Siege of Atlanta


     Atlanta, Ga., Siege of, July 20 to Sept. 2, 1864.  Army 
of the Cumberland, Army of the Tennessee, and Army of the 
Ohio.  The objectives points for the year 1864 were Richmond 
and Atlanta-the head and heart of the Confederacy.  Early in 
March Gen. U. S. Grant was made lieutenant-general and 
transferred to the immediate command of the Army of the 
Potomac, Maj.-Gen. W. T. Sherman being at the same time placed 
in command of the forces in the West.  Sherman's new command 
consisted of four departments: the Army of the Cumberland, at 
Chattanooga, commanded by Maj.-Gen. George H. Thomas ; the 
Army of the Tennessee, at Huntsville, Ala., commanded by Maj.-
Gen. James B. McPherson; the Army of the Ohio, in East 
Tennessee, commanded by Maj.-Gen. John M. Schofield, and the 
Army of Arkansas, under the command of Maj.-Gen. Frederick 
Steele.  The last named was subsequently transferred to 
Canby's trans-Mississippi division, and took no part in the 
Atlanta campaign.  The Army of the Cumberland was composed of 
the 4th, 14th and 20th army corps, respectively commanded by 
Maj.-Gens. O. O. Howard John M. Palmer and Joseph Hooker; the 
cavalry corps of Brig.-Gen. Washington L. Elliott, and some 
unattached troops.  The 4th corps was made up of three 
divisions, commanded by Maj.-Gen. David S Stanley, Brig.-Gen. 
John Newton and Brig-Gen Thomas J. Wood and later in the 
campaign an artillery brigade was organized and placed under 
the command of Maj. Thomas W. Osborn.  In the 14th corps were 
three divisions, the 1st commanded by Brig. Gen. R. W. 
Johnson, the 2nd by Brig.-Gen. Jefferson C. Davis, and the 3rd 
by Brig.-Gen. Absalom Baird.  In this corps was also an 
artillery brigade, commanded by Maj. Charles Houghtaling.  The 
20th corps comprised three divisions, the 1st commanded by 
Brig.-Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, the 2nd by Brig.-Gen. John W. 
Geary, and the 3rd by Maj.-Gen. Daniel Butterfield.  Maj. John 
Reynolds commanded the artillery brigade of the 20th corps 
after it was organized in July.  The cavalry corps included 
the three divisions commanded by Brig.Gens. Edward McCook, 
Kenner Garrard and Judson Kilpatrick.  The Army of the 
Tennessee embraced the 15th, 16th and 17th army corps, 
commanded by Maj.-Gens.  John A. Logan, Grenville M. Dodge and 
Frank P. Blair. Logan's corps included the divisions of Brig.-
Gens.  Peter J. Osterhaus, Morgan L. Smith and William Harrow. 
In Dodge's corps were the divisions of Brig.-Gens. Thomas W. 
Sweeny and James C. Veatch.  The 17th corps was made up of the 
two divisions commanded by Brig.-Gen. Mortimer D. Leggett and 
Brig.-Gen. Walter Q. Gresham.  The Army of the Ohio consisted 
of the 23rd corps, which was composed of the three divisions 
of infantry commanded by Brig.-Gens. Alvin P. Hovey, Henry M. 
Judah and Jacob D. Cox and the cavalry division of Maj.-Gen. 
George Stoneman.  The effective strength of the army on May 1, 
1864, was 98,797 men, with 254 pieces of artillery.  At that 
time the 17th corps was not with the main body.  After it 
joined on June 8 the effective strength was 112,819 men.

     Opposed to this force was the Confederate army under the 
command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.  It was made up of 
Hardee's corps, consisting of Cheatham's, Cleburne's and 
Walker's divisions and the artillery under Col. Melancthon 
Smith; Hood's (or Lee's) corps, consisting of the divisions of 
Hindman, Stevenson and Stewart and the artillery under Col. R. 
F. Beckham; Wheeler's cavalry corps, embracing Martin's, 
Kelly's and Hume's divisions and Roddey, command, with the 
artillery under Col. F. H. Robertson; Polk's corps, which 
included Loring's, French's and Cantey's (or Walthall's) 
divisions, the cavalry division of Brig.-Gen. W. H. Jackson, 
and the 1st division of the Georgia state militia.  In his 
article in "Battles and Leaders," Johnston states his 
effective forces as being 42,856 men, with 112 guns, but Maj. 
E. C. Dawes, of the 53rd Ohio, who made an extended 
investigation into the subject, estimates the Confederate 
strength at Resaca as being at least 67,000 men with 168 
cannon, and figures that Johnston had under his command 
something over 84,000 men later in the campaign.

     With a view of preventing Johnston from sending 
reinforcements to Longstreet in East Tennessee, and also to 
assist Sherman's expedition to Meridian, Miss., Thomas made a 
demonstration against Dalton, Ga., in the latter part of 
February, but the campaign against Atlanta really began with 
the occupation of Tunnel Hill by the Union forces on the 7th 
of May.  Then followed engagements at Rocky Face Ridge, Mill 
Creek Gap, Dug Gap, Dalton, Resaca, Lay's Ferry, Adairsville, 
Cassville, New Hope Church, Pickett's Mills, Big Shanty, Brush 
Mountain, Kolb's Farm, Kennesaw Mountain, Ruff's Station, 
Smyrna and the Chattahoochee river, with almost constant 
skirmishing as Johnston retired toward Atlanta.  On July 17th 
Sherman's entire army crossed the Chattahoochee, his advance 
being within 8 miles of the city.  Up to this time Johnston 
had acted on the defensive and so well had he conducted his 
campaign that it had taken Sherman nearly two and a half 
months to advance a distance of 100 miles.  During the winter 
of 1863-64 Gen. Gilmer, Confederate chief engineer, had 
strengthened Atlanta as a base for Johnston's army by 
intrenching the city.  About the middle of June Capt. Grant of 
the engineers was instructed to strengthen these 
fortifications, especially on the northern side, toward 
Peachtree creek. Johnston had been promised by Gen. Maury at 
Mobile a number of rifled guns for this portion of the works, 
and Gov. Brown had promised 10,000 state troops to aid in the 
defense of the city.  Johnston's plan was to engage the Union 
army while it was, divided in crossing Peachtree creek.  If he 
failed there he would fall back to the line of works 
constructed by Grant, where he could hold on until the arrival 
of the state troops, when he could sally out and attack either 
flank of the Federal forces as opportunity offered.  But he 
was not permitted to carry out his plans.  His defensive 
campaign had not found favor with the Confederate authorities, 
and on the very day the Union forces crossed the Chattahoochee 
he received the following telegram from Adjt.-Gen. Cooper at 
Richmond: "I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you 
that, as you have failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to 
the vicinity of Atlanta, and express no confidence that you 
can defeat or repel him, you are hereby relieved from the 
command of the Army and Department of Tennessee, which you 
will immediately turn over to General Hood."

     The news of the change soon reached the Federal lines, 
where it was received with general satisfaction.  Knowing the 
feeling of the Confederate government toward Johnston's 
course, the new commander determined upon an aggressive 
policy.  His opportunity soon came.  Schofield had crossed the 
Chattahoochee at Phillips, ferry, near the mouth of Soap 
creek, and moved against the Georgia railroad in the vicinity 
of Decatur.  McPherson had effected a crossing at Roswell and 
moved to Schofield's left, striking the railroad between 
Decatur and Stone Mountain where Garrard's cavalry and M. L. 
Smith's division destroyed several miles of track.  He then 
effected a junction with Schofield and moved toward the city. 
On the 19th Sherman ordered Thomas to hold his right near 
Howell's mill on Peachtree creek and swing his left across the 
stream to connect with Schofield.  Davis, division made an 
attempt to cross at the mill, but finding the enemy too strong 
on the opposite bank moved farther down the stream, where he 
crossed without serious resistance, though Dilworth's brigade 
had a sharp skirmish with and repulsed a Confederate 
detachment.  Geary succeeded in crossing about half a mile 
above the mill.  Wood moved forward on the Buckhead road, but 
found the bridge destroyed and a force strongly intrenched on 
the high bank opposite.  By resorting to a flank movement he 
succeeded, after a stubborn fight, in gaining a footing on the 
south side of the creek below the road.  At dark that evening 
Thomas had the heads of three columns on the south side of the 
Peachtree and the remainder of his army in position to follow 
early on the 20th.  There was still a considerable gap between 
Thomas and Schofield, and to remedy this Sherman ordered 
Howard to extend his line to the left to connect with 
Schofield. Stanley's division crossed the north fork of the 
Peachtree above the Buckhead road and went into camp for the 
night between the forks of the creek, ready to move toward 
Schofield's line early on the following morning.  Baird's 
division of Palmer's corps crossed during the night and took 
position on the left of Davis, who occupied the extreme right 
of the line, and early the next morning Johnson crossed and 
moved into position on the left of Baird.  Hooker sent over 
Williams, division to form on Geary's right, and Ward's 
(formerly Butterfield's) was ordered to Geary's left.  Wood's 
division made a detour to join Stanley and Newton moved up on 
the Buckhead road into the position vacated by Wood.  The 
general course of Peachtree creek is westwardly.  Howell's 
mill stood at the point where the Marietta road crossed the 
creek and from there to Buckhead bridge the distance was about 
a mile and a half up the stream.  About half-way between the 
two roads a small stream called Shoal creek flowed into the 
Peachtree from the south, and a short distance east of the 
Buckhead road was another stream known as Clear creek.  On the 
bank of Shoal creek, about a quarter of a mile from the mouth, 
stood Collier's mill.  Newton after relieving Wood, moved 
forward to a position about half a mile south of the 
Peachtree, his left thrown out toward Clear creek, with his 
line commanding the cross road running to Collier's mill, and 
threw up a barricade of rails and logs.  In a hollow to his 
right and rear lay Ward's division, while still farther to the 
right beyond Shoal creek was Geary.

     Hood was aware of the gap in the Federal line and planned 
an assault on Thomas before Schofield and McPherson could come 
to his support.  The attack was ordered for 1 p. m. on the 
20th, with Stewart's corps on the left, Hardee's in the center 
and Cheatham's on the right.  Wheeler's cavalry was sent to 
hold Schofield and McPherson in check, Cheatham was instructed 
to hold his left on the creek in order to keep between Thomas 
and Schofield, and the other two corps were to be hurled 
against Thomas.  The advance was to be made by divisions in 
echelon, beginning on Hardee's right, and when the Union lines 
were forced back to the creek the Confederates were to turn to 
the left and press down the creek toward the west, sweeping 
everything before them.  At the last minute it became 
necessary to change the plan of battle to meet certain 
contingencies.  Schofield and McPherson had moved faster than 
flood had expected, notwithstanding Wheeler's efforts to hold 
them back.  On the night of the 19th Schofield crossed the 
south fork of the Peachtree and took up a position along 
Peavine creek, almost parallel to Cheatham's line of 
intrenchments.  To prevent Schofield from forming a junction 
with Thomas, Cheatham was directed to withdraw a division from 
his left to meet Schofield, and Hardee and Stewart were 
ordered to move to the right to close the space thus vacated. 
This movement caused a delay, so that it was about 4 o'clock 
before the attack was begun.  The movement of the Confederates 
to the right brought Hardee in front of Newton who bore the 
brunt of the first assault.  Without skirmishers Hardee 
advanced with Bate on the right, Walker in the center, Maney 
on the left and Cleburne in reserve.  His first division 
passed Newton's left flank near Clear creek and for a little 
while it looked as though Newton would be swept from his 
position.  But Bradley's brigade, which was in reserve, 
quickly formed and with the assistance of a well manned 
battery repulsed the attack.  Kimball's brigade, on the right 
of the road, was forced to change front to meet a force that 
was outflanking it.  The movement was successfully executed 
and just at this juncture the brigades of Wood, Harrison and 
Coburn, of Ward's division, came up on Kimball's right.  The 
sudden appearance of these fresh troops threw the enemy into 
confusion and he beat a precipitate retreat.  In the meantime 
the attack had been extended beyond Shoal creek toward the 
Union right.  Near Collier's mill was an angle between Ward 
and Geary.  When the enemy had advanced into this angle 
Geary's batteries opened with canister at short range and at 
the same time a fierce infantry fire was maintained both in 
front and on the flank.  The slaughter here was terrific. 
After the fight Geary's fatigue parties buried over 400 of the 
Confederate dead.  Stewart sent in the divisions of Loring and 
Walthall, holding French within easy supporting distance.  
This part of the Confederate line was subjected to a heavy 
enfilading fire and forced to retire with heavy losses.  
Loring lost 1,062 men in a few minutes.  Again and again the 
Confederates rallied and advanced to the assault.  But Thomas-
"The Rock of Chickamauga"-was there in person, directing the 
movements of his men, all of whom had the utmost confidence in 
their general and presented a front that was invincible. 
Ward's batteries were placed in a position to sweep the Clear 
creek valley, driving back Bate's column that was trying to 
gain Newton's rear. The enemy's losses in the subsequent at 
tacks were not so great as in the first charge but their 
repulse was none the less decisive.  The efforts to reform the 
lines for another assault were continued until sunset, when 
the attempt was abandoned and the enemy retired within his 
works.  The Federal loss at the battle of Peachtree creek in 
killed, wounded and missing was 1,707.  No official report of 
the Confederate casualties was made.  General Hooker's 
estimate of their losses in front of the 20th corps was 4,400 
in killed and wounded, and the total loss in killed, wounded 
and missing was not far from 6,000.  While the battle of 
Peachtree creek was in progress Gresham's division forced 
Wheeler's cavalry back across the Augusta road toward Bald 
Hill.  In this movement Gresham was severely wounded and 
Brig.-Gen. Giles A. Smith was assigned to the command of the 

     The 21st was spent by Thomas and Schofield in the 
readjustment of their lines.  Skirmish lines were advanced and 
intrenched within a short distance of the enemy's works, and 
the space between Howard and Logan was filled by Schofield's 
troops.  On the Union left McPherson was more aggressive. 
Seeing that Bald Hill was the key point to the situation on 
that part of the line he determined to possess it.  The hill 
was held by Cleburne's division, which had occupied and 
intrenched it the night before.  McPherson sent Force's 
brigade of Leggett's division, supported by Giles A. Smith, 
against Cleburne.  Force advanced under cover of the hill 
itself until within a short distance of the enemy's lines and 
then made a dashing charge across the intervening open space 
against the slight intrenchment before him. Cleburne's men 
were veterans and met the charge with that bravery which had 
distinguished them on other fields, but after a sharp combat 
they were forced to yield.  The hill, afterward known as 
Leggett's hill, was promptly manned by artillery, well 
supported by infantry, and a few shells were thrown into the 

     Having failed in his attempt against Thomas, Hood now 
turned his attention to McPherson.  In his report he says: 
"The position and demonstration of McPherson's army on the 
right threatening my communications made it necessary to 
abandon Atlanta or check his movements.  Unwilling to abandon, 
the following instructions were given on the morning of the 
21st: The chief engineer was instructed to select a line of 
defense immediately about Atlanta, the works already 
constructed for the defense of the place being wholly useless 
from their position; Stewart's and Cheatham's corps to take 
position and construct works to defend the city, the former on 
the left, the latter on the right.  The artillery, under the 
command of Brig.-Gen. Shoup, was massed on the extreme right. 
Hardee was ordered to move with his corps during the night of 
the 21st south on the McDonough road, crossing Intrenchment 
creek at Cobb's mills, and to completely turn the left of 
McPherson's army.  This he was to do, even should it be 
necessary to go to or beyond Decatur.  Wheeler, with his 
cavalry, was ordered to move on Hardee's right, both to attack 
at daylight, or as soon thereafter as possible.  As soon as 
Hardee succeeded in forcing back the enemy's left, Cheatham 
was to take up the movement from his right and continue to 
force the whole from right to left down Peachtree creek, 
Stewart in like manner to engage the enemy as soon as the 
movement became general."

     Such were Hood's plans for his sortie of the 22nd, but 
again the unforeseen interposed to prevent its success. 
Blair's corps, its right at Bald Hill, had a line of 
intrenchments along the McDonough road which made it necessary 
for Hardee to take a different route from the one laid down by 
Hood, so that he was not in position to begin his attack until 
about noon.  At daybreak that morning the Confederate works in 
front of Thomas and Schofield were found abandoned.  Of this 
situation Sherman says in his report: "I confess I thought the 
enemy had resolved to give us Atlanta without further contest, 
but General Johnston had been relieved of his command and 
General Hood substituted.  A new policy seemed resolved on, of 
which the bold attack on our right was the index.  Our 
advancing ranks swept across the strong and well finished 
parapets of the enemy and closed in upon Atlanta until we 
occupied a line in the form of a general circle of about 2 
miles radius, when we again found him occupying in force a 
line of finished redoubts which had been prepared for more 
than a year, covering all the roads leading into Atlanta, and 
we found him also busy in connecting those redoubts with 
curtains, strengthened by rifle-trench, abatis and chevaux-

     In contracting the lines about the city Dodge's corps 
(the 16th) was thrown somewhat to the rear by the 15th corps 
connecting with Schofield's right near the Howard house where 
Sherman had his headquarters.  Dodge was therefore ordered to 
move to McPherson's left flank to strengthen and extend the 
line in that direction.  About noon the two divisions of 
Dodge's corps were marching by fours in a long column to the 
new position.  Their line of march was nearly parallel to 
Hardee's line of battle, consisting of Bate's and Walker's 
divisions, concealed in the timber on the left.  The first 
intimation Dodge had of the presence of an enemy came with a 
few straggling shots from the Confederate skirmishers.  All 
Dodge had to do was to face his veterans to the left and they 
were in good line of battle on ground well calculated for 
defense.  Thus the engagement was begun on different ground 
and with a different body of troops from what Hood intended or 
Hardee expected.  When the corps halted and faced to the left 
Fuller's (formerly Veatch's) division was on the right and 
Sweeny's on the left.  In front was an open field over which 
the enemy must advance.  Fuller received the brunt of the 
first attack, but it was handsomely repulsed.  Walker's and 
the 14th Ohio batteries were wheeled into position and these, 
with the unerring infantry fire, checked every attempt to 
cross the field, each time driving back the enemy with heavy 
losses.  Some idea of the carnage at this part of the field 
may be gained from the statement that 13 of Walker's men were 
found dead in one corner of a rail fence behind which the line 
was formed.  In one of these charges Gen. Walker rode out of 
the woods, swinging his hat to cheer forward his men, and a 
moment later was shot from his horse, dying almost instantly. 
While the line was in some confusion Fuller made a headlong 
charge and captured a number of prisoners, including the 
colonel and adjutant of the 66th Ga. McPherson was in 
consultation with Blair and Logan near the railroad when the 
sound of the firing was heard, and hurried to the scene of 
action.  Noticing that a considerable gap existed between 
Dodge's right and Blair's left, he sent orders to Logan to 
push forward a brigade to close up the line.  A short time 
served to satisfy McPherson that Dodge could hold his position 
and he started back to Blair.  Just at this juncture 
Cleburne's skirmishers were advancing into the gap above 
mentioned.  They called to McPherson to surrender, but instead 
of obeying the summons he lifted his hat, as if in salute, and 
wheeled his horse to gallop away.  His action drew forth a 
volley and he fell mortally wounded.  As soon as the news 
reached Sherman he assigned Logan to the temporary command of 
the Army of the Tennessee.  The sound of the volley that 
killed McPherson told Fuller that the enemy was advancing on 
his right and he threw forward the 64th Ill., armed with the 
Henry repeating rifles, to protect his flank.  This regiment 
met Cleburne's skirmishers with such a galling fire that they 
fell back with a loss of several in killed and wounded and 
some 40 prisoners.  Upon one of the prisoners was found 
McPherson's effects, including an important despatch to 
Sherman, and the body of the dead general was soon afterward 

     Almost immediately after the fall of McPherson the 
divisions of Cleburne and Maney emerged from the timber on the 
right of Dodge and under the protection of a heavy artillery 
fire from the ridge in their rear advanced in three columns 
against the left and rear of the 17th corps.  They struck 
Blair's left flank, fronting west, then swung through the gap 
and seized the works constructed by Leggett and Smith in their 
advance on Bald Hill the day before.  In this movement the 
16th Iowa, 245 men, on Blair's extreme left was cut off and 
captured.  On moved the Confederate advance until it reached 
the foot of the hill and even began the ascent to attack 
Leggett's works on the summit.  Here the tide of battle was 
turned.  Smith's division leaped over their works and began to 
pour in a deadly fire from the other side.  Wangelin's 
brigade, which Logan had sent in response to McPherson's last 
order to occupy the gap, arrived and opened fire on the 
enemy's flank.  This gave Blair an opportunity to change front 
and form a new line, by which arrangement the Confederates 
were forced back.  Hood watched the movement from a salient in 
the city's fortifications, and about 3 p. m., when he saw 
Hardee's attack had driven Blair's left back far enough to 
attack the hill from the south, ordered Cheatham's corps and 
the state troops under G. W. Smith to move against the Union 
position from the Atlanta side.  Here Col. Jones, of the 53rd 
Ohio, with two regiments of M. L. Smith's division and two 
guns of Battery A, 1st Ill. artillery, occupied a position on 
a hill about half a mile in advance of the main line.  Near 
his position the railroad ran through a deep cut and close by 
stood a large house of which the enemy could take advantage to 
cover his advance along the railroad.  Jones wanted to burn 
the house but failed to get permission to do so.  Cheatham 
sent forward Manigault's brigade to occupy it, while the main 
body of the corps poured through the cut and struck Jones on 
the flank, throwing his line into disorder.  The two guns were 
spiked, however, before they fell into the hands of the enemy.

     About 800 yards in advance of the 15th corps was Battery 
H (De Gress'), 1st Ill. light artillery, composed of 20-
pounder Parrott guns and occupying the works evacuated by the 
enemy on the night of the 21st.  The battery, practically 
unsupported, was charged about 4 o'clock.  The attack in front 
was repulsed, but the enemy gained the rear, and De Gress, 
seeing that capture was imminent, spiked the guns and withdrew 
his men.  The guns were soon afterward recaptured, unspiked 
and fired a few rounds after the retreating enemy.  This part 
of the engagement was witnessed by Sherman from his position 
near the Howard house and he ordered Schofield to mass his 
artillery there and open a cross fire on Cheatham as he 
advanced toward the hill.  At the same time the 1st division 
of the 15th corps, commanded by Brig.-Gen. C. R. Woods, and 
Mersey's brigade of Sweeny's division moved forward and 
attacked Cheatham on flank and rear, checking his advance.  
The whole 15th corps now rallied and by a counter charge drove 
Cheatham in confusion from the field recapturing De Gress, 
guns.  This virtually ended the battle.  Though several 
subsequent attacks were made they only served to increase the 
Confederate losses without giving them any advantage.  Hardee 
and Cheatham were operating on lines nearly at a right angle 
and several miles apart.  Had they attacked with vigor at the 
same moment the result might have been different.  Fortunately 
for Blair who occupied the hill for which the enemy was 
contending, the assaults were so disconnected that he always 
had time to change front to meet each one when it came.

     One thing that made it comparatively easy for Hardee to 
gain Blair's flank and rear was the fact that Sherman had sent 
Garrard's cavalry on the 21st to Covington to destroy the 
Georgia railroad.  Had the cavalry been with the left wing it 
is quite probable that some scouting party would have 
discovered the movement in time to check it, or at least to 
have given a different turn to the battle.

     At Decatur was Sprague's brigade of Fuller's division 
guarding a train.  About the time that Hardee began his attack 
two divisions of Wheeler's cavalry made a descent upon Sprague 
in an endeavor to capture the train.  Sprague disposed his 
force in such a way as to cover the withdrawal of the train 
and put up a gallant resistance to a vastly superior force. 
Reilly's brigade of Sweeny's division came to his assistance 
and Wheeler was repulsed with a loss estimated at from 500 to 
Sprague lost 242 men, most of whom were evidently captured, as 
Wheeler reported about 225 prisoners. 
     Gen. J. D. Cox reports the Union losses in the battle of 
the 22nd at 3,521 in killed, wounded and missing.  Full 
returns of the Confederate casualties are not available, but 
Logan estimated them at 10,000.  His command captured 5,000 
stand of small arms, 18 stand of colors and 1,107 prisoners. 
The total number of prisoners taken by the Union army was 
about 2,000.  Walker's division lost so heavily that the 
remnants of its brigades were assigned to other commands.  

     Hood made another sortie on July 28, at Ezra Church 
(q. v.).  After that Sherman settled down to a siege, with 
occasional cavalry raids against the railroad communications 
south of the city.  (See McCook's, Stoneman's and Kilpatrick's 
Raids.)  These expeditions having failed to destroy the 
railroads, Sherman decided to intrench the 20th corps, now 
commanded by Maj.-Gen. H. W. Slocum, at the railroad bridge 
over the Chattahoochee and at Pace's and Turner's ferries, and 
move the rest of his army to the south of Atlanta.  This 
movement began on Aug. 25.  The 4th corps was relieved by 
Garrard's cavalry, dismounted, and covered the withdrawal of 
the 20th corps to the river.  The next day the 4th and 14th 
corps were massed on Utoy creek, and by the evening of the 
27th the entire army except Slocum's corps was between Atlanta 
and Sandtown.  Hood had unconsciously played into Sherman's 
hands by sending Wheeler with about 10,000 cavalry to cut the 
Western & Atlantic railroad in the rear of the Union army, 
thus weakening the Confederate forces in the field where 
Sherman was now operating.  On the night of the 28th Thomas 
was at Red Oak a station on the West Point railroad Howard, 
with the Army of the Tennessee, was at Fairburn, and Schofield 
was near Mt. Gilead church, about 4 miles east of Thomas.  
Hood sent out Hardee's and S. D. Lee's corps on the 30th to 
check Sherman's movements and save the railroads if possible. 
During the next few days skirmishes occurred at Red Oak, Rough 
and Ready Morrow's mill, Mud creek and some other places; the 
battle of Jonesboro was fought on Aug. 31, and Sept. 1, and 
the fighting continued around Lovejoy's Station until Sept. 5. 
In the end the enemy was beaten at every point, for on the 
night of the 31st the Federals were in full possession of the 
railroads.  Upon learning this Hood realized that further 
resistance was useless, and at 5 p. m. on Sept. 1, the 
evacuation of the city was begun.  During the night heavy 
explosions were heard by Sherman's army, 20 miles south, 
caused by blowing up their stores and magazines, and the next 
morning it was discovered that the Confederate force at 
Jonesboro had been withdrawn during the night.

     In the meantime Slocum's command had been engaged in 
constructing works at the railroad bridge and ferries, the 1st 
division being at the bridge, the 2nd at Pace's ferry and the 
3rd at Turner's.  On Aug. 27, French's division, with 4 pieces 
of artillery, came out and made a spirited attack on Slocum's 
position, but it was handsomely repulsed with considerable 
loss to the enemy and very slight loss to the Union forces. 
The explosions on the night of Sept. 1, were heard in Slocum's 
camp, and early the next morning he sent out adetachment of 
the 2nd brigade, Ward's division, under Col. John Coburn, to 
make a reconnaissance in the direction of the city and learn 
the cause of the explosions.  Coburn reached the old line of 
the Confederate works and found it abandoned.  In the suburbs 
of the city he was met by Mayor Calhoun, with a committee of 
citizens bearing a flag of truce.  The mayor formally 
surrendered the city and about 10 a. m. Ward's division 
marched in and took possession, the remainder of Slocum's 
corps following later.  The Army of the Cumberland reached the 
city on the 8th and took position in the works around it to 
guard against any attempt to retake it. Sherman ordered all 
families of Confederate soldiers to move southward within five 
days, and all citizens of the north, not connected with the 
army, to move northward, as the city was required purely for 
military purposes.  When the march to the sea was commenced 
the torch was applied to all buildings except churches and 
dwellings, but as the work was somewhat indiscriminately done 
many buildings of the exempted classes were consumed.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 5 


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