turn in the direction of the old line, they opened a heavy fire of artillery and musketry upon us. I selected the ground to be occupied by my command, and sent orders for General Fuller to send out working parties to intrench his line, and for the Second Division to move to the rear of the seventeenth Army Corps and bivouac. Before these orders could be executed the command was attacked by the enemy in heavy fire. For report of the battle that ensued, I respectfully refer to my report of that date, July 22, which is hereto attached and made a part hereof, marked A.* The fortunate position of the command, and the prompt manner in which it formed and received the attacks; the cool, stubborn bravery with which it met and hurled back, and broke and scattered the columns of an enemy outnumbering it at least three to one, no doubt prevented a serious disaster to the Army of the Tennessee, if not to the entire army. Colonel Sprague, commanding at decatur, saved the trains of the army, and covered and held the Rowell road. For his uniform good conduct during the campaign, and especially his gallant services in this action, he was immediately promoted to brigadier-general of volunteers. During the engagement, I received an order directing me to send the Fourth Division to destroy railroad from Decatur, east. This order had evidently ben issued in the morning, and its delivery to me from some reason delayed, and the command being heavily engaged with the enemy at the time of its receipt, rendered compliance with it impossible.
The line taken in the evening, and held any intrenched during the night of the 22d, was strengthened on the following day (July 23); Colonel Mersy's brigade (Second), of Second Division, was distributed by regiments on the line of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps; Sprague's brigade (Second), Fourth Division, reoccupied Decatur.
During the 24th July Sprague's brigade was employed, assisting General Woods' division, Fifteenth Army Corps, in destroying the railroad between Atlanta and Decatur. The pioneer corps of the command were set to work constructing a line of works in rear of the occupied line for use during the execution of the contemplated movement of the army. The caissons of Light Battery F, Second U. S. Artillery, were discovered between our own and the enemy's skirmish lines, and were taken possession of and brought in by details made for that purpose. On the afternoon of July 25 Sprague's brigade rejoined the Fourth Division. Brigadier General T. W Sweeny was relieved from command and placed under arrest, and was ordered to Nashville by Major-General Sherman, and Colonel (now Brigadier General) E. W. Rice assumed command of the Second Division. Colonel August Mersy's term of service having expired, he was, at his own request, relieved from command of the second Brigade, Second Division, and Lieutenant Colonel J. J. Phillips, Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry, was assigned to command the brigade. During the night of the 26th of July the command drew out of its works and moved to, and halted in rear of, the Fourth Army Corps, the Second Brigade, Fourth Division, covering the rear, and occupying a line of works near to and parallel with the decatur and Atlanta road, until the withdrawal was effected. July 27, the command moved out, passing in rear of the Army of the Cumberland, and crossed Proctor's Creek. Brigadier Gen J. M. Corse, acting inspec-
*See p. 369.
25 R R-VOL XXXVIII, PT III