and next day commenced building a bridge across the river, which was completed on the 13th. On the 17th, leaving the Forty-third Ohio to guard the brigade and trains, we moved on Decatur,where we arrived on the 19th and encamped. Next day we moved about four miles toward Atlanta. On the 21st I was ordered back to Decatur with my command,to relieve General Garrard's cavalry and cover our wagon trains coming forward with supplies via Roswell. On the 22nd of July I was attacked by a large force of the enemy. For details of the fight and operations of the day I beg leave to refer to the following report which has once been submitted in obedience to orders:
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, FOURTH DIVISION, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Near Atlanta, Ga., July 25, 1864.
CAPTAIN: In compliance with Special Field Orders, No. 45, Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, of date July 25, 1864, I have the honor to report that on the 21st instant I was ordered to proceed with my brigade, consisting of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin Infantry, Thirty-fifth New Jersey Volunteers, and the Sixty-third Ohio (the Forty-third Ohio begin at Roswell), and a section of Battery C, First Michigan Artillery, to Decatur, Ga., and picket strongly the roads lading south and east of that town. On arrival there, six companies were posted covering all the approaches, and the three regiments and artillery put in position to defend and hold the town. In the afternoon of the 22nd instant the enemy's cavalry made some demonstrations along our front, particularly on the road over which the Seventeenth Corps had just passed. I ordered four companies of the Sixty-third Ohio, all under Lieutenant-Colonel Rusk, to make a reconnaissance,and ascertain, if possible, the force of the enemy. Colonel Montgomery, commanding Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, asked permission to go, and I consented. Soon after the battalion started Second Lieutenant T. D. Griffin, with four guns of the Chicago Board of Trade Battery, reported to me, and I assigned him a position on the hill north of the jail and near the road. This battery was supported by three companies of the Sixty-third Ohio Infantry. The two remaining companies of this regiment were on the right of the line near Doctor Hoyle's house on the hill south of the railroad. On their left were the two guns of Battery C, First Michigan Artillery; next the remaining companies of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin; farther on the left, and covering the roads from the southeast, the Thirty-fifth New Jersey was posted. Colonel Montgomery had proceeded with the eight companies but a short distance before the enemy was developed in considerable force. Our skirmishers being sharply engaged, and discovering the enemy moving in force to the left of Colonel Montgomery,with the evident design of cutting him off, I ordered him to move to the left and rear so as to be in supporting distance of the main line. He had hardly executed the movement before the enemy advanced in strong force in my front,and at the same time pretty large masses were seen moving to my rear, both on my right and left. Colonel Montgomery's battalion got somewhat entangled in a swamp, which was found in their rear, when he attempted to rejoin the main line,and, being heavily pressed by the enemy, the command came in with the organization somewhat broken. Before all could extreme themselves from the swamp some were surrounded, and captured by the enemy. The two companies on the right of the battery being joined by one or two companies of the reconnoitering party a line was at once formed nearly perpendicular to the original line to meet the enemy on my right, and Colonel Cladek, with the Thirty-fifth New Jersey, was doing the same on the left. There was little difficulty in checking the advance of the enemy in front at any time during the action, but [as] the masses passing to my rear on the right and left would endanger the trains in town and on the road from Roswell, I fell back to the hill at the south line of the town. The line was soon formed with six guns in position, and the fight continued until the town was very nearly enveloped by the superior numbers of the enemy, when I again fell back into the court-house square, fighting from three sides of it. Here again the artillery opened with effect. The trains of the Fifteenth Corps, which were in town when the fight commenced, had all withdrawn and were safe. I had no doubt of my ability to hold the court-house square and the town, but this would not prevent the enemy from attacking the trains of our army coming up from Roswell,so I withdrew from the town on enemy who were approaching from the west. In this I was assisted by Major Kuhn, of the Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry, who threw out a strong line of skirmishers to the west of the road mentioned. He had just come up with the train