War of the Rebellion: Serial 074 Page 0635 Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

We all rode to the right of Polk's line, in front of my bivouac. Hardee soon left and went to his position, which was on the left, there being some report of the enemy in that direction. General Johnston said to me:

You can, if you desire, move your corps to the Canton road, and if Howard's corps is there you can attack it.

My troops were put in motion. At the head of the column I moved over to this road and found it in possession of our own dismounted cavalry and no enemy there. While in motion a body of the enemy, which I supposed to be cavalry, made its appearance on the Canton road, in rear of the right of my original position. Major-General Hindman was then in that direction with his division to ascertain what force it was keeping the other two divisions in the vicinity of the Canton road. It was not a mistake (as General Johnston states) that the force appeared, as is shown from the fact that Major-General Hindman had men wounded from the small-arms and artillery fired from this body. Major James Hamilton, of my staff, was sent to report to General Johnston the fact that the enemy had appeared on the Canton road. During Major Hamilton's absence Brigadier-General Mackall, chief of staff, rode up in great haste and said that General Johnston directed that I should not separate myself so far from General Polk. I called his attention to where General Polk's right was resting, and informed him that I could easily form upon it, and orders were given to that effect, throwing back my right to look after this body, which turned out to be the enemy's cavalry. Feeling that I had done all which General Johnston had given me liberty to do, I then rode to his headquarters, where General Johnston decided to take up his line on the ridge in near of the one occupied by General Polk, a line which was enfiladed by heights, of which the enemy would at once possess himself, as was pointed out to General Johnston by Brigadier-General Shoup, commanding the artillery. In a very short time thereafter the enemy placed his artillery on these heights and began to enfilade General Polk's line. Observing the effect upon the troops of this fire, I was convinced that the position was unsuited for defense. Accordingly, General Polk and myself said to General Johnston that our positions would prove untenable for defense, but that we were in as good position to advance upon the enemy as could be desired. We told him that if he did not intend to take the offensive he had better change our position. He accordingly ordered the army across the Etowah.

It will thus be seen that I received no order to give battle, and I believe that had General Polk received such an order he would have mentioned it to me. Were General Polk now alive he would be astounded at the accusation made against him.

Again General Johnston says:

That the usual skirmishing was kept up on the 28th (May). Lieutenant-General Hood was instructed to put his corps in position during the night to attack the enemy's left flank at dawn the next morning, the rest of the army to join in the attack successively from right to left. On the 29th (May) 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 surprise upon which success in a great measure depended, he was recalled.

The enemy on the 28th had extended his left flank across Allatoona Creek and along the Acworth road. At my own suggestion