War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0928 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

Search Civil War Official Records

up, drove off the enemy, and relieved my rear. As my men in the confusion which took place when our lines were broken on the battle-field lost many of their arms, I now reorganized them, placing those with arms and ammunition in my advance and rear, and moved on. My command now numbered about 300, including the detachments which had just joined me. After fording Murder Creek I moved off toward Madison, leaving Eatonton on my right, marching all night, bearing off to the left of Madison.

The following morning, the 1st instant, Major Davidson, with his detachment, joined my command. I then made a rapid march through Rutledge Station, and joined Colonel Adams' brigade at Puder's farm, seven miles from Rutledge. At the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Matson, of the Sixth Indiana Cavalry, with a remnant of Colonel Biddle's brigade, came in and joined us. The whole command now moved forward toward Watkinsville, arriving there the morning for the 2nd instant and, after consulation with Colonel Adams, it was thought best to attempt to cross the Oconee River at Athens. Colonel Adams was to make a demonstration on the town, with the understanding that if he could not effect a crossing at the bridge he was to send a courier and guide, and I was to join his command and cross the river at a ford two and a half miles above the town. The courier and guide reported after it was found that we could not cross the bridge, as it was protected with artillery. The guide mistook the road, leading me six miles away from the route agreed upon. After a delay of six hours in trying to open communication with Colonel Adams, and learning that heavy body of cavalry and infantry was approaching me from the right, I moved forward on the Hog Mountain road to Jug Tavern, eighteen miles, when I halted and fed, and again moved forward on the same road until I passed the Jefferson and Lawrenceville road. Finding my men and animals completely exhausted, having marched fifty-six miles in twenty-four hours, and in their saddles almost constantly since the battle of the 31st ultimo, I concluded to go into camp and rest for two hours. For several hours previous to going into camp I found it necessary to have a rear guard to bring up the men, who were constantly falling out by the roadside fast asleep on their horses, being so worn out for want of rest. I also ascertained that I had passed all the roads from which I was liable to be flanked. Selecting my camping-ground, I placed the Eighth Michigan Cavalry on picket in my advance and Major Davidson's battalion, of the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, in my rear, they being the only men who had arms and ammunition in the command. A large body of negroes, who had followed the command, and who had been ordered away to prevent confusion if I was attacked, fell in the rear and lay between rear pickets and the main body.

Just before daylight, the morning of the 3rd instant, a body of the enemy's cavalry came up in my rear, and, as near as I can ascertain passed around the main body of the pickets on both flanks, striking the road where the negroes lay. The negroes became panic-stricken and rushed into the camp of my men, who were yet asleep (we having been in camp about one hour and a half), throwing them into confusion. The enemy now charged into my camp, driving and scattering everything before them. Every effort was made by the officers to rally the men and check the enemy's charge, but it was found impossible to keep them in line, as most of them were with-