War of the Rebellion: Serial 074 Page 0102 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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ambulances, in the vicinity and to the north of Decatur. The division of General Morgan L. Smith had the advance, and soon after the head of the column had moved out of Decatur, his skirmishers met those of the enemy and drove them steadily before them. The enemy would occasionally use artillery from commanding positions on the road, which in no wise impeded my advance. In the afternoon Captain De Gress, commanding Company H, First Illinois Light Artillery (20-pounder Parrott guns), having secured a position from which he could see a part of the city, apparently two miles and a half distant, immediately placed his battery in position and directed his fire toward the place. Several of his shots were observed by the signal officer of the corps to strike some buildings in the town. These were acknowledge to be the first shots from the army which had entered the city of Atlanta. At night I placed my command in position for defense across the railroad, fronting Atlanta at the supposed distance of two miles and a half from the city. During the night a temporary defensive line was constructed, and I caused a few pieces of artillery to be placed in position. Almost the entire divisions of Generals Harrow and Woods (late Osterhaus) were held in reserve. The 21st passed in slight advances and demonstrations on the enemy to enable General Blair's command to join me on the left, and General Dodge's command to join me on the right. During the day I brought into position Harrow's and Woods' divisions on the right and left of Smith's division, respectively, holding a necessary reserve from each division. My command was now in position across the Decatur railroad with the center of my command, Morgan L. Smith's division, crossing the road. The situation of my command will be seen by reference to map Numbers 6,* herewith inclosed. The position was strengthened by earth-works, head-logs, &c, during the night of the 21st. On the morning of the 22nd it was discovered that the enemy had abandoned his line of works in our immediate front, and I advanced a portion of my command at once and took possession of the line, and directed General Smith to advance a section of artillery to a position in front of the abandoned line, which I pointed out to him on the Atlanta road near the railroad, and to advance with it two regiments of infantry to support it. This disposition was hardly completed before I received a written communication from Major-General McPherson, dated at 6 a.m. July 22, informing me that it was the supposition of General Sherman that the enemy had given up Atlanta and were retiring in the direction of East Point, and directing me to put my command in pursuit, passing to the south and east of Atlanta. This order was not put in execution from the fact that the enemy about this time commenced demonstrations in my front, which led me to believe that he had not abandoned Atlanta. At about 10 a.m. this belief was confirmed by a report that the enemy were moving in heavy force around the left flank of the army, formed by General Blair's (Seventeenth) corps, with evident intention of striking us in flank and rear. As soon as the report reached him, General McPherson rode at once toward the left of the army to ascertain correctly the truth of the report, parting with me in the vicinity of the white house on the railroad. The enemy soon developed his intentions by making a most desperate attack on the rear and flank of the Seventeenth Army Corps. In the midst of the first onset of the enemy,

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*Probably a mistake. Map Numbers 6. is again referred to on p. 105, and that will appear in the Atlas.

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