When this corps had advanced some two miles one of his staff officers reported to Lieutenant-General Hood that the enemy was approaching on the Canton road, in rear of the right of our original position. He drew back his troops and formed them across that road. When it was discovered that the officer was mistaken, the opportunity had passed, by the near approach of the two portions of the Federal army. Expecting to be attacked I drew up the troops in what seemed to me an excellent position-a bold ridge immediately in rear of Cassville, with an open valley before it. The fire of the enemy's artillery commenced soon after the troops were formed, and continued until night. Soon after dark Lieutenant-Generals Polk and Hood together expressed to me decidedly the opinion formed upon the observation of the afternoon, that the Federal artillery would render their positions untenable the next day, and urged me to abandon the ground immediately and cross the Etowah. Lieutenant-General Hardee, whose position I thought weakest, was confident that he could hold it. The other two officers were so earnest, however, and so unwilling to depend on the ability of their corps to defend the ground, that I yielded, and the army crossed the Etowah on the 20th, a step which I have regretted ever since. Wheeler's cavalry was placed in observation above and Jackson's below the railroad. On the 22nd Major-General Wheeler was sent with all his troops not required for observation to the enemy's rear, and, on the 24th, beat a brigade at Cassville and took or burned 250 loaded wagons. In the mean time the enemy was reported by Jackson's troops moving down the Etowah, as if to cross it near Stilesbough, and crossing on the 23d. On the 24th Polk's and Hardee's corps reached the road from Stilesborough to Atlanta, a few miles south of Dallas, and Hood's four miles from New Hope Church, on the road from Allatoona. On the 25th the enemy was found to be intrenched near and east of Dallas. Hood's corps was placed with its center at New Hope Church, and Polk's and Hardee's ordered between it and the Atlanta road, which Hardee's left was to cover. An hour before sunset Stewart's division, at New Hope Church, was fiercely attacked by Hooker's corps, which it repulsed after a hot engagement of two hours. Skirmishing was kept up on the 26th and 27th. At 5.30 p. m. on the 27th Howard's corps assailed Cleburne's division, and was driven back about dark with great slaughter. In these two actions our troops were not intrenched. Our loss in each was about 450 killed and wounded. On the enemy's dead, expect those borne off, were counted 600. We, therefore, estimated their whole loss at 3,000 at least. It was probably greater on the 25th, as we had a larger force engaged then, both of infantry and artillery. The usual skirmishing was kept up on the 28th. Lieutenant-General Hood was instructed to put his corps in position during the night to attack the enemy's left flank at dawn next morning, the rest of the army to join in the action successively from right to left. On the 29th Lieutenant-General Hood, finding the Federal left covered by a division which had intrenched itself in the night, thought it inexpedient to attack; so reported, and asked for instructions. As the resulting delay made the attack inexpedient, even if it had not been so before, by preventing the surprise upon which success in a great degree depended, he was recalled.
Skirmishing continued until the 4th of June, the enemy gradually extending his intrenched line toward the railroad at Acworth. On the morning of the 5th the army was formed with its left at Lost Mountain, its center near Gilgal Church, and its right near the railroad.