to countermand the assault, and the lateness of the hour, which made it impossible to get Bate in position to attack before dark, left no alternative but to give up the attack altogether.
These movements and their causes were fully explained to General Hood at the time, and seemingly to his entire satisfaction. No mention is made in General Hood's report of the fight made by Cleburne on the 21st, which he described as the "bitterest of his life;' but it was the well-known and often-expressed opinion of that noble and lamented officer that but for the withdrawal of his division, which prevented the assault on the 20th, and its timely arrival on the right, the enemy would on the morning of the 21st have succeeded in gaining the inner works of Atlanta.
On the 21st of July General Hood decided to attempt on the following day to turn the enemy's left flank. The original plan was to send my corps by a detour to Decatur to turn the enemy's position, but my troops had been marching, fighting, and working the night and day previous, had had little rest for thirty-six hours, and it was deemed impracticable to make so long a march in time to attack on the following day. This plan was therefore abandoned, and General Hood decided to strike the enemy in flank. General Hood says:
Hardee failed to entirely turn the enemy's flank, as directed; took position and attacked his flank.
In proof that General Hood's instructions were obeyed I have only to mention that when my dispatch informing him of the position I had taken and the dispositions I had made for the attack was received he exclaimed to Brigadier-General Mackall, his chief of staff, with his finger on the map, "Hardee is just where I wanted him."
I will not in this report enter into the details of the engagement of the 22nd of July, one of the most desperate and bloody of the war, and which won the only decided success achieved by the army at Atlanta.
In the afternoon of the 28th of July, when the corps of Stewart and Lee, on the left, had been badly repulsed in an attack upon the enemy's right, and were attacked in turn, a serious disaster was apprehended. General Hood sent several couriers in quick succession and great haste to summon me to his headquarters, which were between my own and the then battle-field, and a mile and a half nearer to it. He there directed me to proceed to the field, and, if necessary, to assume command of the troops engaged.
If I failed of my duty in any respect on the 20th and 22nd of July, it is a little singular that on the 28th General Hood, remaining at his headquarters in Atlanta, should have sent me to take command on a field where there was no portion of my own corps, and where nearly two-thirds of his army were engaged. Upon my arrival on the field the fighting had nearly ceased, and I found it unnecessary to take command. This fight of the 28th is mentioned by General Hood in terms to leave an impression of its success, but it was well known throughout the army that so great was the loss in men, organization, and morale in that engagement that no action of the campaign probably did so much to demoralize and dishearten the troops engaged in it. It was necessary, in order to cast upon me that onus of the general failure at Atlanta, to cover up any want of success on the part of others. But if strange that General Hood should have placed me in command of two-thirds of his army on the 28th, after my failures of the 20th and 22d, it is not less remarkable that in the following