War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0130 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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skirmishers, under Major Symmes, a mile to the front, through woods, until they reached a road running eastward toward Kenesaw. Here were large, cleared fields, and the cavalry vedettes of the enemy were found posted in the edge of the woods beyond and in the field. My skirmishers were at this time connected with those of the Fourth Corps on their left and of Butterfield's division on their right.


At 10 a.m. my entire command advanced, Jones' and Ireland's brigades in front, formed in two lines, Candy's brigade, in reserve, following. At the same time Butterfield's division advanced on my right and Williams' on my left. On reaching the cleared field above referred to the corps halted for a few moments, while the enemy's cavalry skirmishers were driven in. I then pushed forward, in accordance with orders, through an extremely dense woods, guiding the center of the two front brigades by a road running from Hardshell Church to the Marietta and Dallas road; general direction of the advance, southeast. The pickets sent out in the morning had been withdrawn, and my advance was now covered by the Seventy-eighth New York Volunteers, deployed as skirmishers. A body of the enemy's cavalry who were bivouacked in these thick woods were unexpectedly routed by heavy volleys from my advance lines and retreated in the utmost haste and confusion across the field near Darby's house, and by way of the Marietta road over Muddy Creek, being closely followed by my command. At Darby's place my division, emerging from the woods into a cleared country on the Marietta and Dallas road, formed connection with Cox's division, of the Twenty-third Corps, which, coming from the direction of Lost Mountain, had just reached that point. Here, filing to the left, my brigades formed in line on the low ground between the Darby house and Muddy Creek, Cox's division at the same time forming to my right with its left resting on the Marietta and Dallas road. My skirmishers, which were finely handled by Lieutenant-Colonel Chatfield, continued their advance, crossing under a sharp artillery and musketry fire the open fields in our front and establishing themselves close to Muddy Creek, the opposite bank of which was held by the enemy's pickets. In front of Darby's house is the valley of Muddy Creek which here extends close at the foot of the hill opposite, on which the enemy were strongly intrenched with several batteries bearing upon our position, which they used freely on us. The banks of the creek were low and very swampy, with fringing of thickets. The hills occupied by the enemy were heavily timbered, rising abruptly from the creek, and crowned with a very strong line of works. Their batteries posted here swept at short range the Marietta road from Darby's house to the bridge on the creek; also the entire position taken by my troops, which was necessarily in the open field, exposed to the full view of the enemy. In order to silence their batteries I directed Captain Wheeler to advance the Thirteenth New York Battery to a bald hill held by my skirmishers, within 400 yards of the enemy's main line, and Ireland with his brigade to co-operate and sustain the movement. These directions were in pursuance of instructions received from the major-general commanding corps, who directed me to occupy the ground to the left of the Marietta road, the Twenty-third Corps being ordered to connect with me at that point on my right. Meanwhile, McGill's battery