Atlanta Campaign: Civil War Battle of Atlanta Campaign

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Atlanta Campaign: Journal of the Atlanta Campaign for September 1864

Journal of the Atlanta Campaign, kept at headquarters of the Fourth Army Corps,
Lieut. Col. Joseph S. Fullerton, Assistant Adjutant General.
MAY 1-SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--The Atlanta (Georgia) Campaign.
Part V (September)

September 1.--4 a.m., our working parties commenced to destroy the railroad. 4.30 a.m., received note from department headquarters, of which following is a copy:

RENFROE'S, August 31, 1864.

Maj. Gen. D. S. STANLEY,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:

GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that to-morrow morning early you commence the destruction of the Macon and Western Railroad in connection with General Schofield, who will receive orders from General Sherman. You will destroy as far as you can in the direction of Jonesborough, or until you meet with General Baird's division, of the Fourteenth Corps, which you will probably find en-o, aged in the same work. Should you meet with or overtake General Baird, you will report for further orders. Brigadier-General Garrard has been ordered to cover the flank of your column during its march down the road.

Very respectfully,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.--General Baird struck the railroad at 5 p.m. to-day and went to work immediately breaking the road.

       5.30 a.m., directed division commanders to make immediate preparations to march, General Kimball's division to move down the railroad toward Jonesborough, followed by General Newton's; these two divisions to destroy the road; General Wood's division to march carefully down the Griffin road (which runs parallel to the railroad) toward Jonesborough, and to take the artillery with him, all save two guns, which are to move with the column down the railroad. 8 a.m., Kimball commenced to move down the railroad, followed by Newton, destroying the road as they march. 10 a.m., arrived at the point on the railroad where Baird had destroyed it. He only destroyed about 300 yards, and that poorly. Went over to report our arrival at this point to General Thomas. He is at Morris Station. 11 a.m., found General Thomas. He said that he had sent General Wood from the Macon (or Griffin) road to join the rest of the corps at Morris Station, and that as soon as he arrives there for General Stanley to put his troops in column to move on and report his readiness to move to him (General Thomas) as soon as he can; gave this message to General Stanley at 12.15. 12.45 p.m., General Wood has joined the command, and started to General Thomas to inform him of this fact; found him near Jonesborough, with General Howard, at 2.30 p.m. He sent word to General Stanley to push forward down the railroad for Jonesborough at once. This message delivered to General Stanley at 3.30 p.m.. and the column commenced to move at 3.40 p.m., General Kimball leading, followed by Newton, then Wood. 4.45 p.m., head of column arrived at a point near Jonesborough, where the enemy was fortified. General Davis' corps (Fourteenth) was then going into position (his formations are made) on the right of the railroad to assault the enemy's works. 4.50 p.m., orders here given to division commanders (Kimball and Newton only) to deploy on the left of the railroad, and to advance immediately after their formations were made upon the enemy's position, for the purpose of assaulting the same and assisting General Davis. These orders were obeyed, and the troops commenced to form for an advance immediately, Kimball's division on the right and Newton's on the left, while Wood's division was to mass close in the rear of our line for support to any part of the same. The troops of the First and Second Divisions made their formations and moved forward as rapidly as possible. In front of the First Division the underbrush was so thick that it was almost impossible to move through it, and Newton could not go before this division; it was necessary to keep up connection with it. 5.30 p.m., we drove in the enemy's skirmishers after a brisk fight, and Kimball's division came up to the enemy's works at about 5.40 p.m. They were in a strong place and just beyond a deep ravine, and he thought it not practical to assault them. He made a feeble attempt once to do so, and found that he could not succeed. Newton moved up as fast as possible through such thick woods, but it was dark before he reached the enemy. He had completely turned his right flank, but it was too late in the day to accomplish anything. 7 p.m., we commenced to barricade along our front. 7.30 p.m., received instructions to move upon the enemy's works at daylight to-morrow morning. At once directed division commanders to prepare for an assault at daylight; to get up plenty of ammunition, &c. We lost in killed and wounded about 115 to-day. Day clear and very hot. Thoroughly destroyed about 5 miles of the Macon railroad track to-day. Took 70 enlisted men and 5 commissioned officers prisoners to-day.

September 2.--4.30 a.m., the enemy has retreated. 4.40 a.m., directed General Kimball to move down the railroad, Newton to move on his left and parallel with him, and Wood to follow Newton; all to move by the flank. 5.30 a.m., head of our column reached Jonesborough and halted. The skirmishers of the Army of the Tennessee are moving out in our front. 7.30 a.m., received instructions from General Sherman to move forward; at once directed division commanders to march, Newton's division to lead, followed by Wood's, then Kimball's; the line of march to be southward, down the Macon railroad, after the enemy; our artillery, ambulances, and headquarters trains to move on the road along the side of the railroad. The Army of the Tennessee is moving along the direct road to Griffin, on the right hand of the railroad; we keep the railroad and the left hand dirt road. 7.50 a.m., our column passing through Jonesborough. 9.30 a.m., received note from General Thomas stating that our trains would move in the rear of our column, and that he had sent orders to send them in that direction. 9.30 a.m., directed General Kimball to leave one brigade with the trains as a guard. 12 m., have arrived at a point within two miles of Lovejoy's Station. The enemy can be seen about half a mile this side of the station, and just this side of the McDonough and Fayette road, on high ground, building barricades and constructing earth-works. The Army of the Tennessee has halted on the righthand side of the railroad and deploying in line of battle. 12.15 p.m., commenced to deploy and informed Major-General Thomas by note of this fact. 1.15 p.m., received word from General Thomas to push forward at once. 1.45 p.m., General Thomas sends word to General Stanley that "We have Atlanta," and he wishes him to press forward as soon as he possibly can. The troops are not yet in position, but our skirmishers have advanced about half a mile. 2.25 p.m., Newton's and Wood's divisions now deployed, and the head of Kimball's division has arrived. He is ordered to deploy on Wood's left immediately. Newton holds the right of the line, then Wood, then Kimball. 2.35 p.m., General Thomas directed General Stanley to move forward just as soon as General Howard moves (General Howard will send word when he is ready), and informs him (General Stanley) that Schofield is coming up on his left; to feel for him, and let him know when he gets up. 2.40 p.m., put two batteries or ten guns on the right of our line to quiet the enemy's batteries; our right rests on the railroad; division commanders instructed to take the enemy's works if possible; not to stop for anything trifling. 3.20 p.m., General Howard reports that he has given to his command the order to advance. 3.20 p.m., orders given division commanders to move forward. The Second Division did not make much progress (being on the right of our line), as the Army of the Tennessee did not move up in conjunction with them. The Third Division was on the left of the Second, and the First on the left of the Third. The First and Third Divisions had to move through an almost impenetrable swamp and over deep ravines and high ridges, and the Second Division had to pass through a very dense jungle. It was after 5 p.m. when we came up in sight of the enemy's works. 5.30 p.m., Kimball made an endeavor to assault the enemy's works, but could not succeed, as the enemy was too strong, and had a terrible enfilading fire of artillery on his line; at the same time Wood s division (Third) made an assault; Knefler's brigade got into the works, but could not hold them; his (Knefler's) loss was quite severe in officers. At the time of this assault General Schofield was coming up, and was one mile in the rear. Afterward he joined us and made a connection on our left. It is supposed that the enemy's right this evening is about opposite the center of our left division (Kimball's). Our troops are building barricades in their front to-night. 8.30 p.m., received note from Major-General Thomas, directing that to-night we break the railroad thoroughly for a distance of one mile to our rear, and then press the enemy at daylight in the morning with our entire line, and, if practicable, to assault them; replied that it will be impossible to withdraw the troops to-night to destroy the road, and that the enemy's works cannot be assaulted with success. When General Schofield came up to our left this p.m. Captain Steele, aide-de-camp, instructed to lead Hascall's brigade so as to turn the enemy's right flank, but he refused to make the attempt, as we had one brigade in reserve. There is no doubt but that he would have been able to have struck the enemy's right (we then knew where it was) and to have routed him. Took 90 enlisted men and 5 commissioned officers prisoners to-day.

September 3.--6 a.m., received word from department headquarters that Atlanta was in our possession, and that we would advance no farther. The object of the four months' campaign has been gained. 7 a.m., received Special Field Orders [No. 62], of which the following is a copy :(*)

9 a.m., received Special Field Orders [No. 63], of which following is a copy :

Major-General STANLEY, Comdg. Fourth Army Corps:

General: In accordance with the above order, you will this p.m. send your empty wagons, sick and wounded who are able to travel, to Jonesborough, with orders for the colonel commanding the regiment which goes in charge to report upon his arrival to Brevet Major-General Davis, who is to send his wagons, &c., to Atlanta in charge of a brigade, the commander of which will take charge of the whole.

Yours, very respectfully,


Assistant Adjutant-General.


       The above orders were promptly carried out. The Third Kentucky Infantry, Thirty-sixth Indiana Infantry, and the non-veterans of the Thirty-first Indiana Infantry and Fifteenth Ohio Infantry were sent to Jonesborough this p.m. with the train, and they will accompany it to Atlanta, all under command of Colonel Dunlap, Third Kentucky Infantry.
       5 p.m., division commanders were instructed to cut roads to the year of their respective divisions, so that their troops may be easily drawn off when we march to Atlanta. The enemy is yet behind his works in our front in force, and we have been skirmishing heavily with him all day. Have lost a number of men killed and wounded to-day; no report of the number. Day hot and showery.

September 4.--Nothing of importance occurred to-day. Only the usual skirmishing and artillery firing. The enemy yet in our immediate front, behind his strong works. Have had quite a number of men wounded and killed on the skirmish line to-day; at least 42 men. Day clear and very hot. 8.40 p.m., received official copy of Special Field Orders [No. 64], as follows :(*)

September 5.--12.30 p.m., received verbal instructions to withdraw the troops of the corps at 8 p.m. and the pickets at 12 m.; these instructions received from Major-General Thomas. 1 p.m., sent orders to division commanders to withdraw their divisions at 8 p.m., moving to the field in the rear of corps headquarters, and then to march on the east side of the railroad to the position occupied by the corps on the night of the 1st instant, just beyond Jonesborough, the order of march to be, first, Newton's division; second, Kimball's; third, Wood's. Pickets will be withdrawn at 12 m. Colonel Suman, Ninth Indiana, appointed special officer of the day. All headquarters wagons, ammunition wagons but five to a division and ambulances save six to a division, artillery wagons, and such artillery as can be moved without being observed, to be sent to the rear at once. 4.30 p.m., received Special Field Orders [No. 245], of which following is a copy :(*)

8 p.m., commenced to withdraw. The night is very dark, and the mud is so deep (owing to the heavy rains this morning) that the roads are almost impassable. The head of our column reached Jonesborough about 10.30). m. The pickets were successfully withdrawn at 12 midnight, and before daylight the whole corps was in position at the same place they occupied on the night of September 1, on this side of Jonesborough. Owing to our close proximity (in some points not over 100 feet) to the enemy's works, the swamp and ravines through which we had to pass, our withdrawal without having been observed by the enemy was a very handsome thing. Usual skirmishing and artillery firing to-day. Casualties of the day, about 25 wounded and killed. Day very hot, and very heavy rain and wind storm about 4 p.m.

P. S.--The corps, not only, but also the divisions of the corps, occupying before daylight the same positions they occupied on the night of September 1.

September 6.--6 a.m., General Thomas says that we will not move to-day, but remain where we are until to-morrow morning, when we will march for Rough and Ready. 8 a.m., issued orders of the day for the Fourth Army Corps for to-morrow, September 7:

The troops of the corps will remain in their present position to-day, and they will march to Rough and Ready to-morrow morning at daylight, in the following order: First, General Wood's division; second, General Newton's division; third, General Kimball's division. One battery of rifle guns will accompany General Kimball; the rest of the artillery will move with and follow the train. One ammunition [wagon] will accompany each brigade, and ten ambulances will accompany each division. Headquarters trains will move With the divisions to which they are attached. All of the rest of the trains and wagons will move to Rough and Ready at 2 a.m. to-morrow, under direction of Captain Schoeninger, assistant chief quartermaster of the corps. Division commanders will have all stragglers collected for the purpose of forming a police guard of them. General Wood Will send one regiment in advance of the supply train.

       10 a.m., the enemy's cavalry are now skirmishing with our outposts beyond Jonesborough. They are endeavoring to find out where we have gone and what we are doing. Nothing of importance occurred to-day. The enemy skirmished but little, and then retired. 8 p.m., received instructions from department headquarters changing the order directing this corps to march all of the way to Atlanta on the east side of the railroad--in this, that the troops will march on the road on the west side of the railroad to a point near Rough and Ready, then to cross the road, near the new station, and to move directly toward Atlanta on a new road (that crosses the railroad at this place), and to camp at night near Sykes' house; also, that we march at 7 a.m. Day hot. During the afternoon heavy showers.

September 7.--7 a.m., left camp and marched on the road on the west side of and near to the railroad to J. Cook's house, where we arrived at 9 a.m. At this point we crossed the railroad and marched to a road leading direct to Atlanta. Head of column arrived at Sykes' house at 11 a.m. Here the Third and Second Divisions went into line, the Third on the right, the Second on the left, and the First Division in reserve. Our right connects with the Fourteenth Corps, about half a mile to the right of Sykes' house, and our left about three-fourths of a mile to the left of the same. The line faces almost south. Our position is good for water and grass, but forage is scarce. The country is very rough. The enemy did not follow us or make his appearance. 4 p.m., published order of the day for to-morrow, as follows:

The troops of this corps will march for Atlanta to-morrow. General Kimball's division will lead, followed by General Wood's, then General Newton's. The head of column will march at 7 a.m. precisely. A section of rifled guns will accompany General Wood's division. The trains will start at 4 a.m, and they will be conducted by Captain Schoeninger, assistant chief quartermaster. The supply trains will move first, then hospital trains and ambulances, then ammunition trains. The artillery of the corps will follow the trains. Headquarters trains will follow the divisions to which they are attached.

Received orders, of which the following is a copy:

Near Jonesborough, Ga., September 6, 1864.

The general commanding directs that the following order be published to all the troops comprising the Army of the Cumberland:

Nothing of importance occurred to-day. Day cool and cloudy.

September 8. --4 a.m., trains started, and 7 a.m. troops started in accordance with orders of the day for to-day. 10.30 a.m., head of column arrived at Atlanta and passed through, out the Decatur street to a point about two miles from town on the south side of and near to the Decatur and Augusta Railroad. Here the right of our line rested. The First and Third Divisions here went into line of battle facing south, the First Division on the right, the Third on the left. The Second Division was put in camp in reserve, in the rear of about the center of the line. Here we will rest until further orders. The headquarters established at Howard's house about two miles from Atlanta. The campaign that commenced May 2 is now over, and we will rest here to recruit and prepare for a new campaign.

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