War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0815 Chapter LI. NORTH Georgia AND NORTH ALABAMA.

Search Civil War Official Records

General Stewart's corps had struck the railroad at big Shanty on the evening of the 3d, and all three of his DIVISIONS had worked all night in destroying the railroad from near Kenesaw up to Acworth Station. As we had been informed at Big Shanty that the Allatoona Pass or cut was fortified, and that the enemy had there a garrison of three regiments and had accumulated a considerable amount of provisions, it was considered a matter of importance that the place should be captured, and after the orders were handed me General Stewart sent me with Major Myrick, with twelve pieces of artillery. It would appear, however, from these orders that the general-in-chief was not aware that the pass was fortified and garrisoned that I was sent to have filled up. Under these orders I left Big Shanty about 3. 30 p. m. and marched to Acworth, a distance of six miles, arriving there before sunset. There I was detained awaiting the arrival of rations until 11 o'clock at night. As I knew nothing of the roads, the enemy's works, or position, it was important to procure a guide, and at last a young man, or rather a boy, was found who knew the roads and had seen the position of the fortifications at Allatoona, he being a member of a cavalry company. At Acworth Captain Taylor, of Pinson's regiment of cavalry, with twenty-five men, reported to me for duty. He was immediately directed to send fifteen men under a trusty officer to strike the railroad as near the Etowah railroad bridge as possible, and to take up rails and hide them, so as to prevent trains from reaching Allatoona with re-enforcements, as well as to prevent any trains that might be there from escaping. From an eminence near Acworth the enemy could be seen communicating messages by their night signals from Allatoona with the station on Kenesaw, and to the east of us were the fires of a large encampment of the Federals and apparently opposite Moon's Station. Citizens residing here informed me that there was a block-house with a garrison of about 100 men at the Allatoona bridge; that at Allatoona there were two small redoubts with out-works, defended with four pieces of artillery and garrisoned with three and a half regiments of infantry. About 11 p. m. the march was resumed. The nigh was very dark and the roads bad. After crossing Allatoona Creek Colonel Adaire, with the Fourth Regiment MISSISSIPPI Volunteers and one piece of artillery, was left near the block-house, with instruc tions to surround it, capture the garrison, and destroy the bridge over the creek. Continuing the march the DIVISION arrived before Allatoona about 3 a. m. Nothing could be seen but one or two twinkling lights on the opposite heights, and nothing was heard except the occasional interchange of shots between our advanced guards and the pickets of the garrison in the valley below. All was darkness. I had no knowledge of the place, and it was important to attack at the break of day. Taking the guide and lights I placed the artillery in position on the hills south and east of the railroad, and the Thirty-ninth North Carolina Regiment, under Colonel Coleman, and the Thirty-second Texas were left as a supporting force, both under command of Colonel J. A. Andrews, commanding the latter regiment. This being done I proceeded with the guide to gain the heights or ridge crowned by works of the enemy. Without roads or paths the head of the line reached the railroad, crossed it, and began the ascending and descending of the high, steep, and densely-timbered spurs of the mountains, and after about an hour's march it was found we were directly in front of the works and not on the main ridge. The guide made a second effort to gain the ridge and failed, so dark was it in the woods. I therefore determined to rest where we were and await.