Report of Colonel Benjamin Harrison, Seventieth Indiana Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations July 20-September 5.
HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, THIRD DIV., TWENTIETH CORPS,
Before Atlanta, Ga., August 12, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of the 20th of July (Peach Tree Creek):
After crossing Peach Tree Creek, on the morning of the 20th, the division was massed in a corn-field in the rear of Newton's division, of the Fourth Army Corps, and wile in this position skirmishers, were pushed down the creek to connect with those of the Second Division of our corps, and then advanced to a point near the crest of a high hill in an open field which intervened between the right of General Newton's division and the left of General Geary's. I was then ordered to move my brigade down the valley of the creek and to from in line at the foot of the hill referred to, connecting my left with the Second Brigade of this division (Colonel Coburn's) and my right with the left of General Geary's division. On arriving at the point indicated, O found that General Geary had already occupied the crest resting in the edge of the timber bordering on a corn-field, where he had some artillery in position. At this point the whole field, which afterward became the battle-ground, could be overlooked, though the crest just here was not so far advanced as that portion of the ridge afterward occupied by this division. The view of the ground thus obtained enabled me to direct the movements of my brigade in the action which followed with much greater certainty and success than I could otherwise have done. When Colonel Coburn's brigade was formed and his right established I found that I could only have room enough for one regiment in the interval between his right and General Geary's left, and reported this fact to the division commander, when each of the other brigade commanders were ordered to throw one regiment on a second line and to close to the left so as to enable me to bring into the first line two more regiments. This change was at once executed, my brigade was then formed in the following order, viz: In the first line, on the right, the One hundred and second Illinois Volunteers Infantry, Captain Wilson commanding; in the center, the Seventy-ninth Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Doan commanding, and on the left the One hundred and twenty-ninth Illinois Volunteers Infantry, Colonel Case commanding. In the second line, on the right, the One hundred and fifth Illinois, Major Dutton commanding, and on the left, the Seventieth Indiana Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Merrill commanding After these dispositions had been made the troops were permitted to rest until the residue of the line should be in readiness for the attack which it was intended to make upon the enemy's lines. In front of my two regiments of the front line on the right there was quite a steep bluff, sifter rising which there was a level field cultivated in corn some 400 yards across, and beyond which the ground again sloped down toward the bed of a small creek. Between these stream ran from the southwest, upon which, about 300 yards from where