fully refer to the reports of brigade and regimental commanders forwarded herewith. General Logan instructed me, if I needed aid on my left, after weakening it by detaching this brigade, that I should call on General Cox, commanding division of Twenty-third Corps, who was near me. At 5 p. m. the enemy making a demonstration on my extreme left caused me to request General Cox to send me a brigade, which he promptly did. The enemy, however, only opened with artillery. At 12 o'clock that night General Logan ordered two regiments of Colonel Mersy's brigade to occupy the hill so hotly contested for in front of the Seventeenth Corps, and relieve a portion of the troops then fighting. They promptly obeyed the order, and soon securely intrenched themselves. Colonel Sprague, who had with him three small regiment and six guns, the Chicago Board of Trade Battery, belonging to General Garrard's division of cavalry, which had reported to him, and one section of C Battery, First Michigan Artillery, was attacked by overwhelming numbers. Two divisions of Wheeler's cavalry, dismounted, poured down upon him from three directions. Colonel Sprague immediately concentrated his command, and, by determined, unyielding fighting, held the enemy in check and gained a position north of the town, which he was to hold. By so doing he saved the trains of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Army Corps, then on the road from Roswell to the commands.
Great credit is due Colonel (now General) Sprague and his brigade for their conduct on this occasion. We were no doubt, saved a serious disaster by his cool judgement and excellent dispositions. The Ninth Illinois Infantry (mounted) and Forty-third Ohio Infantry joined him during the engagement and promptly went into action.
Light Battery F, Second U. S. Artillery, belonging to the Fourth Division, had reported the day before to the Seventeenth Army Corps, and was placed in position on the front line. Soon after the commencement of the fight it was ordered to return and take a position on the right of my line, covering as well as possible the space between the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps. The battery was on its way to comply with the order, when the enemy, in pressing through the gap, struck it and captured the guns, most of the men escaping. The battery had no opportunity to save itself, being on a road in the timber, in the rear of the Seventeenth Corps, and in a place, under most circumstances, would be considered perfectly safe. Its position when captured is marked. I cannot consider any one at fault or to blame for its loss.
I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both officers and men during the engagement. It was a critical moment for our army, and any failure on our part to have checked the advance of the engagement in our rear would have proved fatal. With three brigades disposed in single line, numbering some 4,500 men over one-half of Hardee's corps, viz, Walker's, Bate's, and a portion of Cleburne's divisions, was met, and driven back with great slaughter, leaving their dead and severely wounded on the field.
During the engagement on my front, prisoners were taken from 49 different regiments, 8 brigades and 3 divisions; 351 prisoners were captured, not including those taken by Colonel Mersey's brigade were captured, not including those taken by Colonel Mersy's brigade on the line of the Fifteenth Corps, 8 battle-flags, and some 1,300 muskets were captured and turned over; 422 of the enemy's dead were buried in my front.