Report of Major John T. Cheney, First Illinois Light Artillery, Chief of Corps Artillery, of operations July 22.
HDQRS. ARTILLERY, SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Atlanta, Ga., July 25, 1864.
COLONEL: In compliance with your order of 23rd instant, I have the honor to submit the following special report of the part taken by Battery F, Second Illinois Light Artillery, in the action on the 22nd instant:
One section was on the extreme left of batteries of Fourth Division, intrenched on what is called the old McDonough road, facing our left flank, under the immediate command of First Lieutenant W. H. Powell, who was also in command of the battery. Another section, under immediate command of Second Lieutenant G. R. Richardson, was on our main line, covering a road running west and nearly perpendicular to our main line. The third section was a few rods to the rear, in the reserve. The support of the left section was Sixteenth and Thirteenth Iowa Infantry, left and right, respectively, the former of which was captured, and one company of the latter. The right and reserve sections made good their escape, the former having done all the execution possible. The left section, acting as artillery always should do, and having received no orders to the contrary, fought till their support was captured, when it was too late for them to get away, and Lieutenant W. H. Powell, 2 sergeants, 4 corporals, and 26 men, were missing, either killed, wounded, or missing. The section entire (save the caissons) fell into the hands of the enemy. The two sections who left passed to
the right over a road that I had selected, and caused to be made passable, and took position on the left of the Fifteenth Army Corps, and at a critical moment rendered them good service; this last came under my own observation in part, and is all substantiated by the best of evidence.
I have made every exertion to learn the facts connected with the conduct of this battery, and am happy to be able to say that I believe they did all that could be expected, taking into consideration the fact that they were subjected to a fire from every direction save the right, and so far as the loss of the section is concerned, it certainly looks much better that the officer and men should go with the section than be found deserting their guns.
Second Lieutenant G. R. Richardson, now in command of the battery, has already made application to Captain Speak, chief of artillery, Fourth Division, to send an officer to take command of the battery, which has been done. The name of the officer has not been reported. Lieutenant Richardson, has had but little experience in artillery practice, but there is no evidence that he did not act well his part on the 22d.
For the benefit of the artillery in the Seventeenth Army Corps and the service generally I have endeavored to give you a truthful statement of the action of the battery, based upon my own observation, in part, and good evidence.
I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN T. CHENEY,
Major and Chief of Artillery, Seventeenth Army Corps.
Lieutenant Colonel A. J. ALEXANDER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Seventeenth Army Corps.