Stoneman, who promptly and ably co-operated with me, his skirmishers connecting with mine and assisting materially in driving the enemy. Simultaneously with the movement of the Fourth Division toward Turner's Ferry, Brigadier-General Force, under instructions, took two regiments of his brigade, moved to the left, and crossed the Nickajack Creek at Higgins' Mill, driving the enemy's skirmishers. Here he met Walker's division, who, with the bulk of his force, crossed the creek above him (threatening to cut him off), which caused him to fall back to the west side of the creek, where he took up a strong position and remained, skirmishing heavily until recalled. The casualties in the command during the day did not exceed 40 men. During the night of the 4th the enemy withdrew all his men and artillery from the work in my front, except a heavy line of skirmishers. Early on the morning of the 5th I attacked and drove the enemy from his works with the Fourth Division; followed him closely to the Nickajack Creek, where I found him in force behind a very formidable line of works, in an impregnable position, his left resting on the Chattahoochee River at the mouth of the Nickajack, his right extending in the direction of Vining's Station, on the Atlanta and Marietta Railroad. I moved the Fourth Division as closely as possible to the position of the enemy, intrenched, and put guns in position. The Third Division moved down the Sandtown and Howell's Ferry road to Howell's Ferry, which point it reached without opposition. It was then moved up and connected with the left of the Fourth Division at the mouth of Nickajack Creek. It being considered impracticable to carry the enemy's position by assault, I pushed my lines as closely to the enemy as the nature of the ground would permit, threw skirmishers across the creek, within seventy yards of those of the enemy, almost completely silencing them. The artillery was used to my great advantage, and deserves especial mention as the accuracy of heir fire silenced the enemy's guns, almost destroyed his skirmish line, and, as prisoners reported, was very annoying and destructive to the main lines. Immediately in rear of the enemy's main work he had constructed a pontoon bridge over which he was continually crossing troops, artillery, and wagons. Here the fire of our batteries was reported to have been very destructive, rendering the bridge almost entirely useless.
Nothing of importance occurred on my line until the 10th, when it was ascertained that the enemy had evacuated his works during the night previous and crossed to the south bank of the Chattahoochee without serious loss in men or material. I at once occupied their works and pushed skirmishers to the bank of the river. I remained with my command in this position without a movement of importance until the 16th, when, under orders from department headquarters, I marched my command to Marietta en route to join the Army of the Tennessee near Roswell Factory. On the 17th I marched across the Chattahoochee and joined the main army. On the 18th and 19th I moved in rear of the Fifteenth Corps, encamping on the latter day near Decatur. On the morning of the 20th, under instructions, I moved through Decatur in the direction of Atlanta, using by-roads to the south of the railroad. When within about three miles from Atlanta my advance encountered the enemy. The operations of this and the two succeeding days are given fully in my official report previously furnished and a copy of which is attached to this.* My command remained quietly in the position which
*See p. 542.