enemy in cavalry made it indispensable to their safety that they should remain under the protection of the infantry. It is difficult to imagine a more perplexing or perilous situation; yet it is this engagement, fought under such circumstances, which General Hood disposes of in two contemptuous sentences; an engagement in which my corps was attacked by six corps, commanded by General Sherman in person, and where upon my ability to hold the position through the day depended the very existence of the remainder of the army, for it is not too much to say that if the enemy had crushed my corps, or even driven it from its position at Jonesborough on the 1st of September, no organized body of the other two corps could have escaped destruction. Through the splendid gallantry of the troops the position was held against fierce and repeated assaults of the enemy. At night the object of the stand (which was to secure the successful retreat of the two corps in Atlanta) having been gained, I retired about four miles and took up a position in front of Lovejoy's Station, which was maintained against a renewal of the attack on the following day, and until the remainder of the army formed a junction with my corps and Sherman withdrew to Atlanta.
General Hood sums up to the total losses of his entire army from the date of his assuming command, on the 18th of July, to the Jonesborough fight, inclusive, at 5,247. The casualties in my corps alone during that time considerably exceed 7,000 in killed, wounded, and captured.
General Hood says:
The vigor of the attack (on the 31st of August) may be in some sort imagined when only 1,400 were killed and wounded out of the two corps engaged.
This attack was made principally by Lee's corps, and the loss was chiefly in that corps. It is true that the attack could scarcely have been called a vigorous one, nor is it surprising that troops who had for two months been hurled against breast-works only to be repulsed or to gain dear-bought and fruitless victories, should now have moved against the enemy's works with reluctance and distrust. But dispositions were made to renew the attack with both corps, which would probably have resulted bloodily enough to have satisfied even the sanguinary expectations of the commanding general but for developments of the enemy's movements and forces, which made it necessary for me to assume the defensive. I now consider this a fortunate circumstances, for success against such odds could at best only have been partial and bloody, while defeat would have been almost inevitable destruction to the army.
The fall of Atlanta does not date from the result of the battle of Jonesborough, but from General Hood's misconception of his adversary's plans.
After the 30th of August General Hood's whole plan of operations was based upon the hypothesis that Sherman was moving only a detachment to Jonesborough, whereas in reality he was moving his army. He divided his forces to attack a concentrated enemy. he in effect sent a detachment of his army to attack an enemy who was superior in numbers to his whole army.
Had it been possible with two corps to dislodge three corps of the enemy from a chosen position on the 31st, I should still have had to meet three fresh corps on the following morning with my own corps alone, for be it remembered that Lee's corps was withdrawn by General Hood before he knew the result of the fight on the 31st.