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Posted February 17, 1997 by Steven L. Driskell.

6. Atlanta Campaign by Captain Wilson P. Howell

Falling back to Dalton, Georgia ~ General Joseph E. Johnston relieved General Bragg of the Command of the Army of Tennessee ~ Atlanta Campaign

General Bragg was soon relieved of the command of the army and General Joseph E. Johnston took command. [1]  Winter was upon us and active operations were entirely suspended by both armies except some cavalry raids.  General Johnston was a fine organizer and by spring he had a well organized army of sixty thousand men.

We built winter quarters by building little shacks and chinking and doubing them making them very comfortable and spent the most pleasant winter of the war.  Although our rations were very scant, they consisted of beef and cornbread and poor beef at that.  I remember one of my men, W. P. Shipp had partially lost his hearing and was therfore excused from military duty and he was my cook. We would get up of a morning and he would sift his corn meal and put on the bread and porch the bread and make the coffee and fry the beef which would be our breakfast and so with each meal.  And in this way we lived all winter and the men never enjoyed better health.  I remember I got as fat as a pig and tipped the scale at 200 lbs.  My ordinary weight was 160 lbs.  It is singular how little a man can live on when he is reduced to the necessity of short rations.

The whole country as well as the army began to realize what hard times meant.  Our currency (Confederate Notes) was greatly depreciated.  It took about five dollars to buy a bushel of corn and other things in proportion.  The privates in the army got only eleven dollars a month in this depreciated currency and a months wage would not feed a man's family one week much less clothe them.

My wonder has always been how men stayed in the army when the families of many of the men would write to them about their extreme destitution and at this time all hope of the final success of our cause had vanished and while very many left and went home, a large percent had the patriotism and courage to stand by their colors and give loyal support to the cause they had espoused till the end.

During this winter many were furloughed for a short time to visit their homes.  This was greatly enjoyed as many had never seen their families since leaving home in 1861.

I remember we had a good bit of amusement to while away the time and to break the monatony of camp life, we had several big snows that winter and a neighboring regiment would form and banter another regiment for a snowball battle as the challenge was accepted and at it they would go on for hours the battle would go on.  Field officers mounted on their prancing charges would order a charge or a retreat, as the case might be and finally one regiment in a gallant charge would drive the opposing forces horses and dragoons off the field.

General Johnston with his subordinate generals arranged to have show battle

So the day was set and the army of 60,000 men were about equally divided.  A location was selected not far from Dalton and I think the two leading Corps Generals were to command each the opposing forces.  A number of visiting generals were present among them.  I remember Major General John H. Forney who commanded a force in the Trans-Mississippi Department.

The men loaded their guns with blank cartridges and when the battle opened, it was a grand sight.  The battle lasted about an hour and it was just like a sure enough battle, with the single exception that no blood was shed.

Along toward spring the Yanks had advanced their scouts and pickets within striking distance of Dalton which necessitated our keeping up a picket line.  I remember my company was sent out one day above Dalton on outpost duty in charge of a Lt. and when they came into Dalton that evening they had a prisoner of war in the person of Miss Dr. Mary Walker who claimed to be a commissioned surgeon in the federal army.  It seemed she had inadvertently strolled out of their line and ere she was aware had come within our lines and was taken in by the Rebs.  She was sent to Richmond and paroled.  Her dress was partly male and partly female.  She has figured a good deal worth since the war as a masculine woman.

Brisk fighting began early in the spring around Dalton and some time in May we struck tents and began the famous retreat towards Atlanta along the line of the Georgia railroad.

The enemy's forces as well as our own and perhaps far more so, had been recruited during the winter.  It was said that when General Sherman left Chattanooga on his Georgia Campaign he had five Army Corps numbering 20,000 each.  Which I dare say was correct.  So soon as Johnston left Dalton, Sherman with his heavy force was right at our heels.

Johnston's retreat from Dalton was a necessity, because Sherman had sent a heavy force on our left flank and would have soon gotten in our rear in which event he would have been able to destroy our army.

Johnston fell back and made a stand at Resaca Station not far from Calhoun, Georgia.  Sherman was so near upon us when we reached that point, we hardly had time to form line of battle, till the Yanks were upon us.  I remember our regiment was hastly thrown in line on the face of a hill facing the enemy, about 10 o'clock AM.

We threw up temporary breastworks and in a short time the enemy had formed line of battle and threw up works within 200 yards of our line and opened fire on us.  And a brisk fire was kept up between the lines all that evening and all next day sunday.

If one raised their head above the works, it was at his peril of being shot.  I remember one of our men died in the trenches saturday night and we did not know it till next morning and there was no way to get to the rear without being exposed to the enemy's fire.  So we laid the body of the dead man up on the back of the trenches and he had to lie there till dark the next night before we could venture out to bury him.  And during the day a number of the enemy's balls hit his body.

To make our position more dangerous, a battery of the enemy would fire on us from the flank down the line.  There was desperate fighting that day on there parts of the army. Our loss in killed and wounded was very heavy on parts of the line. [2]

On sunday night we fell back across the Etowah River toward Cassville, Georgia then the county site of Cass now Bartow County.  The name of the county was changed after the war in honor of Colonel Bartow of Georgia who fell in one of the battles in Virginia.  The enemy kept close on our rear and fighting was kept up continuously night and day.

At Cassville, General Johnston took position and posted the army in battle line.  This town as well as I remember was in a little valley with hills on the east and west side.  Our line was posted on an eminence east of the town and the line of our regiment was through the cemetery and my company was along among the graves and tombstones. Soon after taking our position there, the enemy posted their batteries west of the town on a hill and opened a heavy fire on us.  We were ordered to throw up earthworks as rapidly as possible to protect ourselves and if necessary remove any monuments or tombstones which might be in the way.

The space my company occupied was through the center of the cemetery and there was one grave which had been walled in with brick about two feet high and a large marble slab covering the grave and on moving the slab, we found quite a lot of flour and bacon had been hid there (some citizen had anticipated the approach of the army and had put their bread and meat there for future use as it was not likely any soldier would ever look in a grave for things of that sort).

I ordered the men to replace the slab and throw up earthworks around that grave, which they did.  We were at that time supplied with plenty of bread and bacon and I am sure even if we had not, I would not allowed the men to disturb that.

The enemy very soon advanced their picket line down toward the town (the town of Cassville was directly between the contending armies).  At this juncture, a detail consisting of Company "I" of the 25th Regiment and another Company of 22nd Regiment were ordered forward as a skirmish line to check the advancing skirmish line of the enemy and it was my lot to take command of that force of men.

By the time the men were properly deployed and ready to advance down toward the east side of the town, the enemy's picketts had already entered the west part of the town.  The inhabitants of the town had taken to the woods or somewhere else.  During all this time a heavy artillery duel was going on between the batteries from both sides, firing directly over the town.

We met the Yankee pickets in the town and fought around the houses, like playing hide and seek.  After some time had been spent in this way, the enemy ran around some houses and captured the right wing of our picket line, therefore I had our line to fall back about one hundred yards.

I saw Lt. Frisby of the 22nd Alabama who had been in command of the right wing of our line and who had been captured with a number of the men came running out from the enemy's line bare headed and crying out that he was mortally shot and calling for help.  Although a heavy fire was kept up by the enemy I ran to the relief of this young gallant officer.  When I reached him, he fell in my arms and told me he was killed.  He could still walk and with my assistance he was brought to our new line and thence to the rear where he died very soon.

While I was bearing him back to our line, he told me he was captured with the other men and after remaining a prisoner a few minutes, he thought he could make his escape back to our line and just after he started to run they shot him in the back.  He said he was sure to die and that pretty soon.  And there in the rush and storm of battle he gave me his dying message to write to his mother a widow who lived at Bladon Springs, Alabama.  I think that place is in Choctaw County.  Among other things he asked me to write his mother, was that he was ready and prepared to die, that his peace was made with God.

Soon after the battle and things got quiet, I wrote a long letter giving in detail, the tragic and pathetic end of her dear soldier boy.  In response to which I soon received a letter from that mother as written by another son.  Doctor Frisby of Bladon Springs, Alabama thanking me very ardently for my risk in getting her dying boy from falling into the enemy's hands after he was shot.

Night came on and the firing ceased, but our information was that General Johnston intended to offer general battle to Sherman and I knew if we had to fall back when the enemy advanced next morning in battle line in the face of their fire, our lives would be in great peril.

But to my personal relief late in the night, when everything had became as quiet as the grave.  So unusually quiet, that I suspected a silent withdrawal of the army from that place.  So about 10 or 11 o'clock an officer came silently along our line and in a whisper ordered us to withdraw as quietly as possible which we did to our great relief.

The entire army had been so quietly withdrawn, that I have no idea the enemy knew anything of it till next morning, when we were miles away.  As well as I remember the next time we gave battle, was at New Hope Church toward Kenesaw Mountain in Cobb County, Georgia.

One thing, we could never well understand.  General Johnston on this retreat would burn all the bridges and trussels on the railroad and yet General Sherman would keep the road repaired and the trains up with his army and the army kept up with us.

It has been said since the war, the truth of which I cannot vouch that during the previous winter General Sherman sent out some secret service men and got the dimensions of all the important bridges and trussels between Dalton and Atlanta.  And they had all the material prepared in advance, so they had just to replace them as they advanced with the material already prepared.  As before stated, the next engagement we had of any note after we left Cassville, was at New Hope Church.

As well as I remember when we had arrived near there, we found the enemy was right upon us in line of battle.  Our line was soon formed.  No sooner had we formed our line when the advanced pickets of the enemy had begun and opened fire on us and we were returning the fire.

Just here I witnessed a very touching scene.  Between the lines, and both sides firing, a woman leading a little girl some 8 or 10 years old came running toward our line and she succeded in reaching our line and went to our then rear, in safety.  So one woman and child could truthfully say, they had been in one sure enough battle.  The supposition was, that the Yankees had come unexpectedly upon her house in that neighborhood and she had to hastily leave.

Just at dark the enemy with a heavy line charged our line and almost a hand to hand conflict ensued.  We held our position and the enemy was driven back with great loss in killed and wounded, while the casualties on our side was comfortably slight.  This battle was the first of a series of battles which occured around and in the neighborhood of Kenesaw Mountain within the next month.

I remember while on this line, our pickets and those of the enemy were very close together and one day my company was on duty when the Yankee picket line was not more than a hundred or two yards.  While in command of a picket line one day near the enemy's breastworks, I got an order from the Colonel of the regiment back on the main line to charge the Yankee line of pickets to draw their fire and thereby ascertain whether it was a picket line or regular line of battle, in their breastworks.  While it was a short distance to their line it was mostly hidden from us by a thick undergrowth, and while I regarded it a very perilous job, but obedience to orders being the highest virtue of a soldier, I communicated to the men what was to be done and instructed them that on the performance of that perilous duty to protect themselves as well as they could, by covering themselves by the timber and other objects while advancing on their line.

So the word Forward Charge! was given and out of our works we bounded with the Rebel Yell.  At them we went and we instantly received a terrible volley from their line, which convinced us that they had in their breastworks a strong battle line.  While we had not a single man killed outright, a number were wounded and several seriously so.  One man was shot in the leg so severely, that it had to be amputated above the knee. After remaining sometime very near their line, mostly covered from their view by the timber, we fell back to our original position.

As before stated the two armies remained on what was known as the Kenesaw Line for several weeks without a single pitched battle, but artillery and picket firing was kept up incessantly day and night.  Reliable citizens who lived 50 miles away and more told me after the war that they could hear distinctly the reports of the cannon at Kenesaw.

The Killing of General Polk

It was on Kenesaw line that Lt. General Leonidis Polk was killed. General Sherman in his autobiography published since the war, gives this account of the killing.  He says:

Myself and some Staff Officers were riding along our line one morning in June and we came to an elevated part of the line where we had a battery planted and stopped and looking through my field glass, I discovered across the intervening volley on the elevated place on the line of the enemy, a squad of mounted men whom I took to be officers.  I called attention to the officer of our battery to this squad of men.  He opened fire on them and they soon disappeared.  Within two hours our whole army knew of the killing of General Polk.  They got the news this way, says General Sherman, A man of our signal corps had procured by some means the secret alphabet of the rebel signal corps and when General Polk was killed, this man of our signal corps saw one of the rebel signal men call for an ambulance for the body of General Polk.

General Polk was a great and good man.  My information is that before the war he was an Episcopal Bishop of the State of Tennessee.  As I think that church has a Bishop for each state. Our brigade was in his army corps. [3]

It has been said that Johnston inflicted greater harm on Sherman's army in retreating than he did in the pitched battles, which I dare say was true.  It has also been said of General Johnston that he excelled any general in the Confederate Army in taking care of his troops and equipments of war on a retreat. It became a byword among the men of the line that Johnston never left as much as a wagon wheel behind on his retreat.

We were kept so busy marching and fighting that we hardly had time to cook what little rations we had, much less to wash our clothes.  So extremely engaged were we, that we often lost the day of the week and would forget which day was Sunday.

When Johnston left the Kenesaw line, we fell back to near Chattahoochee River within 8 or 10 miles of Atlanta, where we were joined by the Georgia Militia.  Known by us then as Governor Joe Brown's Pets.  Governor Brown had soon after the war began organized the State Militia or State Troops and had kept a good large force within the state line and I remember that President Davis and the Confederate Authorities at Richmond had quite a contention with Governor Brown about keeping such a large force of troops at home.  The Governor had agreed however, that if the Federal troops should invade the State, that his troops would join the Confederate forces, but which the federal army had been in Georgia since early in the spring Governor Brown's troops did not join us till we were in a few miles of Atlanta.

I remember when they met us just west of Chattahoochee River and turned over to General Johnston, the contrast in their appearance and the men of the regular army was very great. The Pets as we called them were well dressed, clean and tidy. While our men, many of them had not changed clothing for more than a month.  And by this time the service was so hard, that these new men soon played out, many of them sickened and died, a large percent of them were over the military age.

One evening just before we fell back across the river, a force of the enemy attacked our left flank and our Brigade was ordered to double quick down there to support the line and off we went. When we arrived in rear of the line attacked and were marching by the right flank to join in the fight.  The firing was quite brisk and bullets were whizing by.  I was marching at the head of the company and just to my right and a little to the rear, I heard something pop.  Which could have been heard 40 yards.  I looked around just as one of my men (Henry Roper) had fallen over killed as I supposed.  I saw the blood oozing out from a gun shot near the eye.  The litter bearers were ordered to take charge of him and we hurried on into the fight.  This was just before night and after the firing had ceased about dark, we went into camp and I remarked to some of the men of the company that we would have to see that Henry Roper was buried that night and someone replied that Henry was not dead and I told them that they were mistaken.  For I had seen him fall with a bullet through his head and that he must be dead.  Someone then said; No I have just been down to the Doctor's quarters and Henry is there and will get well.

The bullet had struck him on the bone at the left hand corner of the left eye and instead of turning in, the ball ran around just under the skin and was cut out by the doctor from the neck.  This man soon got well and in now living near Trussville, east of Birmingham.

It was but a few days after this, that we crossed the river.  A pontoon bridge had been thrown across the stream and that night we went over on this bridge.  By some means a Yankee battery had got the range and had opened fire on the bridge, which made our crossing rather ticklish.  If I remember correctly we had very little fighting from the river to Atlanta.

Just about this time, General Johnston was relieved of the command of the Army of Tennessee and General John B. Hood succeeded him.  This change had a very unsolutary effect on the whole army.  They had the most unbounded confidence in the wisdom and generalship of Joseph E. Johnston and were slow to accept the change.

General Hood had the reputation of being a bull dog fighter and every soldier knew now that under him, it would be Shoot Luke or give up your gun and the result showed that we were not mistaken in our apprehensions.

The army was was soon in position around Atlanta.  On the 20th of July, part of our army had a considerable fight on Peachtree Creek, north of the city.  And on the night of the 21st, our division (General Hindman's) took position in the trenches east of the city.  The enemy had during the night advanced within sight of Atlanta and just after dawn next morning, they caught site of the church spires and other tall buildings of the city.  And such a cheer as they sent up, I never heard.

For three months and from Dalton, their battle cry had been On to Atlanta and while hundreds and I might say, thousands had bit the dust, a larger force had survived to have in sight of thin goal.  They advanced toward our line and threw up breastworks.

Sometime before 12 o'clock on 22nd of July 1864, we charged their line and drove them out of their works, but at great loss in killed and wounded.  I remember there was a little plank house just in front of their works and their fire was so heavy that the men would naturally close in behind that little building for protection and their balls would go though the house and three men were killed and fell so near together that they could have been covered with a bed quilt.  My only brother with me was badly wounded and a nephew killed.

We had driven them from their works and pursued them to their next works when our regiment having suffered so severly, was relieved by a Georgia regiment.  And as we marched out for that regiment to take our place I met another older brother whose home was in Georgia and I stopped just a moment to speak to him, and knowing he was going into great danger, I bade him goodbye.  He went on with his regiment into the fight and came out unhurt, but a minie ball struck his gun and busted the stock to splinters. [4]

We remained on the battlefield that night and next day.  And in a day or two General Sherman moved part of his army around west of the city.  Where, on the 28th July we had another terrible battle, in which were many killed and wounded, among them was Colonel Hart of the 22nd Alabama Regiment.

After this fight, General Sherman seemed to have abandoned the idea of taking Atlanta by direct assault and laid siege to the city.  And for more than a month, artillery and picket firing was kept up night and day.  Many of the cannon shots went into the city. [5]  Our brigade was posted on an elevation and the position of the enemy, was across a little valley on another ridge some 9 or 10 hundred yards.  While the picket lines were very near each other in the valley, half of the regiment went on picket duty at a time, being relieved every 24 hours and the relief force had to go on picket duty before daybreak, as our line was so near the Yankee line.

I remember after having been on picket duty for 24 hours, we were relieved one Sunday morning before day and returned to the main line on the hill.  And it being Sunday morning, I washed myself and put on clean clothing.  I think I put on a white shirt and just as I was walking out to a cool place to lie down and rest (this was in August) and being in plain view of the main line of the enemy a 1,000 yards away, I was struck with a minie ball in my left shoulder.  A flesh wound from which I soon recovered.

My white shirt had attracted the attention of one of their sharpshooters on their main line and had taken a bead on the white shirt and was a fine shot for the distance.

I will here record another incident while on this line.  We had gone out in the picket line to serve our tour.  I believe we went out after dark that time, and it rained some that night and the next morning.  Just at daylight, a man of my company Robert Clark and one of the best soldiers in the company, was spreading out his blanket to dry and showed his head above the works and a Yankee bullet went through the back of his head.  He lived a day or two, but his sense of sight was gone and he seemed to be entirely unconscious, but finally died.

Among the killed on the Yankee side in the battle of 22nd July, was General McPherson, the favorite Corps General of their Army and the man after whom the U.S. Military Post now in Atlanta is named.

General Sherman in his autobiography gives an account of his tragic death and that account is very pathetic.  Having read, a few years ago, Sherman's own account of the Georgia Campaign, he says: (I quote him from memory)

General McPherson was engaged to marry a lady in Baltimore, Maryland and sometime before we reached Atlanta, he had asked and obtained leave of absence to go there and marry the lady.  I suggested to him that we would have some hard fighting when reached Atlanta and I would be glad if he would postpone his trip till after that anticipated battle and he very readily consented to do so.  And on reaching Atlanta, we sure enough had the fearful conflict of 22nd July, as we expected, in which General McPherson was killed.  My headquarters was at a farmhouse east of the city and his body was brought there. And soon as I could find time and quiet, I wrote the young lady of Baltimore of the tragic death of this gallant officer, her own affianced.

We remained in the trenches around Atlanta till about the 1st of September, when Sherman vacated (it was August 26th) one morning just before day.  We observed that everything had gotten unusually quiet along the picket line and at daylight our picket line advanced, and we found their picket line had been abandoned.  And on a further advance, we found that their main line had also been vacated and their whole army had moved somewhere.

I never shall forget that morning when we got into their main camp and especially where they had kept their army horses and mules.  They had been there the entire month of August and their leaving camp at night had left the flies behind.  Millions of these ball faced stinging flies had accumulated where the stock were kept and there being nothing else to bite, lit on the rebel soldiers and we had to fight them like we were in a yellow jacket nest.

Their army had moved around to our rear and we immediately were hurried on a forced march down the railroad toward Macon and at Jonesboro, 15 or 20 miles below Atlanta.  We encountered the enemy and had a severe battle.  Thus, Atlanta was given up and Sherman's whole army occupied that city for some time.  The Battle of Jonesboro was fought by Hardee and Lee, under very unfavorable circumstances. [6]


[1]  Bragg was succeeded the last days of November and held until December 27th, when General Joseph E. Johnston assumed the command.  See General Orders No. 1 (Official Records, Serial 56, page 873).

[2] There must be a mistake in the memory of the writer for there was only skirmishing and cannonading, and, not severe, on the Cassville (not Calhoun line, as there was none at Calhoun) line.  There had been heavy fighting at times from the 13th to 15th of May at Resaca, along Deas' front.  At Cassville where the first general line was formed after Resaca, the skirmishing was the introduction to what was expected to be a severe and decisive battle on May 20th.  The battle order had been read to the different commands of the army on the evening of the 19th, and was received with cheers and enthusiasm.  In the night, orders came to fall in, and the retreat across the Etowah commenced.  Nothing during the campaign so dampened the ardor of the army, or produced so much confusion.  It was afterward learned from Johnston's report, that the designed battle was frustrated by Hood and Polk, in a council after night declaring they could not maintain their position.  Johnston expressed regret that he did not fight anyway. (Official Records, Serial 74, pages 612-621)

The organizations given from the time of reaching Dalton to the removal of General J. E. Johnston were as follows; on December 10th, 1863 (Official Records, Serial 56, page 805), Breckenridge commanded the corps; Anderson the division; and the brigade was as before except that Capt. Harry T. Toulmin commanded the 22nd Alabama and Major Colin McSwean the 39th.  Page 825, shows the 25th Alabama had effectives present on December 14th, 1863, 272, and total present 304 and had only 174 guns, showing many had been thrown away in the retreat.

On December 31st (Official Records, Serial 56, page 887), Hindman commanded the corps; Anderson the division, nearly all the regiments had other commanders than at last report, but Colonel Johnston was in command of the 25th Alabama.

On April 30th, 1864, at the opening of campaign (Official Records, Serial 74, page 140), Lt. General John B. Hood was in command of corps; Hindman of the division; Deas of the brigade; Colonel Johnston of the 25th Alabama.

On June 30th, 1864 (Official Records, Serial 74, page 648), it was the same except that Colonel Coltart was in command of the brigade.

On July 10th, 1864, the same except that Brig. General John C. Brown commanded the division (Official Records, Serial 74, page 656).  The strength is given only by divisions.  The strength of the division of which the 25th Alabama was a part, on April 30th was, present for duty, 547 officers and 6,213 men.  On July 10th there were 496 officers and 4,931 men present for duty (Official Records, Serial 74, pages 676 & 679).

Deas' Brigade had lost from May 7th, the commencement of the campaign to May 20th, when it crossed the Etowah, 17 killed, 91 wounded (Official Records, Serial 74, page 686).  It lost near New Hope, 9 killed and 84 wounded (page 687).  It's other casualties are not given until after July 20th.

[3]  Deas' brigade was not in Polk's, but Hood's Corps.

[4] In the report of Captain Napoleon B. Rouse (Official Records, Serial 74, page 778), he says of the battle of the 22nd of July, The works were carried at a heavy loss to the left wing of the regiment, as there were no troops between our left and the railroad and the fire received being both from the front and oblique.  Two elegant stand of colors and a large number of prisoners captured ... Carried into the fight 273 men.  Killed, wounded and missing 113, including 2 color-bearers.

On page 496 of Brewer's Alabama, he says: After the fall of Colonel Loomis at Shiloh, and from that day, he (Colonel George D. Johnston) led the regiment in every encounter till promoted to Brig. General.  This was for gallantry at Atlanta, July 22nd, 1864, where he forced the enemy's line with his regiment, and captured more men than he led, with two flags, 350 stand of arms.

A few days after this on the 28th of July, the day he received his commission as Brig. General, General Deas being absent, General Johnston was placed in command of the brigade, and in a short time had his leg bone fractured by a bullet, but continued to command until exhausted.  When he returned to duty in the Nashville Campaign he was placed in command of Quarles' Brigade after the Battle of Franklin, leading it until the second day of the Battle of Bentonville, when he was put in command of Wathall's division until the reorganization at Smithfield.  He was a member of the House of Representatives from Perry County, Alabama in the session of 1857-1858.  He was born in 1832 and died in 1911.

[5] The writer has entirely omitted the Battle of Ezra Church on the Lick Skillet Road fought July 28th, 1864.   In N. B. Rouse's report (Official Records, Serial 74, page 779), he says: On the 28th the regiment with the brigade having commenced the advance, after passing the road in its front and getting into the field beyond the road, was halted, lines rectified, and again moved forward.  With the exception of the two left companies, the regiment had to advance through dense woods and undergrowth - almost an abatis by nature.  It succeeded in getting within about fifty or sixty yards of the enemy's works, when the left commenced giving way, and a general giving way of the lines commenced in some confusion.  The regiment was reformed with the brigade as soon as all could be done, and went forward with the brigade, taking part in all that the rest of the brigade was ordered to do.  Carried into the fight, 173 men.  Killed, wounded and missing, 23, including 2 color-bearers.

General Johnston was in command of the brigade, having that morning received his commission as Brig. General.  He was soon wounded, and Colonel Coltart succeeded in command, but he also was soon wounded, and then the command fell upon Lt. Colonel Toulmin.

After this battle on the 28th of July, Lt. General S. D. Lee coming into command of Hood's former corps on the day before, the 27th of July, was left on the left of the Confederate line to confront this force with which they had been fighting, a force that had been sent out by Sherman to turn the Confederate left. It was here they entrenched, and the two lines were so near together, and the scenes took place described by the writer.

Lee's report (Official Records, Serial 74, pages 762-765), compliments the line highly, and says for a week it was almost equal to a battle. On pages 706-707 there is a congratulatory order issued to Deas', Brantley's, Gibson's, and Baker's skirmishers for heroic bravery and endurance.

General Anderson in his report (Official Records, Serial 74, page 770), says: With this, however, he threatened to do us much damage, and, but for the courage and skill of Deas' skirmishers backed by the indomitable energy and perseverance of the officers in charge of the line, would doubtless have compelled us to retire to a position nearer our main line.

[6] The troops marched from about East Point in the night, sometimes roads obstructed, sometimes no roads, and by men without exercise for six weeks, unfit to march, there was straggling, weariness, hunger, and sleepiness, it was a wonder they fought as well as they did.  See Anderson's report (Official Records, Serial 74, pages 773-775).