Johnston, in an address to the troops, told them that our communications were safe at last, and that we would now turn upon the advancing columns of the enemy and give him battle. This was received with enthusiasm by the troops; but alas! "how often is the word of promise held to the ear, but broken to the hope." Before 12 m. it was determined to change the line to a stronger one in the rear, just behind Cassville. This most hazardous movement was accomplished, in the very face of the enemy, with little or no loss. Here, then, all agreed the stand would be made or an advance projected, but before midnight again went out the order "fall back."
Friday, May 20.- Etowah River, eight miles south from Cassville, was the next point reached. Our forces and trains crossed without being molested by the enemy, who might have damaged us severely by pressing us vigorously. The river crossed, our troops bivouacked within three miles of it (two miles from Allatoona), holding the fords, or some of them, and burning the bridges.
Saturday, May 21, Sunday, 22 (Trinity).- Our army remained quiet near Allatoona, on Pumpkin Vine Creek. Nothing known of the enemy.
Monday, May 23.- Hardee's corps moved to-day eight miles in the direction of Dallas, which is about eighteen miles west of Marietta, to meet a movement of the enemy reported crossing the Etowah at Milam's Bridge. Hood remains near Allatoona, and Polk's corps is moved near Lost Mountain.
Tuesday, May 24.- Hardee's corps moved to the Dallas and Atlanta road to a point about ten miles below Dallas, except a brigade sent to Dallas to support the cavalry in case the enemy pressed them. No intelligence of the enemy until late in the day, when General Johnston dispatched to General Hardee that he was in force in front of Dallas, and ordered him back in the direction of that place, in order to concentrate, with the view, it is believed, of moving on Sherman before he can make his dispositions to meet us. Heavy skirmishing at Dallas, with no important results. A drenching rain, just before night, greatly refreshed everybody and everything.
Wednesday, May 25.- Hood, having moved from his position near Allatoona on the 24th instant, had hardly occupied his ground on the right, at New Hope Church, about five miles from Dallas, [before he] was attacked (about 4 p. m.) by Hooker's corps. He easily repulsed every attempt to dislodge him without assistance, and at night was left by the enemy just where he was found. General Johnston, believing that Sherman had at last made up his mind to deliver battle, made his dispositions accordingly. Polk got into position during the night, and Hardee's people bivouacked on the road a mile or two from the field.
Thursday, May 26.- Contrary to the general expectation, there was no general engagement, but the day was spent in skirmishing and maneuvering for positions. The enemy is again trying to flank us, this time on the right. During the day the following dispositions were made of Hardee's corps: Walker was moved in rear of Hood's center, Cleburne to the extreme right of our line, connecting with Hindman, and Cheatham to a position on the left of Polk's corps, which constitutes our center; Bate remains detached on the left, one mile and a half from Dallas, guarding the Dallas and Atlanta road.
45 R R - VOL XXXVIII, PT III