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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 38, Part 1 (The Atlanta Campaign)
Page 79 Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC.- MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS.

the command of the corps devolved upon General A. S Williams, who handled it admirably. General Palmer also resigned the command of the Fourteenth Corps, and General Jeff. C. Davis was appointed to his place. Major General D. S. Stanley had succeeded General Howard in the command of the Fourth Corps.

From the 2nd to the 5th we continued to extend to the right, demonstrating strongly on the left and along our whole line. General Reilly's brigade, of General Cox's division, General Schofield's army, on the 5th tried to break through the enemy's line about a mile below Utoy Creek, but failed to carry the position, losing about 400 men, who were caught in the entanglements and abatis, but the next day the position was turned by General Hascall, and General Schofield advanced his whole line close up to and facing the enemy below Utoy Creek. Still he did not gain the desired foothold on either the West Point or Macon road. The enemy's line at that time must have been near fifteen miles long, extending from near Decatur to below East Point. This he was enabled to do by use of a large force of State militia, and his position was so masked by the shape of the ground that we were unable to discover the weak parts.

I had become satisfied that to reach the Macon road and thereby control the supplies for Atlanta, I would have to move the whole army, but before beginning I ordered down from Chattanooga four 4 1\2 inch rifled guns to try their effect. These arrived on the 10th and were put to work night and day and did execution on the city, causing frequent fires and creating confusion. Yet the enemy seemed determined to hold his forts even if the city was destroyed.

On the 16th of August I made my Orders, Numbers 57, prescribing the mode and manner of executing the grand movement by the right flank to begin on the 18th. This movement contemplated the withdrawal of the Twentieth Corps, General Williams, to the intrenched position at the Chattahoochee bridge and the march of the main army to the West Point Railroad near Fairburn, and afterward to the Macon road, at or near Jonesborough, with our wagons loaded with provisions for fifteen days. About the time of the publication of these orders, I learned that Wheeler, with a large mounted force of the enemy, variously estimated from 6,000 to 10-,000 men, had passed round by the east and north and had made his appearance on our line of communication near Adairsville, and had succeeded in capturing 900 of our beef- cattle, and had made a break of the railroad near Calhoun. I could not have asked for anything better, for I had provided well against such a contingency, and this detachment left me superior to the enemy in cavalry. I suspended the execution of my orders for the time being and ordered General Kilpatrick to make up a well appointed force of about 5,000 cavalry, and to move from his camp about Sandtown during the night of the 18th to the West Point road and break it good near Fairburn, then to proceed across to the Macon road and tear it up thoroughly, but to avoid as far as possible the enemy's infantry, but to attack any cavalry he could find. I thought this cavalry would save the necessity of moving the main army across, and that in case of his success it would leave me in better position to take full advantage of the result. General Kilpatrick got off at the time appointed and broke the West Point road and afterward reached the Macon road at Jonesborough, where he whipped Ross's cavalry and got possession of the railroad, which he held for five hours,damaging it considerably, but a brigade of the enemy's infantry, which had been dispatched


Page 79 Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC.- MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 38, Part 1 (The Atlanta Campaign)
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