War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0916 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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at the time, between the points above named. There were twenty-two box-cars loaded with commissary and quartermaster stores, and some stock and three passenger coaches with citizens and soldiers aboard. All the cars and engines were completely destroyed. The main column advanced in the mean time on the main road toward Macon, and met the enemy's pickets about three miles out. Colonel Adams had moved down the river, and when about one mile above Macon met the enemy in force, and gave him battle, driving him back until he fell in cover of his own battery on the hill near the river, and about half a mile above Fort Hawkins. Colonel Adams was then unable to advance any farther, but continued to engage the enemy at this point, until his withdrawal was ordered at 3 p. m. In the mean time Capron's and Biddle's brigades were engaging the enemy in front, and to the left of Macon, but with little success, the enemy being protected in his works and lines by the battery in Fort Hawkins. Our battery could get no position from which it could operate effectively against that of the enemy in Fort Hawkins. We threw a few shells into the city. At 3 p. m. General Stoneman, finding it impossible to reach the railroad bridge with the force he had, ordered a withdrawal of all the forces, and directed the march to commence southward, sending Colonel Adams' brigade in advance, with a view to cross over the river and railroad south of Macon, some seven or eight miles, and continue on in that direction, as, I suppose, with a view to strike down through this State, and out at Pensacola or other favorable point. When the head of the column, with the pack train, had advanced in this direction some two miles, a scout reported a large column of rebel cavalry coming into Macon, estimated at from 1,000 to 1,500 strong. Fearing that this column would reach the ferry, where it was designed we would cross, and intercept our column, the general ordered a countermarch, and started back on the road we had gone, designing at that time, I know, to strike out in an easterly course, in the direction of Milledgeville, as soon as practicable, for he thus expressed himself to me personally, and I do not yet know why this course was not pursued. We came on in the direction of Clinton, on the same route we had gone down, arriving at Clinton just at dark. Here the advance drove in a picket of the enemy, supposed to be fifty strong, some of them retreating west from Clinton, and the remainder north, along the route we had pursued as we advanced toward Macon. The general ordered the column to advance north along our old route, and about 9 p. m. the advance began to skirmish with the enemy, which was kept up, we advancing very slowly, until about 1 o'clock at night, when the skirmishing became so heavy in our front, as to prevent any farther advance. We had now got some six miles north of Clinton, and a halt was ordered.

July 31, our advance kept up a heavy skirmish with the enemy until daylight, when an advance was ordered. We had gone about one mile and a half, when very general and heavy skirmishing commenced. A line of battle was at once formed, and the enemy strongly felt, which resulted in the development that the enemy was there in force, upon ground of his own selection, with strong works and barricades, on an elevation in the road in our front, with his lines of battle extending out from this point in the shape of a V, completely covering and enfilading our right and left flanks. General Stoneman at once prepared his command for a vigorous attack upon the enemy, advancing himself with the skirmish line. We