Point. He then turned north and brought his command safely to Marietta, arriving on the 22d, having sustained a trifling loss, no to exceed 30 men.
The main armies remained quiet in their camps on the Chattahoochee until the 16th of July, but the time was employed in collecting stores at Allatoona, Marietta, and Vining's Station, strengthening the railroad guards and garrisons, and in improving the pier bridges and roads leading across the river. General Stoneman's and McCook's cavalry had scouted well down the river to draw attention in that direction, and all things being ready for a general advance, I ordered it to commence on the 17th, General Thomas to cross at Powers' and Paces's Ferry bridges, and to march by Buck Head. General Schofield was already across at the mouth of Soap Creek, and to march by Cross Keys; and General McPherson to direct his course from Roswell straight against the Augusta road at some point east of Decatur near Stone Mountain. General Garrard's cavalry acted with General McPherson, and General Stoneman and McCook watched the river and roads below the railroads.
On the 17th the whole army advanced from their camps and formed a general line along the old Peach Tree road. Continuing on a general aright- wheel, General McPherson reached the August a railroad on the 18th, at a point seven miles east of Decatur, and with General Garrard's cavalry and General Morgan L. Smith's infantry division of the Fifteenth Corps, broke up a section of about four miles, and General Schofield reached the town of Decatur.
On the 19th General McPherson turned along the railroad into Decatur and General Schofield followed a road toward Atlanta, leading off by Colonel Howard's hose and the distillery, and General Thomas crossed Peach Tree Creek in force by numerous bridges in the face of the enemy's intrenched line; all found the enemy in more or less force and skirmished heavily.
On the 20th all the armies had closed in, converging toward Atlanta, but as a gap existed between General Schofield and Thomas, two divisions of General Howard's corps, of General Thomas' army, was moved to the left to connect with General Schofield, leaving General Newton's division of the same corps on the Buck Head road. During the afternoon of the 20th, about 4 p. m., the enemy sallied from his works in force and fell in line of battle against our right, center, composed of General Newton's division, of General Howard's corps,. on the main Buck Head road, of General Hooker's corps, next south, and General Johnson's division, of General Palmer's corps. The blow was sudden and somewhat unexpected, but General Newton had hastily covered his front by a line of rail piles, which enabled him to meet and repulse the attack on him. General Hooker's whole corps was uncovered and had to fight on comparatively open ground, and it too, after a very severe battle, drove the enemy back to is intrenchments, and the action in front of General Johnson was comparatively light, that division being well intrenched. The enemy left on the field over 500 dead, about 1,000 wounded, 7, stand of colors,m and many prisoners. His loss could not have fallen short of 5,000 whereas ours was covered by 1,500 killed, wounded, and missing. The greater loss fell on General Hooker's corps from its exposed condition.
On the 21st we felt the enemy in his intrenched position, which was found to crown the heights overlooking the comparatively open ground of the valley of Peach Tree Creek, his right beyond the,