July 17, 1864, I assumed command of the First Brigade, Fourth Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, and crossed the Chattahoochee River the same day with the corps. On the morning of 20th of July the brigade moved, prepared for battle, in advance of the corps to take position on the left of the Army of the Tennessee, and passed through the village of Decatur, Ga., and took the road running in the direction of Atlanta. After marching about two miles from Decatur we encountered the enemy's pickets. I at once advanced a heavy skirmish line, and after a brisk skirmish the enemy's pickets fell back to the main line posted in a strong position on an eminence about one mile and a half from Atlanta. As my brigade advanced the enemy opened on the column with a battery of artillery, which was replied to by the Fifteenth Ohio Battery with fine effect. I then deployed my brigade in line of battle and advanced on the double-quick until we crossed a ravine about 400 yards from the enemy's line of battle, when I halted under cover of the bank until the Third Brigade would come up on my left, and I could establish connection with the Fifteenth Army Corps. Brigadier General W. Q. Gresham, commanding Fourth Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, came up to my line, and at my request dismounted and was proceeding to my skirmish line to observe the position of the enemy's battery when he fell severely wounded by a ball from the enemy's sharpshooters, and was carried from the field. I was then directed by Major-General Blair, commanding Seventeenth Army Corps, to intrench my position and hold it for the night. The proper orders were given and the works were at once constructed. My loss was 1 killed and 24 wounded. On the morning of 21st of July I was directed by Brigadier General Giles A. Smith, who had just been assigned to the command of the Fourth Division, to charge the enemy's position. This order was brilliantly executed by my brigade, and when General Leggett, commanding Third Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, had obtained the desired position I was directed to move and take up position on General Leggett's left, which placed me in a position near the left of the Army of the Tennessee, where my brigade constructed works during the night. My loss on this day was 17 killed and 88 wounded. The operations of the 22nd of July have already been reported,* also the list of casualties. On the 23rd of July I was directed to prolong the line of the Sixteenth Army Corps and intrench the same, which was at once done. We remained in that position until the night of 26th of July, when I moved with the Seventeenth Army Corps to the right flank of the Army of the Cumberland. On the 28th of July, the Fifteenth Army Corps being hard pressed by the enemy, in obedience to orders from Brigadier General Giles A. Smith, I ordered the Thirty-second Ohio Veteran Volunteers and Third Iowa Veteran Volunteers to report to Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Belknap to re-enforce the line of the Fifteenth Army Corps. The day closed with a brilliant victory for the Army of the Tennessee. My loss on the 28th was 1 killed and 1 wounded. On the morning of the 30th of July we changed position to the right of the position occupied on the 28th, where we immediately constructed a heavy line of works, and gradually advanced on the enemy until the 26th of August, when the brigade had completed its fifth line of works, in very close proximity to the enemy's front line. This was accomplished with the loss of 8 killed and 43 wounded.
*See p. 587.