ance, with special instructions from Major-General McPherson, commanding department, I moved my command across the Chattahoochee, on the bridge which had just been completed and took a position on the left of General Dodge's command, already in position.
On the 17th of July, in pursuance of Special Field Orders, Numbers 69, Department and Army of the Tennessee, dated July 16, I moved from the position just referred to, at 5.30 o'clock, in advance of the Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, on the road leading to Cross Keys, until I reached Providence Church, when I moved on a left-hand road (called sometimes the Decatur road) until I reached Nancy's Creek where I took up position on each side of the road in line of battle. At this point slight skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry took place, and they were driven by my skirmishers across the creek. On the morning of the 18th at 5 o'clock, under Special Field Orders, Numbers 70, Department and Army of the Tennessee, I started my command on the Decatur road and moved to the Widow Rainey's thence on the Stone Mountain road, by Blake's Mill, to Bowman's [Browning's?] Court-House at the intersection of the Stone Mountain and Lawrenceville and Decatur roads, where I was directed to hold my command in readiness to assist Brigadier-General Garrard, if he should require it, in his efforts to break the Decatur railroad. Subsequently to the issuing of the order referred to, Major-General McPherson directed me to move, with a part of my command, directly to the railroad, if possible, and break it that day. I accordingly moved forward, with a part of the Second Division, and struck the railroad near Stone Mountain, and effectually destroyed it for a considerable distance. Major John R. Hotaling, senior aide-de-camp on my staff, with my escort company, numbering seventy men, was sent out to protect the right flank of this detachment of my command while it was moving in the direction of the road. While out he conceived the idea of penetrating to the road with this little force and destroy what part of it he could between the point the infantry were to strike it and Decatur. He moved accordingly struck the road, and burned two culverts,and destroyed a considerable portion of the track. He is entitled to much credit for this fearless action, as he inflicted considerable damage to the enemy, and at the same time protected the body of troops from surprise which was moving against the road. After rendering the destruction of the road at the point where I struck it as complete as possible under the circumstances, I moved my command to the vicinity of Harrison's [Henderson's?] Mill, and placed them in position for the night.
In pursuance of Special Field Orders, Numbers 71, from Department and Army of the Tennessee, I moved at 5 o'clock July 19,in light fighting order, on the Decatur road, in the direction of Decatur, under orders to strike the railroad at the nearest point on my route and tear up the track, burn the ties, and make the destruction complete and effectual. My command struck the railroad at the town of Decatur, six miles east of Atlanta, and commenced the work of destruction, which in every respect fully complied with the tenor of my instructions. My command bivouacked on the north side of Decatur on the night of July 19. In accordance with Special Field Orders, Numbers 72, from Department and Army of the Tennessee, dated July 19, I moved my command at 5 a.m. July 20 on the direct road to Atlanta, leaving all my wagons, except my ammunition wagons and