Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Belknap, and four regiments from General Dodge, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, in all about 1,000 men. These troops were received