commanding the division, of date July 8, 1864, in reference to the capture and destruction of a train on the evening of the 5th instant, and the conduct of the commanding officer at Tilton in connection therewith, I have the honor to report that I have thoroughly investigated the case,a nd find that about 6 or 6.30 p. m. of the 5th instant a party of the enemy, estimated at from 200 to 300 dismounted cavalrymen, attacked and captured a loaded train, going to the front, at a point on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, about six miles north of Tilton, Ga. After firing one or two rounds the enemy set fire to the train. None of my command being on the ground, the above facts are obtained from a report made to Colonel C. R. weaver, at Tilton, by the engineer in charge of the train. No firing was heard at Tilton. The first information at Tilton of the capture of the train was the light from the burning mass, which was supposed by some to be northern lights. Soon after the light became visible the patrol from tilton, north, returned to that place, and reported that a train had been captured and was being burnt. Four companies of the Seventeenth Iowa were immediately sent to the scene of disaster, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Archer. He arrived about 9 p. m.; found no person with the train, which was still burning. As no means were at hand to extinguish the fire and save the property not already consumed, Colonel Archer made a reconnaissance on each side of the railroad for a considerable distance without discovering the enemy. He then moved north about one mile to the water-tank, where he found a detachment of the Seventh Illinois Infantry Volunteer, numbering about ninety men, encamped. He then learned that fifty men had been sent to the scene of disaster from the Seventh Illinois detachment, on the train following the one which was captured; that they encountered the enemy, about twenty-five strong, in possession of twelve cars, which had become detached and which were burning. The enemy being fired upon, withdrew to the woods,and the detachment of the Seventh Illinois returned to the water-tank. Lieutenant-Colonel Archer left his command at the tank in change of Captain Hicks, Seventeenth Iowa Volunteers, and went to dalton, where a construction train was obtained, with which he returned the next morning, and with his command reached Tilton early on the day of the 6th instant. It is difficult for me to estimate the loss, which was complete. The train consisted of a locomotive, tender, and 16 cars, loaded with commissary stores. The enemy must have had possession of the railroad about one hour and a half.
I express it as my opinion that Colonel C. R. Weaver, commanding at Tilton, sent troops to the relief of the train as soon as he had any definite information of the disaster, and that the capture and destruction of the train is not chargeable to any neglect on his part. At 10 p. m. of the 5th instant I received a dispatch from him informing me of the disaster and the steps he had taken to assist the train. The report "that no steps were taken by him to disturb the deprecators or to arrest the further destruction of the road and property, and secure the safety of the other trains then due until ordered to do so on the following morning," is entirely untrue.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GREEN B. RAUM,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Captain C. L. WHITE, Assistant Adjutant-General.