Second Division (which was the extreme right of that division), from its position, and it fell back to the rear of my line, leaving my left flank exposed. The Eighty-second Ohio Veteran Volunteers, which was on my right, did not advance so far as I had done, and I discovered that my right was also unprotected. At this time the enemy's fire was very heavy, and in his pursuit of Colonel Ireland's brigade he came on confidently, approaching to within twenty yards of my line, which was in dense woods, when I gave orders to open fire, which was done with such precision and effect as to temporarily check his advance. Deeming it impossible to hold the position I occupied, isolated as it was, I decided to retire to a ridge thirty or forty yards to the rear, on which the brigade line had already been established. During this time my adjutant (Ratcliff) was killed, and Lieutenant Waterbury, commanding Company A, mortally wounded; besides, I had suffered heavily in the loss of enlisted men. On the ridge to which I had retired I ordered a barricade to be hastily constructed, which was being done when the enemy made another charge upon us and was handsomely repulsed, leaving some of his dead within thirty yards of our works. His attacks were made with great desperation, but finding them of no avail he sought shelter behind his works. The casualties in my command during this engagement were as follows: 1 commissioned officer killed and 2 wounded, 6 enlisted men killed and 39 wounded. On the morning of the 22nd it was discovered that the enemy had withdrawn from our immediate front. We immediately followed and found that he had retired to within the defenses of Atlanta. We then commenced to build a line of formidable works within one mile and a half of the city. From this position the enemy's forts and redoubts could be distinctly seen, and we were exposed to a heavy fire from his artillery, which was so posted as to rake the entire position. Our defenses were in mean time pushed rapidly forward to completion and were soon sufficiently formidable to afford much protection to my command. Then began the siege of Atlanta. On the 24th I was, by order from Brigadier-General Williams, commanding division, placed in command of the brigade, owing to the ill health of Colonel Robinson, the command of which I still retained.
At the commencement of the campaign that has just closed the aggregate strength of my regiment present for duty was 341, which, at the time I assumed command of the brigade, was reduced to 167. During the entire period of my command I was perfectly satisfied with the conduct of both my officers and men. My orders were ever obeyed promptly and cheerfully. They all bore the sufferings and dangers to which they were exposed without a murmur. Of my adjutant William M. Ratcliff, who was instantly killed on the 20th of July 2 while gallantly performing his duty, too much praise cannot be awarded. The vacancy thus occasioned will be difficult to fill. Lieutenant Waterbury, commanding Company A, who received a mortal wound on the same day, was one of my most brave and faithful officers, and his loss is deeply mourned by all who knew him. Lieutenant-Colonel Watkins and Major Higgins rendered me invaluable services during the entire campaign.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain A. E. LEE,
A. A. A. G., 3rd Brigadier, 1st Div., 20th Army Corps.