works in his front. Hardee failed to push the attack, as ordered, and thus the enemy, remaining in possession of his works on Stewart's right, compelled Stewart by an enfilade fire to abandon the position he had carried. I have every reason to believe that our attack would have been successful had my order been executed. I am strengthened in this opinion by information since obtained through Brigadier-General Govan, some time a prisoner in the enemy's hands, touching the condition of the enemy at the time. The delay from 1 to 4 p. m. was unfortunate, but would not have proved irretrievable had the attack been vigorously made. Ascertaining that the attack had failed, I caused the troops to retire to their former positions.
The position and demonstration of McPherson's army on the right threatening my communications made it necessary to abandon Atlanta or check his movements. Unwilling to abandon, the following instructions were given on the morning of the 21st: The chief engineer was instructed to select a line of defense immediately about Atlanta, the works already constructed for the defense of the place being wholly useless from their position; Stewart's and Cheatham's corps to take position and construct works to defend the city, the former on the left, the latter on the right. The artillery, under the command of Brigadier-General Shoup, was massed on the extreme right. Hardee was ordered to move with his corps during the night of the 21st south on the McDonough road, crossing Intrenchment Creek at Cobb's Mills, and to completely turn the left of McPherson's army. This he was to do, even should it be necessary to go to or beyond Decatur. Wheeler, with his cavalry, was ordered to move on Hardee's right, both to attack at daylight, or as soon thereafter as possible. As soon as Hardee succeeded in forcing back the enemy's left, Cheatham was to take up the movement from his right and continue to force the whole from right to left down Peach Tree Creek, Stewart in like manner to engage the enemy as soon as the movement became general. Hardee failed to entirely turn the enemy's left as directed, took position and attacked his flank. His troops fought with great spirit and determination, carrying several lines of intrenchments, Wheeler attacking on the right. Finding Hardee so hotly engaged, and fearing the enemy might concentrate upon him. I ordered Cheatham forward to create a diversion. Hardee held the ground he gained. Cheatham carried the enemy's intrenchments in his front, but had to abandon them in consequence of the enfilade fire brought to bear upon him. Cheatham captured 5 guns and 5 or 6 stand of colors, and Hardee 8 guns and 13 stand of colors. While the grand results desired were not accomplished, the movements of McPherson upon my communications were entirely defeated, and no further effort was made in that direction at any time. This engagement greatly inspired the troops and revived their confidence. Here, I regret to say, the brave and gallant Major General W. H. T. Walker was killed. The enemy withdrew his left to the Georgia Railroad and strongly intrenched himself, and here properly began the siege of Atlanta. It became apparent almost immediately that he would attempt our left. He began to mass his forces in that quarter. On the 28th it became manifest that the enemy desired to place his left [right] on Utoy Creek. I desired to hold the Lick Skillet road, and accordingly ordered Lieutenant-General Lee-who on the 25th [26th?] had relieved Major-General Cheatham from the command of the corps formerly commanded by myself-to move his forces so