War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0699 Chapter LI. NORTH Georgia AND NORTH ALABAMA.

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very sLight, there being only 2 killed and 11 wounded. Captain Naylor, of the Stone River, and Captain Morton, of the General Thomas, handled their vessels skillfully, maneuvering them with precision, and delivering their fire with great effect, continuing to shell the crowd of fugitives they fled back from the river. They, together with the men of their commands, are entitled to honorable mention. Captain C. S. Cooper, Second Illinois Artillery, chief of artillery for the post, displayed great energy and ability. He was indefatigable in strengthening the works and handling his batteries. I take pleasure in making special mention of him to the general commanding. During the night of the 28th it was evident that some general movement was in progress along the enemy's lien, but a dense fog having again enveloped us, it was impossible to gain any clue to it. On the morning of the 29th I became satisfied that the enemy's forces were withdrawing, and sending out a reconnoitering party under Colonel Morgan, Fourteenth U. S. Colonel Infantry, ascertained positively that only a strong rear guard remained. Colonel Morgan engaged the enemy, but found the force so strong that he was compelled to fall back slowly. I ordered out a strong regiment to cover his retreat, and he came in good order and with but small loss. About 4 p. m. I sent out a strong detachment and drove the enemy out of his last line of rifle-pits, and at dark the original picket-line was re- established.

This ended the siege of Decatur, and though for a day or two occasional bodies of the enemy's cavalry appeared in our front, nothing like an attack was made. Our loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners was only 113; that of the enemy was very heavy. From all the information which I gather from deserters, prisoners, citizens, and negroes in the neighborhood, also from their own officers recently, the enemy's loss must have reached 1,000. A correspondent from Hood's army to a Mobile paper says: "We attempted to take Decatur, but found it a hard nut to crack, and did crack it after losing 1,500 men. General Roddey has since told me their loss was greater than the Federals suspected. " I have not mentioned in the body of this report the admirable conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Prosser, commanding Second Tennessee and Tenth Indiana Cavalry on the first day, who stubbornly resisted the advance of the enemy and handled his small command very skillfully. Officers of the enemy who were captured say that they never saw cavalry stand up so bravely before infantry. They would not be stampeded. I feel it a duty also to mention favorably Colonel Given, One hundred and second Ohio, who commanded Fort Numbers 2. He was indefatigable in his efforts to improve the defenses of our left flank, and kept up a steady and well-directed fire from his fort. I take great pleasure in mentioning creditably Lieutenant Colonel R. O. Selfridge, my chief of staff; Lieutenant Samuel M. Kneeland, acting assistant adjutant-general; and Lieutenant John W. Hall, acting aide-de-camp, who rendered valuable services in carrying orders night and day and seeing them executed. Colonel Selfridge was on the gun-boat when it made the first attack upon the enemy's battery; the attack was made at his suggestion.

It is now positively known that the force opposed to us, composed of the veterans of the C. S. Army in the west, under their ablest leaders, not less than 35,000 strong, with ample artillery, left Palmetto, Ga., with the avowed intention of taking Decatur, as its occupation was deemed absolutely essential to them in their further offensive operations in Middle Tennessee. In view of this their withdrawal from our front, after the very serious demonstration made by them, can be attributed only to