War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0744 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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troops near the depot, Lieutenant Davidson opened with effect upon him, followed up by Lieutenant Thompson from the fort, when the advance of the enemy broke to the rear. A flag of truce soon after appeared in view, and I at once ordered a cessation of the firing until the purport of it could be ascertained. By this flag I received a note from Major-General Wheeler, of which the following is a copy:

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS,

August 17, 1864.

OFFICER COMMANDING U. S. FORCES,

Cleveland, Tenn.:

I desire to know if you intend compelling me to shell the town?

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. WHEELER,

Major-General, C. S. Army.

To which I replied as follows:

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,

Cleveland, Tenn., August 17, 1864.

Major General JOSEPH WHEELER,

C. S. Army:

GENERAL: In reply to your note just received, I have to say that I have no objections to your shelling the town.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. GIBSON,

Captain Third U. S. Artillery and Colonel Second Ohio Heavy Artillery.

After an interval of twenty minutes Lieutenant Thompson opened fire again from the fort, but deeming Lieutenant Davidson's position insecure unless supported by my whole command, I ordered Major Barnes to withdraw him and the cavalry to Camp Sedgwick, from which point Lieutenant Davidson again opened upon the enemy, who could be seen in large force in the woods directly in our front. I at the same time ordered all patients in the hospital, citizens, and all public stores to be removed from the town, and whatever stores should remain after night-fall I gave orders to burn in case of necessity. During the afternoon Captain Bachmann, of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, with his company, was sent to reconnoiter the woods in our front, and had a sharp skirmish with a body of the enemy posted there. The enemy appearing to make an effort to get in rear of my position, I sent out scouts from the cavalry on the Charleston and Harrison roads, who reported him as having crossed both roads in forces. The position I occupied with my main force being totally indefensible, except from an attack directly in front, and moreover interfering to a serious extent with the fire from Fort McPherson, I removed my whole command, as soon as night set in, to the fort. This precaution, I am satisfied, saved my command from serious loss, as I have since learned from rebel deserters that it was the intention of the enemy to attack me after night-fall from my rear. The next morning, however, I found that the enemy had disappeared, having done no further damage than the cutting of the telegraph wires and the destruction of a few yards of railroad above and below the town.

Our casualties comprise, I regret to say, Captain Philip Rothrock, Second Ohio Heavy Artillery, severely wounded by a shell, and 2 enlisted men of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry slightly wounded.

A wounded rebel soldier states that the enemy lost 8 killed by one shell and as many more wounded by our artillery fire.