War of the Rebellion: Serial 072 Page 0068 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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strongly posted and intrenched, with Kenesaw as his salient, his right wing thrown back so as to cover Marietta, and his left behind Noyes' Creek, covering his railroad back to the Chattahoochee. This enabled him to contract his lines and strengthen them accordingly. From Kenesaw he could look down upon our camps and observe every movement, and his batteries thundered away, but did us but little harm on account of their extreme height, the shot and shell passing harmlessly over our heads, as we lay close up against his mountain town. During our operations about Kenesaw the weather was villainously bad, the rain fell almost continually for three weeks, rendering our narrow wooded roads mere mud gullies, so that a general movement would have been impossible, but our man daily worked closer and closer to the intrenched foe, and kept up an incessant picker- firing galling to him. Every opportunity was taken to advance our general lines closer and closer to the enemy- General McPherson watching the enemy on Kenesaw and working his left forward; General Thomas swinging, as it were, on a grand left- wheel,his left on Kenesaw, connecting with General McPherson, and General Schofield all the time working to the south and east, along the Sandtown road.

On the 22d, as General Hooker had advanced his line, with General Schofield on his right, the enemy (Hood's corps with detachments from the others) suddenly sallied and attacked. The blow fell mostly on General Williams' division, of General Hooker's corps, and a brigade of General Hascall's division, of General Schofield's army. The ground was comparatively open, and although the enemy drove in the skirmish line and an advanced regiment of General Schofield sent out purposely to hod him in check until some preparations could be completed for his reception, yet when he reached our line of battle he received a terrible repulse, leaving his dead, wounded, and many prisoners in our hands. This is known as the affair of the Kolb House. Although inviting the enemy at all times to commit such mistakes, I could not hope for him to repeat them after the example of Dallas and the Kolb House, and upon studying the ground I had no alternative in my turn but to assault his lines or turn his position. Either course had its difficulties and dangers, and I perceived that the enemy and our own officers had settled down into a conviction that I would not assault fortified lines. All looked to me to outflank.

An army to be efficient must not settle down to a single mode of offense, but must be prepared to execute any plan which promises success. I wanted, therefor, for the moral effect to make a successful assault against the enemy behind his breast- works, and resolved to attempt it at the point where success would give the largest fruits of victory. The general point selected was the left center, because if I could thrust a strong head of column through at that pint by pushing it boldly and rapidly two and one- half miles, it would reach the railroad below Marietta, cut off the enemy's right and center from its line of retreat, and then by turning on either part it could be overwhelmed an destroyed. Therefore, on the 24th of June, I ordered that an assault should be made at two points south of Kenesaw on the 27th, giving three day's notice for preparation and reconnaissance, one to be made near Little Kenesaw by General McPherson's troops, and the other about a mile farther south by General Thomas' troops. The hour was fixed and all the details given in Field Orders, Numbers 28, of June 24.