Reports of Brigadier General Nathaniel C. McLean, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of operations May 5-June 4.
HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, SECOND DIV., 23rd ARMY CORPS,
Camp Near Pettit's Creek, Ga., May 22, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor, in obedience to orders, to report that on the 5th instant I assumed command of this brigade, then in camp at Red Clay, Ga. At 5 a. m. on the 7th we marched with the balance of the corps on the road to Tunnel Hill, and went into camp distant some three miles therefrom. On the 8th we marched to the top of Rocky Face, where we bivouacked for the night, in rear of General Harker's brigade, of the Fourth Corps. I caused breast-works of stone to be built on the mountain, which made our situation impregnable. We were not attacked, however, and on the 9th descended the mountain and advanced in line of battle along the valley at its base, our skirmishers driving those of the enemy handsomely before them, until forced into their rifle-pits at a narrow pass which was strongly fortified. When we had approached within very short range with out first line, the enemy opened with artillery, throwing his first shot directly into the Twenty-fifth Michigan, killing 1 man and wounding 3 others. For a few moments the fire was very hot, and I was ordered to halt, which I did, getting my men under cover and out of range as rapidly as possible. Subsequently, under cover of the woods, my line was advanced again to within a very short distance of the rebel works, and my skirmishers were constantly engaged until night terminated the conflict.
At about 7 o'clock the next morning I was ordered to withdraw, which order I obeyed, the enemy not daring to follow, except at a very safe distance. We fell back to the gap, where we remained until the next day, when we marched for Snake Creek Gap, which we reached on the 13th, and after marching for a considerable distance in line of battle toward Resaca went into camp for the night.
On the 14th we again formed, with a heavy line of skirmishers in front, who were constantly more or less engaged, and advanced toward Resaca. This continued until we reached a point where, by going some distance on our left flank, we could gain a view of some fortifications, but could judge little of their strength or character.
Immediately in our front the ground was very broken, with high ridges, and covered with a dense forest, filled with undergrowth to such an extent as to make it impossible to see the whole length of my line. I had formed my brigade in two lines, the Third Tennessee on the right, Eightieth Indiana in the center, and the Twenty-fifth Michigan on the left. The Sixth Tennessee and five companies of the Thirteenth Kentucky (five companies of the later regiment being on detached service) were formed in the second line, the former in rear of the right and the latter of the left. Part of the Fourteenth Corps was immediately in front of my right wing when we were formed and waiting orders.
About 1 o'clock I received peremptory orders from my division commander, Brigadier-General Judah, to advance and storm the rebel works. I stated that a portion of the Fourteenth Corps was in front of me, and was ordered to march over them and advance immediately. No information was given me of the strength of the