Report of Major General David S. Stanley, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Army Corps, of operations July 27-September 8.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS, Atlanta, Ga., September 15, 1864.
I have the honor to report that upon the morning of the 27th of July General Howard, commanding Fourth Army Corps, turned the command over to me, and left the same morning to take command of the Army of the Tennessee. The corps was at this time occupying a line of works confronting the fortifications of Atlanta, extending from a quarter of a mile northwest of the Buck Head road to the neighborhood of what was known as the Howard house, General Newton holding the right Wood the center, and the First (my old) Division, now commanded by Colonel Grose, the left. During the 27th the position was strengthened, and batteries were put in to play upon Atlanta. On the 28th we were directed to make a strong demonstration against the enemy and, if possible, carry a point of his line. This was done by a strongly re-enforced skirmish line, and the enemy's rifle-pits were carried upon Wood's and Grose's fronts, but the fire of artillery was so severe, and the main work of the enemy seemed so well filled, that no attempt was made to carry it. We took our skirmish line that of the enemy. During the 29th, 30th, and 31st no change was made upon our line.
Being notified that the Army of the Ohio would be withdrawn, leaving the Fourth Corps upon the 1st of August running from the point at which the Buck Head road intersected our front line along the line of Spring Creek. This line we subsequently did not need to use. The Army of the Ohio moved out the night of the 1st of August, and it was deemed advisable to keep up show of force in the line occupied by them. The First Division and Kimball's brigade, of Newton's division, were accordingly so extended as to occupy all the line occupied by General Schofield. This was intended as only a temporary arrangement, to be maintained twenty-four hours, but was finally kept up until the investment of Atlanta was abandoned. The 2nd was employed strengthening our lines. On the 3rd a demonstration was made to attract the attention of the enemy from Schofield's movements. The rebel picket-line was again captured, and 30 of their men fell into our hands. In the 4th, 5th, and 6th these demonstrations were continued with such variation as our judgement could suggest. All, however, tended to confirm the opinion that the enemy held his line in too strong force to be carried by any sudden dash. From this date to the 17th no special movement was made. Our lines were very thin, probably not more than one rank in many parts of the work, but the lack of force was supplied by the material defenses we constructed, consisting of abatis, fraises, &c., so well applied as to make our line almost invulnerable. On the 17th orders were received directing the withdrawing of the corps from their investing line and the massing of the troops behind the Fourteenth Corps. This order also directed the providing of forage, rations, and ammunition for an expedition of fifteen days. The movement was to commence on the night of the 18th, but the same day orders were received delaying the execution of the order until further instructions, in anticipation of favorable results form a contemplated raid upon the Macon railroad by General Kilpat-