Chattahoochee Creek Battle to Jonesboro
SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS.(*)
July 10-22, 1864. Rousseau's raid from Decatur, Ala., to the West Point and Montgomery Railroad, with skirmishes near Coosa River (13th), near Greenpoint and at Ten Island Ford (14th), near Auburn and near Chehaw (18th). 18, 1864. Skirmish at Buck Head. General John B. Hood, C. S. Army, supersedes General Joseph E. Johnston in command of the Army of Tennessee. 19, l864. Skirmishes on Peach Tree Creek. 20, 1864. Battle of Peach Tree Creek. 21, 1864. Engagement at Bald (or Leggett's) Hill. 22, 1864. Battle of Atlanta. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, U.S. Army, succeeds Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson in command of the Army of the Tennessee. 22-24, 1864. Garrard's raid to Covington. 23, 1864. Brig. Gen. Morgan L. Smith, U.S. Army, in temporary command of the Fifteenth Army Corps. 23-Aug. 25, 1864. Operations about Atlanta, including battle of Ezra Church (July 28), assault at Utoy Creek (Aug. 6), and other combats. 24, 1864. Skirmish near Cartersville. 27, 1864. Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, U.S. Army, assumes commandof the Army of the Tennessee. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, U.S. Army, resumes command of the Fifteenth Army Corps. Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley, U.S. Army, succeeds Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard in command of the Fourth Army Corps. Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, U.S. Army, succeeds Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker in temporary command of the Twentieth Army Corps. 27-31, 1864. McCook's raid on the Atlanta and West Point and Macon and Western Railroads, with skirmishes near Campbellton (28th), near Lovejoy's Station (29th), at Clear Creek (30th), and action near Newnan (30th). Garrard's raid to South River, with skirmishes at Snapfinger Creek (27th), Flat Rock Bridge and Lithonia (28th). 27-Aug. 6, 1864. Stoneman's raid to Macon, with combats at Macon and Clinton (July 30), Hillsborough (July 30-31), Mulberry Creek and Jug Tavern (August 8). 30, 1864. Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum, U.S. Army, assigned to the command of the Twentieth Army Corps. Aug 7, 1864. Brig. Gen. Richard W. Johnson, U.S. Army, succeeds Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer in temporary command of the Fourteenth Army Corps. 9, 1864. Bvt. Maj. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis, U.S. Army, assigned to the command of the Fourteenth Army Corps. 10-Sept. 9, 1864. Wheeler's raid to North Georgia and East Tennessee, with combats at Dalton (August 14-15) and other points. <ar72_54> 15, 1864. Skirmishes at Sandtown and Fairburn. 18-22, 1864. Kilpatrick's raid from Sandtown to Lovejoy's Station, with combats at Camp Creek (18th), Red Oak (19th), Flint River (19th), Jonesborough (19th), and Lovejoy's Station (20th). 22, 1864. Bvt. Maj. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis, U.S. Army, assumes command of the Fourteenth Army Corps. 26-Sept. 1, 1864. Operations at the Chattahoochee railroad bridge and at Pace's and Turner's Ferries, with skirmishes. 27, 1864. Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum, U.S. Army, assumes command of the Twentieth Army Corps. 29, 1864. Skirmish near Red Oak. 30, 1864. Skirmish near East Point. Action at Flint River Bridge. 31, 1864. Skirmish near Rough and Ready Station. 31-Sept. 1, 1864. Battle of Jonesborough. September 2, 1864. Union occupation of Atlanta. 2-5, 1864. Actions at Lovejoy's Station.
HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., THIRD DIV., 14TH ARMY CORPS,
Near Jonesborough, Ga., September 3, 1864.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third Brigade, Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, in the action near Jonesborough, September 1:
About noon of that day the brigade broke up its encampment, and moving forward at the head of the division continued in motion until about 4 p.m. It then formed in line of battle in rear of the left brigade of General Carlin's division in a field about one mile and a half from Jonesborough, and about three-fourths of a mile from the enemy's works, the left of the brigade resting upon the Atlanta and Macon Railroad. The brigade was formed in two lines, the Tenth Kentucky and Thirty-eighth Ohio constituting the front line, the Seventy-fourth Indiana and Fourteenth Ohio the second line. The Tenth Kentucky was upon the right of the front line, the Seventy-fourth Indiana upon the right of the second line. Upon the advance of the division of General Carlin my brigade moved forward in the rear of the brigade commanded by Colonel Moore, in accordance with orders received direct from Major-General Davis, commanding the corps, the general commanding the division being temporarily absent examining the enemy's lines upon the left of the railroad. Upon entering the woods in front of the field, the command was halted in obedience to the orders of the general commanding the division, but soon after was again put in motion, in accordance with his direction. By the time the brigade emerged from the dense woods through which it had to pass, the First Division was warmly engaged. Passing partly across the field, I halted the brigade near the brow of the hill and in rear of the brigade commanded by Colonel Moore, of the First Division, and ordered the men to lie down. In about ten minutes, in obedience to direct orders from the corps commander, I moved the brigade by the right flank to the rear of the brigade of regulars, commanded by Major Edie, and constituting the right of the First Division. This brigade had been hotly engaged for some time, suffering severely from the enemy's fire, and had unsuccessfully attempted to carry their works. Upon their right it was said the contest had so far been more favorable to the rebel than Union arms. At this juncture of affairs I was ordered to relieve the regular brigade, pass their lines, and assault the rebel works in their and my front. Ordering bayonets fixed, the word "forward" was given, and the command moved slowly and deliberately to the front with as much coolness and regularity as they ever had done on battalion drill. Ere reaching the crest of the hill and the edge of the woods, just beyond which the rebel line of works were constructed, I had ordered the lines to lie down whilst the first volley should be received, and then both lines to rush forward to the charge. The order was exactly executed, and the charge magnificently performed, and the first lines of the enemy's works carried as with a whirlwind. Still, their second and more formidable line remained. At this moment I discovered for the first time that I had no support upon my immediate left, and that the ground I had up to this time supposed to be occupied by the brigade of Colonel Moore was unoccupied as far as I could see through the woods. I have since been informed by Colonel Moore that this was owing to the necessity he was under of moving most of his brigade to the left across the railroad, in order to protect his left flank, and push back the enemy in that direction, who, at that time, were pouring <ar72_811> nearly an enfilading fire upon his lines. I dared not push my lines farther forward on my left until additional troops could be placed upon my left, as the enemy were far overlapping my lines, and would, if I had advanced farther, in all probability have flanked the brigade upon the left, and thereby imperiled the success already achieved. I sent, therefore, my aides to General Baird, and to Colonel Walker, commanding First Brigade, lest the general commanding the division might not immediately be found, and as every moment seemed critical and of the utmost importance an aide of General Davis also kindly volunteered to procure for me the needed help. Soon after I saw the Seventeenth New York, Colonel [Grower] commanding, moving across the field to my right. I hastened to the commanding officer, explained hurriedly the emergency of affairs, and he gallantly hastened to my assistance. Under my direction he placed his regiment upon the left of my brigade. I immediately ordered the second charge. Gallantly the whole command responded, and charged impetuously upon and over the enemy's second line, capturing or killing nearly all the rebels behind their works in my front. At the time of the second charge the general commanding the division was upon the field in the immediate rear of the battalions upon the right, inspiring the men by his splendid courage and his almost unauthorized and reckless exposure of himself to the enemy's fire. With the capture of the enemy's second line toward the left, the contest ceased, and our troops remained master of the field. The enemy in front of the Thirty-eighth and Fourteenth Ohio were composed of the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and Ninth Kentucky (rebel) Regiments, known as Lewis' brigade, but during the fight were under command of Colonel Caldwell, of the Ninth Kentucky. The brigade is in the division formerly commanded by General Bate, but on September 1, by General Brown. In front of the Tenth Kentucky and Seventy-fourth Indiana, upon the right, was the Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Regiments, and the consolidated batteries of the Eighth and Nineteenth Arkansas, four guns. They were attached to the brigade commanded by General Govan, of General Cleburne's division, and formed the right of his command. A large proportion of the officers and men comprising these commands in our front, except those of one of the Kentucky regiments upon our left, were either killed or captured. They fought with the greatest desperation, and only yielded to the superior heroism of our men. The bayonet was freely used all along the line upon both sides. The troops met were confessedly among the best of the rebel army, were superior in point of numbers, and had the advantage of works and artillery. I can give no accurate account of the number of prisoners captured, as by far the greatest number were sent to the rear without guards, as I had only men enough to fight the armed rebels in front. Among my prisoners, however, were Colonel Smith, commanding Sixth and Seventh Arkansas; Lieut. Col. Philip Lee, commanding Second Kentucky; Major Maxson, commanding Sixth Kentucky, besides a large number of commissioned officers. Captain Newman, of my staff, delivered 26 commissioned officers and 196 enlisted men over to corps headquarters, and Captain Mills, of the Eighteenth Regulars, informed me he had in addition secured some 350 rebels running to the rear, who were captured by my brigade. Lieutenant Kuder, Seventy-fourth Indiana, with his own hand, captured the colors and color <ar72_812> bearer of the Eighth and Nineteenth Arkansas Battery, and Companies A, F, and D of that regiment unquestionably captured their guns and most of the men belonging to the battery some time before the arrival of any support upon the right, as is evidenced by accompanying statements of Captains North and Harter and Lieutenants Kuder and King, of the Seventy-fourth Indiana, and their men. I desire to direct the especial attention of the general commanding to these statements in order that he may claim for and assert for the gallant officers and men deserved and hard-won credit, without, however, desiring in the least degree to detract from the merits of the troops of any other command, least of all of the gallant soldiers of the Second Division, who, from the battle of Shiloh down to the present time, have again and again given the highest proofs of courage and heroism. But on September 1 it was the terrible yet happy fortune of the Third Brigade to meet the enemy in his strongest position and break his lines under the heaviest fire, as the list of casualties abundantly proves. It is, therefore, but simple justice to the living as well as dead heroes of the Third Brigade that the chiefest honors of the sanguinary contest of that day should be awarded them. Certainly the Second Division won glory enough even on that day not to deprive their brothers in arms of any which properly belongs to them. The battle, so far as the Third Brigade was concerned, lasted but little over thirty minutes. It went into action with 1,075 muskets and 64 field and commissioned officers. It lost during the fight 3 officers and 72 enlisted men killed, and 18 officers and 237 enlisted men wounded. Total killed, 75; wounded, 255. Total loss, 330, or a little more than 30 per cent. of our force engaged. These figures of themselves, more eloquently than words, proclaim the heroism of the men and the terrible character of the contest. A full and complete list of the casualties(*) accompanies this report, and I will only add that a very considerable portion of the wounds are reported by the surgeons as mortal and a very large proportion as very severe, whilst very many who were slightly hurt, I am informed by the regimental commandants, have not been reported at all. With few exceptions all the command behaved so gallantly that it almost seems invidious to mention especially the bearing of any one by name, and yet I feel that it is but an act of justice to make particular mention of the splendid courage of Colonel Choate, commanding Thirty-eighth Ohio, who was severely wounded while in the act of raising the colors of his regiment from the ground, where they had fallen in consequence of the wounding of his color bearer. With so gallant a leader it is not strange his regiment should have done so nobly. Major Wilson, commanding Fourteenth Ohio, was severely wounded at almost the beginning of the engagement whilst gallantly urging his brave men forward by both voice and example. His place was fortunately filled by Capt. George W. Kirk and Adjutant Newton, than whom no better or braver men live. Major Morgan, commanding Seventy-fourth Indiana, was everywhere encouraging his men and sharing equally with them the dangers of the battle.
Colonel Hays, commanding Tenth Kentucky, gallantly assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel Wharton and Major Davidson, showed himself to be among the bravest of the brave, and, with his command, was among the first to reach the enemy's works. The amputated <ar72_813> arms and limbs and torn bodies of the wounded officers--a list of whom is hereto attached--speak more eloquently than any poor words of mine can do their noble conduct. It is the highest praise that can be spoken of them to say they proved themselves worthy of the rank they bore and of the men under them. Lieut. Walter B. Kirk, of the Fourteenth Ohio, was instantly killed whilst under my eye, successfully rallying a few men who momentarily faltered under the terrific fire to which they were subjected. Of enlisted men my especial attention has been directed by the regimental commanders to the gallant conduct of Corpl. Orville B. Young, Tenth Kentucky, color bearer, who, when the regiment was for a moment checked within twenty yards of the enemy's works by the murderous fire, rushed forward with the flag, and planting it on the works, called on his comrades to rally around it; of Private Joseph E. Warner, color bearer of the Fourteenth Ohio, who was among the first of his regiment to reach the enemy's second line of works, and was shot down while planting the colors on the top of them; of Corpl. John Beely, of the color guard, who immediately lifted the colors and was severely wounded whilst doing so, and of Corpl. John S. Snook, who then took them and raised them upon the works, and there held them till the contest was over. To the conduct likewise of the color bearer and guard of the Seventy-fourth Indiana, including Sergt. Joseph H. Benner, who was killed in advance of the lines whilst urging his comrades forward, and whose last words were, "Boys, follow me." The colors were then taken by Sergeant Gould, who is reported as having manifested the most dauntless courage. The color guard of the Thirty-eighth Ohio also behaved with great heroism, Sergt. Oscar R. Randall and Corpl. Darius W. Baird being killed, and Corpl. George W. Strawser severely wounded. I cannot close this hurried and imperfect report without a brief allusion to the gallant bearing of my staff officers. Capt. Wilbur F. Spofford, Fourteenth Ohio, and acting assistant adjutant-general, was killed with sword in hand, pressing forward with his regiment upon the enemy's lines in the second and last charge. The life of no more generous and whole-souled man or more gallant soldier was ever sacrificed for our country's safety. He died as a brave man loves to die, with his face to the foe, and just as victory was crowning our efforts. To Capt. Andrew Newman, brigade inspector; Lieuts. Benjamin R. Smith (wounded twice) and Henry G. Newbert, acting aides, was I under the greatest obligations for efficient and valuable assistance. Sergt. Alonzo Wood, of my escort, was severely wounded, but would not go to the rear until ordered. All my orderlies behaved in the most meritorious manner, especially Private Frank Bartholomew, who proved himself, as at Chickamauga, a perfect hero. In conclusion, I cannot forbear giving expression to my feelings of pride and gratification at the manner in which the brigade upheld the honor of the division and corps upon that day, and to my belief that not an officer or private of my command went to the rear from the moment we formed for the assault without a good and sufficient reason.
I am, major, yours, very respectfully,
GEO. P. ESTE,
Maj. JAMES A. LOWRIE,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Division, 14th Army Corps.
HDQRS. TENTH KENTUCKY VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,
Near Jonesborough, Ga., September 3, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by the Tenth Kentucky Infantry in the assault upon the enemy's works on the evening of the 1st instant:
The regiment was on the right of the brigade in the front line, formed about 300 yards of the enemy's works, under the orders of Colonel Este, commanding the brigade. We fixed bayonets and moved forward to the assault about 5 p.m. The men reserved their fire until we reached the woods about thirty yards from the works of the enemy. Up to this time we had steadily advanced under a severe fire. As soon as we entered the woods the enemy, from behind their works, poured upon us a heavy volley of musketry, which, for a moment, caused the regiment to halt. We immediately returned the fire, and, with a shout, rushed on their works and captured a number of prisoners in their rifle-pits. The Seventy-fourth Indiana Regiment, which was in the rear line, closed up on us as we entered the works and gallantly charged the works with us. It being a larger regiment than mine, its right was some two companies farther to the right than ours. The enemy immediately in our front was the Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Regiments, of Cleburne's division, consolidated. We captured their flag, which has been sent to brigade headquarters. Private Henry B. Mattingly, of Company E, had the honor of capturing these colors. When we captured the works of the enemy, and for several minutes thereafter, our regiment and the Seventy-fourth Indiana had no support on our right, and the enemy fired up the line of works upon our right flank; but within some ten minutes the enemy was driven from our right flank by a well-directed fire from the Seventy-fourth Indiana and Tenth Kentucky Regiments. My regiment went into the fight with 152 guns. Our casualties will be annexed to this report. The officers and soldiers of my regiment behaved with great gallantry and courage. I would like very much to mention individual acts of officers and men, but in so doing I would have to mention so many names that it might seem to be a reflection upon those not mentioned. All, so far as I know or have information, nobly did their whole duty. Capt. James M. Davenport, of Company G, was gallantly leading his company, and while in the works of the enemy was severely wounded in the leg, which has since been amputated. Lieut. William E. Kelly, Company I, and Lieut. Joseph T. Adcock, Company F, were both severely wounded while gallantly leading their companies. Corpl. Orville B. Young, the color bearer, deserves special mention for the manner in which he «52 R R--VOL XXXVIII, PT I» <ar72_818> discharged his duty when the regiment was checked by a murderous fire within twenty yards of the enemy's works. He ran forward with the flag, calling on his comrades to rally to it. It was the first flag placed on the enemy's works.(*)
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. HAYS,
Colonel Tenth Kentucky.
Capt. WILLIAM B. PUGH,
A. A. G., 3d Brig., 3d Div., 14th Army Corps.
Addendum to Col. Hays report = 5 KIA, 3 officers and 26 men wounded.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Atlanta, Ga., October 1, 1864.
General A. BAIRD,
Commanding Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: I have intended at the first opportunity to express my gratitude to yourself, Colonel Este, and the officers and men of his brigade for their gallant conduct in the battle of Jonesborough of September 1, 1864. I have endeavored to do full justice to them in my official report.(+) Colonel Este arrived at a most important and critical moment, his brigade well formed. The Second Brigade of my division, after a most gallant struggle, had failed to drive the enemy from his works, had been forced to retire under shelter of the ground <ar109_641> to reorganize, and the enemy were advancing from their works upon us. Este's brigade, in two lines, with bayonets fixed, led by yourself and him, advanced without wavering under a deadly fire, drove the enemy back into their works, continued onward and dragged them out of the intrenchments or left them slain with the bayonet. Had Este's brigade failed to carry the works, it is my opinion that a repulse along the whole line of the Fourteenth Corps would have been the result. Striking the enemy at the angle in their works, and sweeping with their fire the face assaulted by Morgan's division, the difficulties and dangers of his assault were greatly reduced and some points entirely overcome. By the confession of the enemy many of their men were killed with the bayonet in their own breast-works by the Tenth Kentucky Infantry, Colonel Hays commanding. I presume other regiments made use of the same weapon of the brave with equal effect. There was an orderly with Colonel Este, a youth of about seventeen, whose gallantry and reckless daring attracted my attention. Under the heaviest fire, when men were falling around him, he kept his saber waving over his head, and darting from one point to another whenever symptoms of yielding were apparent. I regret that I do not know his name, but as you and Colonel Este do I shall expect to hear' of his promotion. In my official report I recommended Colonel Este for promotion and would have recommended yourself if you had been my junior. But as commander of a division receiving support from yours I wish to give my heartfelt thanks for the very efficient, timely, and unceasing support you gave me. The term "support" is a word often used, but very indefinite in its meaning. The interpretation you gave it was to place yourself at the head of your only brigade in action, to lead them steadily, coolly, and persistently onward under an incessant and terribly destructive fire--so destructive that two horses were killed under you before the hottest of the battle commenced. To those who would say that there were but few rebel troops in the position attacked by the Second Brigade of my division and Este's brigade of yours, I assert that it was the key of the position, the strongest point--the point which the enemy attempted to hold at all hazards. Please give Colonel Este a copy of this letter.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. P. CARLIN,
[38.] Brig. Gen., Comdg. First Div., Fourteenth Army Corps.