War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0516 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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fled, leaving their piece of artillery in our possession. The crossing was secured without the loss of a man. By night a bridge had been laid, and General Cox had his division across and securely intrenched. Details of expert boatmen from General Hascall's division rendered efficient service in running the bateaux. My thanks are due to Colonel Buell and his regiment for the admirable manner in which they performed their important part. The next morning near Roswell, and opened communication with my command. Hascall's division also followed General Cox's, and the two divisions occupied a secure tete-de-pont a mile in depth, giving ample room for the debouch of the whole army.

The operations against Atlanta and the Augusta railroad commenced on the 18th of July. The Army of the Ohio, being the center in this movement, marched via Cross Keys upon Decatur. No serious opposition was encountered until we reached Peach Tree Creek, about two miles from Decatur. From this point our advance was contested by a heavy force of dismounted cavalry. Hascall, having the advance, entered Decatur about 3 p. m. on the 19th, broke the telegraph line, and destroyed a mile of railroad. The depot, containing a large amount of army stores, also some wagons and other property, were fired by the enemy before they abandoned the town. General Cox turned his head of column near the crossing of Peach Tree, toward Atlanta, and took position for the night about four miles from that place. At evening, upon the arrival of troops of the Army of the Tennessee in Decatur, General Hascall withdrew, and took position in reserve to General Cox. On the 20th General Cox advanced about a mile and a half toward Atlanta against a stubborn resistance, when it became necessary to halt until communication could be opened with the Army of the Cumberland, advancing on the right, and secure his flank, the enemy being in position nearly parallel to the road on which he was advancing. General Cox, therefore, formed line to the right and when the Fourth Corps came up on the right General Hascall passed to the front, engaged the enemy, and drove him back into his intrenched position, near the Howard house. Here operations were suspended, and the troops intrenched for the night. The 21st was spent in reconnaissance, cutting roads, and opening communication with Army of the Tennessee, which had advanced along and south of the railroad. At 1 o'clock in the morning of the 22nd our pickets discovered that the enemy had abandoned his works in our front, and a reconnaissance soon developed the fact that they had fallen back to the main defenses of Atlanta. Early in the morning we advanced and took up position in front of the Howard house, intrenched, and established batteries, preparatory to operations against the town. Shortly before noon, the enemy having commenced a heavy attack upon the Army of the Tennessee, three brigades of Cox's division and one of Hascall's were put in reserve, ready to act when the general-in-chief, who was present, might direct. About noon Reilly's brigade was sent to Pea Vine Creek, to protect our rear against a force which had turned our left through Decatur, and was reported to be threatening our trains. About 1 p. m. General Cox was sent with two brigades to a point on the railroad about a mile from Decatur, to cover the immediate left rear of the Army of the Tennessee. These dispositions proved ample, and the enemy was deterred from making further attempts to strike our