Here we remained until the 17th, rebuilding the bridge across the Chattahoochee, and strongly fortifying the position we had taken, which formed a tete-de-pont. At this point Brigadier-General Veatch, was compelled, on account of ill health, to relinquish the command of the division, which now devolved upon the writer. Leaving the river we marched in a southerly direction to Nancy's creek, from which, after a brief skirmish, we drove the enemy's cavalry and encamped. The day following we moved to near Peach Tree Creek, and on the 19th marched into Decatur. While going into position near the railroad, on the south side of the town, the enemy opened on us with artillery, killing and wounding several men of the command. The guns of the Fourteenth Ohio were put in position near the jail and soon drove the enemy from our front. On the 20th we moved on the road toward Atlanta, and encamped near the Augusta railroad, about three miles from the city. On the 21st the Second Brigade was ordered back to Decatur, while I, with the First Brigade, Light Company F, Second U. S. Artillery, and the corps of engineers, was ordered to report to Major-General Blair, commanding Seventeenth Army Corps. At this movement, together with the part taken by my command in the battle of July 22, has already been described in my report dated August 2,* it is not necessary that I should here repeat the details of that sanguinary day. The story of the valor displayed by one of the brigades in Decatur, and of the desperate fighting of the other near Atlanta, is already well known to the general and to the country. Mingled with our rejoicing over the signal and decisive defeat of that portion of the enemy's forces which assailed our position, was felt a sorrow more deep than words can utter, over our wounded and our dead. More than one-fourth of those who stood in the line of some of our regiments at noon were not present when the sun went down. Many a grave was shutting from sight forever those had stood manfully in the ranks for years; hundreds more were borne maimed and bleeding to the hospital, and the commander of the Army of the Tennessee, McPherson, who had secured our unbounded confidence and regard, had fallen just when his usefulness seemed at its zenith and when his assistance seemed most required.
The position taken by the First Brigade at the close of the battle of July 22 was strongly fortified and occupied till the night of the 26th. The Second Brigade took a position on the Decatur road in rear until the 25th, when it returned and reported for orders. Just after midnight July 27 the division moved around the rear of the army to the west side of the city. About 4 p. m. we formed line on the right of the Second Division of our corps and advanced to near Proctor's Creek, driving the enemy's skirmishers steadily, before us till it was dark. On the morning of the 28th we advanced some 500 yards and at once constructed a line of rifle-pits facing to the east. The Second Division of our corps connected with us on the left, and the Seventeenth Army Corps on our right. During the day the enemy attacked the lines of the Fifteenth Corps still farther to the right, and, in obedience to orders, I sent the Sixty-fourth Illinois and Thirty-fifth New Jersey to the support of that corps. They reached the battle-field in time to render very important assistance, and shared in the glory of the day. From this time no movement of importance was made by the division for several works. Sharp
* See p. 474.