War of the Rebellion: Serial 074 Page 0378 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

Search Civil War Official Records

his communications, which, no doubt, was one great cause leading to the evacuation of Resaca and the retreat of Johnson's army south. The loss of the Second Division in this engagement did not exceed 200 in killed, wounded, and missing, while that of the enemy was much greater, as their own report acknowledge in killed alone more than that number. Colonel E. W. Rice, who had charge of the crossing and commanded the troops in the engagement, deserves great credit for the gallant and efficient manner in which he performed his duty. His division commander (Brigadier General T. W. Sweeny) was not on the ground, and the entire direction and control of the movement fell upon him.

The following morning, May 16, I received orders to move the Fourth Division to Lay's Ferry, cross the Oostenaula, and push the entire command forward, as far as practicable, on the road to Adairsville Station. The Second Division, General Sweeny, had received orders at daylight, direct from Major-General Sherman, to move out at once and secure the Rome and Calhoun cross-roads. I arrived at the ferry about 9 a. m. with the advance of the Fourth Division, and was informed by General Sweeny that the Third Brigade only, Colonel M. M. Bane commanding, had been pushed forward. Knowing that the enemy would in all probability contest our advance on this flank, and endeavor especially to hold those roads, I ordered the other two brigades of the Second Division to move out immediately to Colonel Bane's support; and instructing General Veach to cross as rapidly as possible and follow the Second Division, I went immediately to the front, and found Colonel Bane in line of battle, skirmishing heavily along his entire front and on both flanks, and the enemy developed in heavy force in rifle-pits on his left. General Sweeny, commanding the division, not being present, I immediately ordered Colonel P. H. Burke, commanding Second Brigade, into position on Colonel Bane's right, directing him to deploy the Sixty-sixth Illinois Infantry as skirmishers. I placed the First Brigade, Colonel Rice commanding, in position on the left and rear of Colonel Bane, on a line of commanding hills that we could occupy and hold in case of an attack by a superior force of the enemy, until the balance of the army arrived. Colonel Burke had pressed his skirmishers forward on the right until they had seized the Roma and Calhoun cross-roads, which I ordered him to hold, if possible, until the Fourth Division could be brought up. General Veatch had just arrived upon the ground, and was being shown the position to be taken by his position, on the right of the Second Division, when the enemy in heavy force charged down upon the right of the Sixty-sixth Illinois Infantry, which was deployed as skirmishers, striking it in flank. This regiment, which is in part armed with the Henry rifle (seventeen-shooters), by a stubborn resistance, and a steady, cool fire checked the enemy's advance, and gave me time to throw forward to its support, and directly to the enemy's front, the balance the of Second Brigade and part of the Third Brigade. The Sixty-sixth Illinois then fell back gradually to its supports. The enemy advancing rapidly in line of battle received the fire, first, of the Eighty-first Ohio Infantry, then of the Twelfth Illinois Infantry and Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry, which checked and routed him. At the same time the enemy advanced on Colonel Burke. They moved in force around on the east side of Oothkaloga Creek, on my extreme left and rear, to a high range of hills commanding the valley and road up which my command was advancing, when they opened a