Before appearing in front of Dalton, Wheeler's men had destroyed about two miles of track on the railroad south of Dalton, but by noon of the 17th the road was again in running order. Believing General Steedman to have sufficient troops at his disposal to beat off any further attack on the railroad, our whole attention was directed to the reduction of Atlanta, and at the same time it was determined to take advantage of the absence of the enemy's cavalry to make one more effort to break the macon and Western Railroad. Accordingly on the 18th Brigadier General J. Kilpatrick, commanding Third Cavalry Division, was directed to attack and destroy both railroads, and for this purpose he was re-enforced by two brigades taken from Garrard's cavalry division, stationed on the left of the army. With this force, numbering in all about 4,000 men and two batteries of artillery, General Kilpatrick moved out from Sandtown on the evening of the 18th. He met the enemy's cavalry pickets when only a short distance out from Sandtown on the Chattahoochee, and skirmished with them to Jonesborough on the Macon railroad, driving them through that place. For six hours the command was engaged destroying the track, &c., until near midnight of the 19th, when part of his command was attacked done mile below the town and driven in, but subsequently the enemy was repulsed.
Toward daylight of the 20th he moved in the direction of McDonough, and thence across country back to the railroad near Lovejoy's Station, reaching that point at about 11 a. m. on the 20th. There he met a brigade of infantry, and although repulsed at first, finally checked the advantage being gained by the enemy and drove him back with heavy loss. While thus engaged fighting infantry, a heavy force of cavalry with artillery came up in his rear, and he found he was completely enveloped. Determining at once to break the enemy's line and extricate his command from its delicate position, he decided to ride over the enemy's cavalry and retire on McDonough. The movement was successfully made and resulted in a complete rout of Jackson's cavalry division, numbering 4,000 men, leaving in our hands 4 guns, 3 battle-flags, and all his wagons. Some prisoners were taken and the enemy's loss in killed and wounded is known to be large. Reforming his command, Kilpatrick fought the enemy's infantry for an hour longer, when finding his men running out of ammunition, he retired in the direction of Latimer's and Decatur without further molestation, reaching the latter place on the afternoon of the 22d.
For details I have the honor to refer you to General Kilpatrick's official report forwarded herewith; as also to that of Lieutenant G. I. Robinson, commanding Chicago Board of Trade Battery, and to an article* in the Chattanooga Rebel, published at Griffin, Ga., August 25.
Pending the above movements to break the enemy's railroad communications, the troops in front of the city kept up a constant shelling of the fortifications and buildings of Atlanta, and, as refugees informed us, with marked effect. The heavy cavalry force under Wheeler still continued to threaten our railroad in Northern Georgia and East Tennessee without seriously interrupting communication with Chattanooga and Nashville. This, however, gave us no uneasiness, as we had a good accumulation of supplies within safe