War of the Rebellion: Serial 074 Page 0418 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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Numbers 530.

Reports of Brigadier General Elliott W. Rice, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.


Before Atlanta, Ga., August 4, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the action of July 22, before Atlanta:

At early dawn of the 22nd my skirmishers discovered and reported to me that the enemy had disappeared from my front. I immediately ordered them forward, and obtained permission from your headquarters to send the Fifty-second Illinois to their support, which was done. They advanced, connecting with the skirmish line of the Fifteenth Corps on the left and Twenty-third Corps on the right, and passed over the rifle-pits of the enemy, and three-quarters of a mile beyond found the enemy's first line of works, in rear of which, and running parallel thereto, a main road, leading to the southeastern portion of the city. The line was advanced half a mile on this road, closely followed by the Fifty-second Illinois, and soon found the enemy in strong works immediately around Atlanta. Our skirmish line was established within 800 yards of the rebel works, and sustained about one mile and a quarter from the heart of the city. Between the hours of 9 and 10 a. m. I received orders to move my command, following the brigade of Colonel Mersy. I moved in a southerly direction on the main road running in rear of the army, crossing the railroad near the Three-Mile House, arriving at a point two miles and a half from my old position and one mile in rear of the line of Seventeenth Army Corps. Here I formed my brigade in single line perpendicular to Colonel Mersy's line and facing east, my right joined his left at the high point in the open field, the two lines thus forming a right angle, and the Fourteenth Ohio Battery, of Mersy's brigade, in the apex of the angle. My regiments were posted in the following order: Sixty-sixth Indiana Volunteers on the right, Second Iowa on their left, next Welker's battery, Lieutenant Blodgett commanding, the Seventh Iowa Volunteers on the left. I immediately covered my front with a skirmish line, but had no time to construct works. My position being in an open field, I could only rely on the bravery and endurance of my command. The skirmish line had just arrived at the timber, 800 yards from my front, when they met the enemy advancing in heavy force. The skirmish line, after exchanging a few shots with the enemy, moved by the left flank and uncovered my front. This movement was hardly completed when the enemy emerged from the woods in heavy charging column with battle-flags proudly flaunting in the breeze. They burst forth from the woods in truly magnificent style in front of my right. At the same time another heavy column charged General Fuller's line, which was at the edge of the woods half a mile to my right and rear, and perpendicular to my line. Hardly had the enemy made his appearance in my front when Blodgett opened on them a deadly fire, which rather staggered their line, yet on came the advancing rebels, and hotter grew the fire for the splendidly managed and magnificently fought battery of Blodgett. At the same time the Second Iowa Infantry Volunteers and Sixty-sixth Indiana Volunteers opened on them with cool and deadly aim. Still on came the charging columns, more desperate than ever, those in