War of the Rebellion: Serial 072 Page 0628 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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fifteen miles and encamped at dark a few miles from the Armuchee. During the night the cavalry forces, under the command of Brigadier-General Garrard, passed through my camp en route for Lay's Ferry, near Resaca. General Garrard reported his inability to find any bridge across the Oostenaula above Rome, and his determination to return and cross the river with the main column near Resaca. This condition of affairs placed me in an embarrassing position as to how to act under the circumstances. Believing, however, that the main object of the expedition could best be obtained by pushing on to Rome with my command, and try to secure the bridge and capture that place, I immediately sent a communication to Major-General Thomas of my determination, and early on the morning of the 17th resumed the march in that direction. About noon the first of the enemy's pickets were found at Farmer's Bridge over the Armuchee. This place is eight miles from Rome. Here I determined to park the trains and allow the troops time to rest and get dinner. About 2 p. m. the column, except two regiments left behind to guard the trains, resumed the march. Mitchell's brigade had the advance and pushed rapidly forward, driving in the enemy's cavalry until within cannon range of the enemy's works on De Soto Hill on the west side of the Oostenaula River. Colonel Mitchell reported the enemy in strong force in his front, and his advanced guard, Thirty-fourth Illinois Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Van Tassell, sharply engaged with his skirmishers. I immediately made disposition of my troops for the purpose of driving in the enemy's outposts, so as to reconnoiter his works. This was scarcely commenced before he opened with a battery of artillery upon the advance troops, and at the same time a brigade of infantry advanced from the works at attack us. I immediately ordered Colonel Daniel McCook to move his brigade as rapidly as possible to the front and take position on a commanding ridge to the left of the Resaca and Rome road, still held by our skirmishers. McCook moved promptly into position and deployed his troops so as to be able to give or receive an attack at any time. By this time the enemy was observed advancing, apparently with a view of taking possession of a ridge directly in front of the one just taken by McCook's brigade, and extending some distance to his right. This ridge offered a better and more extended line of battle, and I ordered McCook to advance and take possession of it. The movement was promptly executed, just in time to meet the enemy in about equal force ascending the opposite slope to the attack. Both parties opened fire with great determination, and the enemy at this time indicated a disposition to give a general battle outside of his works. From the best information I could get I was well satisfied his forces did not exceed mine in numbers. The gallant manner in which McCook's brigade went into battle and sustained it, notwithstanding a march of eighteen miles since morning, determined me to accept the issue, and Mitchell's brigade was promptly deployed on the right of the road in supporting distance of McCook. The batteries were put in position and opened fire for a few rounds. Morgan's brigade was massed in reserve during the attack on McCook's brigade, but a report received at this time that the enemy was moving in heavy force to my right, together with the demonstrations his skirmishers were making in that direction, determined me to move Morgan to that flank, with orders to push out skirmishers to the Alabama road. The emergency as well as the approach of night required great promptness in the execution of the movement. The emergency was fully met, and