Brigadier General E. M. McCook, commanding Second Cavalry Division, reports as follows the result of this expedition to cut the enemy's railroad communications to Macon and West Point. His instructions are specified in Special Field Orders, Numbers 42, of July 26, headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi:
Two and one-half miles of the Atlanta and West Point Railroad and telegraph wire destroyed near Palmetto. The same amount of Macon and Western Railroad and five miles of telegraph wire destroyed near Lovejoy's Station. Eleven hundred wagons burned, 2,000 mules killed or disabled, 1,000 bales of cotton, 1,000 sacks of corn, and 300 sacks of flour destroyed, besides large quantities of bacon and tobacco.
He carried out his orders and accomplished all he was directed to do without opposition and it was only when the command started on its return that General McCook ascertained that the enemy's cavalry was between him and McDonough, at which latter place he had expected to form a junction with General Stoneman's expedition. Finding the enemy across his road in that direction, and being burdened with a good many prisoners and considerable captured property, General McCook turned toward the Chattahoochee River by way of Newnan, on the West Point railroad, and while on the way to that place was attacked by Jackson's division of cavalry, which Between there and the river he was surrounded by an overwhelming force of the enemy's cavalry, supported by a large infantry force.
These troops he attacked in the hope of cutting his way through them, and in doing so broke the whole right of their line, riding over Ross' (Texas) cavalry brigade and making General Ross and his staff prisoners. The enemy sent fresh troops to supply the place of those shattered by McCook's charge, when the latter, finding he could not break their line permanently, directed his brigade commanders to cut their way out with their commands and endeavor to cross the Chattahoochee by detachments. In this they were successful, but with the loss of their artillery. the latter, however, was deliberately destroyed before being abandoned. All the prisoners captured by us (about 400 in number) were also turned loose. General McCook's loss in killed, wounded, and missing, as well as in material, is great, but that of the enemy is considered much greater proportionately, and is even so acknowledged by themselves. For details I have the honor to refer you to the report of General McCook accompanying this.
About the 10th information reached me that the enemy's entire cavalry force was concentrating in the neighborhood of Monticello and on the Ocmulgee River. Refugees and deserters from the enemy stated that it was intended to send this large concentration of cavalry under Wheeler on a raid into Tennessee against our communications.
On the afternoon of the 14th the enemy's cavalry, said to be 6,000 strong, attacked Dalton. Colonel Laiboldt, Second Missouri Infantry, commanding the post, occupied the for with a small command, and bravely defended his position until re-enforced.
Early on the morning of the 15th Major-General Steedman, with two regiments of white and six companies of colored troops, arrived at Dalton From Chattanooga and immediately attacked the enemy, driving him off toward Spring Place after four hours' fighting. The enemy's loss was heavy-he left his dead and wounded on the field. Our loss was 40 killed and 55 wounded. We captured about 50 wounded and 2 surgeons.