either flank. About this time General Mercer informed me that the enemy in our front were retreating and ordered me to advance. The brigade accordingly moved forward down the slope of the hill, and as we neared the valley separating our position from the hill occupied by the enemy the woods became more open and exposed us to the view of the Federals and to a heavy fire of artillery. The valley was narrow and destitute of trees and other shelter, excepting along the edge of a small stream running diagonally across it. I ordered a halt as soon as the brigade reached the fringe of bushes along the branch and proceeded to reconnoiter the position of the enemy, who I had discovered strongly posted on emerging from the woods. In this I was ably seconded by Captains Mercer and Gordon, of Brigadier-General Mercer's staff. We found the enemy, whom I had discovered strongly posted on emerging from the woods. In this I was ably seconded by Captains Mercer and Gordon, of Brigadier-General Mercer's staff. We found the enemy drawn up in three lines of battle on the crest of the hill and supported by two batteries. Between us and them the ground was open and afforded no shelter for an advance. They were distant about 500 yards, and their lines outflanked ours both to the right and left. Having ascertained these facts, I determined to withdraw the brigade at once from under the heavy fire of artillery then pouring into our ranks. Having given the command, the troops fell back in good order to about their former position, having lost about 15 killed and wounded. I reported to General Mercer the condition of affairs, and in a short time he ordered me to report to Brigadier-General Lowrey, on our left. As soon as I reached the place designated I was directed to march the brigade around to near General Hardee's quarters, from where, by direction of a staff officer, I advanced some 500 or 600 yards up the road and formed line of battle at right angles with and to the left of the road, the right of the line resting on it. While forming this line the report reached me that General Cleburne had carried the enemy's works, capturing several pieces of artillery and 2,000 prisoners, and had no use for us. Being but recently from a sick bed, and exhausted by the fatigues of the day, I here turned over the command to Lieutenant-Colonel Rawls, Fifty-fourth Georgia, and reported to the brigade hospital.
July 24, again assumed command of the brigade, then in the trenches southeast of Atlanta, near the Fair Ground road. July 25, in the morning the brigade was assigned to Major-General Cleburne's division, and Brigadier-General Mercer returned to his place. In the evening he was relieved and I again placed in command. July 26, we were occupied in clearing up the ground and completing the works. July 27, at 7.30 a. m. we moved into the trenches south of Atlanta, with the left resting upon the Georgia Railroad. All quiet along the front; the brigade employed in completing the trenches and placing obstacles in front. From this time until the 2nd of August there was no change in our position, except shortening our front by closing to the right. During this time the men were employed in strengthening the defenses, clearing off and policing the ground, until, on the morning mentioned, I received an order, of which the following is a copy, appended, whereupon I turned over the command to Colonel Olmstead.
Colonel Fifty-seventh Georgia.