by Colonel E. A. O'Neal, and the last by Brigadier General D. H. Reynolds. About 9 a. m., while I was proceeding to the top of the Big Kenesaw Mountain, accompanies by General Quarles and two of staff, the enemy commenced quite a brisk cannonade across the eastern slope and top of the mountain, which continuing some hour or more, he commenced an advance of his infantry in my front. From the rugged character of the ground and the thickness of the undergrowth in front of the skirmish line, much of which runs along a bench of the mountain, the alignment of the enemy was so broken on reaching it that it was impossible to decide clearly whether he advanced with a line of battle or only with a very thick line of skirmishers strongly supported, except in front of General Quarles' brigade, where from the top of the mountain a line of battle of the enemy was clearly seen to approach. This fact, coupled with the double cross-fire from the right and left of his regiment, deployed as skirmishers, directed against the enemy, may explain the greater loss supposed to have been inflicted on the enemy at this point than elsewhere. The firing from command both to my right and left could be distinctly heard from the top of the mountain and indicated a very general advance. Between 11 and 12 o'clock a report was made to me that a portion of General Reynolds' skirmish line had given back. I immediately ordered General Reynolds to re-establish it unless a line of battle of the enemy should be occupying it or intervening between him and it. General Reynolds reported to me in less than an hour that his line had been restored without loss or difficulty. The loss of Major Noled, of the [Twenty-fifth] Arkansas Regiment, a gallant and useful officer, in command of General Reynolds' skirmish line, occurred at the time of the falling back of a portion of it.
The lines of General Quarles and Colonel O'Neal were assaulted at the same time, but held their ground firmly, inflicting a heavy loss on the enemy without sustaining a corresponding loss. General Reynolds estimates the enemy;s loss in his front at 50 killed and wounded.
Major S. L. Knox, commanding the First Alabama Regiment on skirmish line in front of Quarles brigade, a fine officer and veteran regiment, reports that the enemy came within thirty yards of his line at almost all points, and that some 28 got into our pits, of whom 16, including Captain H. B. Wakefield, Fifty-third Indiana, were captured. The rest, seeing that it was only a skirmish line into which they had run, sought safety in fight, but were mostly killed or wounded.
Major Knox estimates the enemy's loss at 300 killed and wounded. Colonel O'Neal reports the enemy's supposed loss in his front at 30 killed and wounded. For fuller particulars reference is made to the reports of brigade and regimental commanders, herewith forwarded.
A list of casualties in hereto appended.*
E. C. WALTHALL,
Major DOUGLAS WEST,
*Not found; but see following report of August 31, 1864.