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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 3 (The Atlanta Campaign)
Page 633 Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

the Utoy and Camp Creeks, rendered it impossible for me to attack him with any possibility of success between the river and railroad. On the 30th it became known that the enemy was moving on Jonesborough with two corps. I determined upon consulting with the corps commanders to move two corps to Jonesborough during the night, and to attack and drive the enemy at that place across Flint River. This I hoped would draw the attention of the enemy in that direction, and that he would abandon his works on the left, so that I could attack him in flank. I remained in person with Stewart's corps and the militia in Atlanta. Hardee's and Lee's corps moved accordingly, Hardee in command. It was impressed upon General Hardee that the fate of Atlanta depended upon his success. Six hours before I had any information of the result of his attack I ordered Lee to return in the direction of Atlanta, to be ready to commence the movement indicated in the event of success, and if unsuccessful to cover the evacuation of Atlanta, which would thus be compelled. As it turned out unsuccessful it allowed the enemy the opportunity either to strike us as we marched out of Atlanta or to concentrate on Hardee. Lee's corps constituted a guard against the former, and I did not fear the destruction of Hardee before Stewart and Lee could join him, as his position on a ridge between two rivers I thought strong in front, and want of time would prevent the enemy from attacking him in flank. The small loss in Hardee's corps, and the much greater loss of the enemy, show my views to have been correct. The attack at Jonesborough failed, though the number of men on our side considerably exceeded that of the enemy. The vigor of the attack may be in some sort imagined when only 1,400 were killed and wounded out of the two corps engaged. The failure necessitated the evacuation of Atlanta. Thirty-four thousand prisoners at Andersonville, Ga., in my rear, compelled me to place the army between them and the enemy, thus preventing me at that time from moving on his communications and destroying his depots of supplies at Marietta. A raid of cavalry could easily have released prisoners, and the Federal commander was prepared to furnish them arms. Such a body of men, an army of itself, could have overrun and devastated the country from West Georgia to Savannah. The subsequent removal of the prisoners, at my request, enabled me to make the movement on the enemy's communications at a later period.

On the night of the 1st of September we withdrew from Atlanta. A train of ordnance stores and some railroad stock had to be destroyed in consequence of the gross neglect of the chief quartermaster to obey the specific instructions given him touching their removal. He had ample time and means, and nothing whatever ought to have been lost.

On the 1st of September Hardee's corps was attacked in position at Jonesborough. The result was the loss of 8 guns and some prisoners. Hardee then retired to Lovejoy's Station, where he was joined by Stewart's and Lee's corps. The militia, numbering about 3,000, under Major General G. W. Smith, was ordered to Griffin. It is proper to remark here that this force rendered excellent and gallant service during the siege of Atlanta. The enemy followed and took position in our front.

On the 6th of September, however, he abandoned his works and returned to Atlanta. Here properly ended the operations about


Page 633 Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 38, Part 3 (The Atlanta Campaign)
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