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Reports of the Atlanta campaign 7 May - 2 Sept. 64

1. George H. Thomas
2. Ulysses S. Grant
3. William T. Sherman
4. Oliver O. Howard
5. Joseph E. Johnston
6. John Bell Hood
7. Patrick R Cleburne



6. Patrick R Cleburne
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOL. XXXVIII/3 [S# 74] May 1-Sept. 8, 1864.--THE ATLANTA (GEORGIA) CAMPAIGN
No. 608.--Report of Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne, C. S. Army, commanding division, of operations May 7-27.

[ar74_720 con't]
HEADQUARTERS CLEBURNE'S DIVISION,
Baugh's House, near Atlanta, Ga., August 16, 1864.
GENERAL [HARDEE]: In compliance with the request expressed in your letter of the 10th instant, I have the honor to report the operations of my division from the beginning of the current campaign to the date of General Joseph E. Johnston's being relieved from the command of this army.(*)
On the 7th of May, 1864, the enemy advanced, with heavy masses of infantry and other arms, toward Rocky Face Gap, near Dalton. It was understood he was also advancing upon the Cleveland road. My division at this time was intrenched upon Mill Creek, on the middle Spring Place road. The next day, the 8th of May, I was ordered to go with dispatch to Dug Gap, a pass in Rocky Face Ridge, five miles southwest of Dalton, then being heavily attacked by Hooker's corps. I was to take Lowrey's and Granbury's brigades. I arrived there after a rapid march, which was rendered <ar74_721> very severe by the extreme heat of the summer and the steep acclivity of the ridge, about an hour before sundown. Reaching the gap (Dug Gap) in person, while my command was still at the foot of the ridge, I found the First and Second Arkansas Cavalry, dismounted, and Grigsby's brigade of Kentucky cavalry holding the position. They had gallantly repulsed every assault. The fight was still going on, and some anxiety was felt (you yourself were present) lest the overwhelming numbers of the enemy might carry the position before my command could ascend the hill. The Arkansans and Kentuckians held it firmly, however, until I placed Lowrey and Granbury in position, which was done by night-fall. With night the enemy remitted his attack, and everything was quiet. On the morning of the 9th my pickets were advanced to the extreme base of the ridge on its west face. Many of the enemy's dead were found, and some wounded, who were brought in and cared for. Most of the wounded belonged to Buschbeck's brigade, Geary's division, Hooker's corps. A great many small-arms were collected and brought in also. The enemy did not attack during the day. His forces were plainly in view in the valley. Their numbers, however, could not be estimated, as the valley had only a small portion of cleared land. Some prisoners were taken during the day.
At about 1 a.m. on the 10th I received orders to move to the junction of the Sugar Valley and Dug Gap roads. At that point further orders were communicated to me to move toward Resaca. Leaving Colonel Williamson with his Arkansas troops in the gap (Grigsby had been sent to Snake Creek Gap) I moved accordingly within a mile of that place (Resaca) on the railroad. I remained here two or three hours, when I returned by your command to Dug Gap, arriving about sundown. My division was now together. Receiving orders during the night I marched on the morning of the 11th, starting at 7 o'clock, upon the Sugar Valley road in the direction of Resaca. This movement was rendered necessary by the untoward circumstances of Snake Creek Gap not being adequately occupied to resist the heavy force thrown against it, under the sagacious and enterprising McPherson. How this gap, which opened upon our rear and line of communication, from which it was distant at Resaca only five miles, was neglected I cannot imagine. General Mackall, Johnston's chief of staff, told me it was the result of a flagrant disobedience of orders, by whom he did not say. Certainly the commanding general never could have failed to appreciate its importance. Its loss exposed us in the outset of the campaign to a terrible danger, and on the left forced us to retreat from a position where, if he adhered to his attack, we might have detained the enemy for months, destroying vast numbers of his men, perhaps prolonged the campaign until the wet season would have rendered operations in the field impracticable. As it was, if McPherson had hotly pressed his advantage, Sherman supporting him strongly with the bulk of his army, it is impossible to say what the enemy might not have achieved--more than probable a complete victory. But McPherson faltered and hung back, indeed after penetrating within a mile of Resaca he actually returned, because, as I understood, he was not supported, and feared if we turned back suddenly upon him from Dalton he would be cut off, as doubtless would have been the result. After a few miles I camped for several hours. In the afternoon I resumed the march, and halted about sundown at a point where a «46 R R--VOL XXXVIII, PT III» <ar74_722> new military road debouched into the Sugar Valley road, ten miles from Dalton. Determining upon a line of battle I camped for the night. At 7 next morning, the 12th, the cavalry skirmishers in advance of me on the Sugar Valley road were driven in. Making my dispositions as promptly as possible, and more in detail than I had been able to do the evening before, I threw up breast-works and awaited the enemy, who was reported advancing in line of battle. He did not attack, however. On the 13th I marched to Resaca and went into position on the crest of the ridge looking into a valley several hundred yards wide, formed by ------- Creek, which at this point was parallel with the railroad, and about a mile to the west of it. Here I covered myself with rifle-pits--Bate on my right, Cheatham on my left. During the 14th the enemy came into position on the ridge opposite to me, and opened a heavy fusilade. In the course of the afternoon he made several attempts to charge, but uniformly they were unhappy failures. In front of Brigadier-General Govan, one of his officers, supposed to be a general officer, was heard to address his troops, endeavoring to incite them to the charge. He told them amongst other things that they were the men who had taken Missionary Ridge, and that they could take this. But his eloquence was of no avail. His men came but a few paces into the open ground of the valley, when they retired precipitately under our fire. Toward evening the enemy's fire slackened into a few dropping shots.
Heavy musketry on my front early on the 15th gradually slackening until it was confined principally to sharpshooters, who were, however, quite troublesome. About 10 p.m. on the 15th, leaving my skirmishers in position, I withdrew from the works and crossed the Oostenaula River by the trestle bridge west of the railroad bridge. Halted at midnight within a few miles of Calhoun. About sunrise I proceeded to Calhoun with my division, and went into line, my left resting on the road leading to an unfinished bridge, my right stretching toward the railroad where it enters the town from the north. About 11 a.m. I was ordered to move to my left and rear to meet a force detached from the left of the position occupied by a body of the enemy lying on the left bank of the river, and held in check by Major-General Walker, commanding his own and Bate's divisions. This detachment was either directed against Calhoun or was seeking to get around Walker's right. I immediately threw forward Polk's brigade, formed Granbury's brigade as a second line behind him, and placed Govan's brigade in echelon on Polk's right. Lowrey's brigade I disposed on a hill in the angle between ------- Creek and the river. I also placed four rifle pieces on the hill so as to enfilade the main body of the enemy in front of Walker. My escort was directed to observe the road from Resaca to Calhoun. Polk became briskly engaged with the enemy's skirmishers after advancing but a short distance. The rifle pieces on the hill opened upon the enemy's right, enfilading his line. This fire seemed to throw him into great confusion. It was entirely unexpected. It would doubtless have proved very destructive, but, unfortunately, before I had had time to fire more than a very few rounds a dispatch was sent me from my pickets that the enemy was coming upon Calhoun, driving Wheeler, with his cavalry, steadily before him. Receiving orders in view of the exposure of my rear to this force, I withdrew my brigade and passed the creek. This was about 5 p.m. Here I found Major-General Walker in position.  Placing Granbury on a small wooded hill on the bank of the creek, which commanded <ar74_723> the approach to the bridge and ford over the creek, with Polk on his right along the creek bottom, I threw up rifle-pits and upon the hill epaulements for a battery. Govan and Lowrey were sent some two miles or more upon the Adairsville road. Skirmishers were thrown well out on the Calhoun side of the creek, and a strong force placed so as to hold a position (on that side of the creek) which it was feared the enemy, now swinging to the right and feeling for Polk, who had withdrawn from their front, might occupy. This position would have given the enemy command of Walker's flank and rear. The enemy did not come up.
Soon after night I received orders to march toward Adairsville. Leaving Granbury in position to draw in his pickets when all had got away, and join me, I moved at 1 a.m. May 17. I arrived at Adairsville about daylight (17th), halting about two miles north of the town. About 3 p.m. the enemy appeared in some considerable force on the railroad, from Calhoun. Cheatham was placed in position on the crest of a ridge immediately confronting the enemy, his line crossing the railroad at right angles. My division was drawn up on the left of the road in two limes, in Cheatham's rear, about 800 yards distant--Polk and Granbury in the first line, Govan and Lowrey in the second. An open field, traversed by a creek with swampy margins, intervened between me and Cheat-ham; along my left ran a considerable creek. Much attention was paid to my left flank. It was strengthened by rifle-pits, as also were my two lines. Skirmishers were disposed along the creek on my left, stretching down to Cheatham's left. A regiment of Lowrey's was thrown across the creek to my left for further protection to that flank. This force (regiment) afterward gave place to Bate. The enemy attacked Cheatham, but my division was not engaged. Soon after night I attended, at your summons, at your headquarters, and received orders to retire. Cheatham was to lead; Bate to follow in half an hour; Walker in another half hour, and I to bring up the rear as soon as I could get to the road. Skirmishers were to be left in position until the corps had got away. By some misunderstanding these skirmishers were withdrawn at 2 o'clock, and came in before my command had filed into the road, thus leaving nothing between me and the enemy. Fortunately, however, an impenetrable fog enveloped the army and covered our movements. I reached Kingston during the early part of the 18th, and halted for some hours. Moving again, I marched until about 4 p.m. with three of my brigades to within two miles of Cassville. Polk was left in Kingston as a rear guard. The next morning, May 19, I went into position. Polk had come up. My line crossed the railroad at right angles. I held the left; Walker next on my right. About 3 p.m., attending with the other major-generals at your quarters, I received orders to send ambulances and ordnance trains to the rear of Cass Station, which was done. This was preparatory to withdrawing the whole line of the corps, a delicate operation in the presence of the enemy, but rendered imperative by his successful artillery practice on Walker's line, which was unavoidably exposed in an open field to the east of the railroad and resting on it. The withdrawal was successfully accomplished, however, the enemy not venturing to press. A new line was taken up a mile or two farther back, my part of which I proceeded to fortify most industriously. At an advanced hour in the night I received orders to move. Sending my ordnance train and the artillery serving with me, under Major Hotchkiss, in advance <ar74_724> across the Etowah River by the bridge near the railroad crossing, under the guidance of my senior staff officer, I moved with the rest of the corps by ------ Bridge to Willford's Mill, on Pumpkin Vine Creek. Here I remained until Monday, the 23d of May, when I moved by Dyer's Tan-yard and Tanner's to the Dallas ------ road, six miles distant, and camped for the night. On the 24th, next day, I moved, via New Hope Church, to Powder Springs. On the 25th, at 3 a.m., I marched to Lyster's, retracing so far my steps of the day before. At Lyster's I turned to the right, and went a mile or so through the woods, making my headquarters at Darby's. I remained here under orders to be ready to move at a moment's notice, until about dark, when I received orders to move to New Hope Church, where Hood had been fighting for several hours. The night was intensely dark; it was impossible to distinguish the road. Being soon impeded by the rear of Walker's column I bivouacked and sent to you for instructions, in view of my embarrassment by the darkness and choked-up roads. About 10.30 p.m. I received orders to bivouac until 4 a.m. and then move to Maulding, on the DallasAtlanta road. I reached Maulding next morning (26th) at 6.30. Later in the day I moved to the right of the army to support Hindman. I got into position before sundown. I was now reporting to Lieutenant-General Hood. For an account of my operations while under command of General Hood, I submit the following report, made to that officer at that time:
HEADQUARTERS CLEBURNE'S DIVISION,
Paulding County, Ga., May 30, 1864.
COLONEL: In compliance with orders, I submit the following account of the operations of my division on the afternoon and night of the 27th instant:
About 2 or 3 o'clock of the afternoon of the 26th I arrived with my division on the extreme right of the then line of the army, when I was sent to support Major-General Hindman. At that point our lines, the general bearing of which was north and south, retired for a few yards to the east. In continuation of this retiring line I placed Polk's brigade (of my division) in and diagonally across it, upon a ridge in echelon by battalion to avoid an artillery enfilade from a neighboring position held by the enemy. Resting on Polk's right as placed Hotchkiss artillery, consisting of four Napoleons, four Parrott guns, and four howitzers. Supporting Hotchkiss on the right was one regiment of Govan's, of my division. The remainder of my division was disposed in rear as a second line in support of Hindman's right brigades and my first line. Intrenchments were thrown up in the afternoon and night of the 26th and in the morning of the 27th. The position was in the main covered with trees and undergrowth, which served as a screen along our lines, concealed us, and were left standing as far as practicable for that purpose. On the morning of the 27th, at about 7 o'clock, Govan was sent to the north front on a reconnaissance, with directions to swing to the left in his advance. From time to time, while engaged in this reconnaissance, Govan sent me word that the enemy was moving to the right--his own left. At 11 a.m., upon my order to that effect, Govan came in, leaving his skirmishers about three-quarters of a mile in front. I at once placed him on the right of Polk, where he covered himself in rifle-pits. About 4 p.m., hearing that the enemy's infantry in line of battle were pressing the cavalry on my right (they had already driven in my skirmishers), I placed Granbury on Govan's right. He had but just gotten into position, and a dismounted cavalry force, in line behind a few disconnected heaps of stones loosely piled together, had passed behind him when the enemy advanced. He showed himself first, having driven back my skirmishers, in the edge of an open field in front of Govan, about 400 yards across, where he halted and opened fire. From the point on the ridge where Govan's right and Granbury's left met, there made off a spur, which, at about 100 yards from it, turned sharply to the northeast, running then in a direction almost parallel with it and maintaining about an equal elevation. Between this spur and the parent ridge beginning in front of Granbury's left, was a deep ravine, the side of which next to Granbury was very steep, with occasional benches of rock up to a line within thirty or forty yards of Granbury's <ar74_725> men, where it flattened into a natural glacis. This glacis was well covered with well grown trees and in most places with thick undergrowth. Here was the brunt of the battle, the enemy advancing along this front in numerous and constantly re-enforced lines. His men displayed a courage worthy of an honorable cause, pressing in steady throngs within a few paces of our men, frequently exclaiming, "Ah! damn you, we have caught you without your logs now." Granbury's men, needing no logs, were awaiting them, and throughout awaited them with calm determination, and as they appeared upon the slope slaughtered them with deliberate aim. The piles of his dead on this front, pronounced by the officers in this army who have seen most service to be greater than they had ever seen before, were a silent but sufficient eulogy upon Granbury and his noble Texans. In the great execution here done upon the enemy, Govan with his two right regiments, disdaining the enemy in his own front, who were somewhat removed, and Key with two pieces of artillery ran by hand upon my order to a convenient breach made in our breast-works, materially aided Granbury by a right-oblique fire which enfiladed the masses in his front. In front of a prolongation of Granbury's line and abutting upon his right was a field about 300 yards square. The enemy, driving back some cavalry, at this point advanced completely across the field and passed- some forty or fifty yards in its rear. Here, however, they were confronted by the Eighth and Nineteenth Arkansas (consolidated), commanded by Colonel Baucum, hastily sent by Govan upon Granbury's request and representation of the exigency. In a sweeping charge Baucum drove the enemy from the ridge in his front, and with irresistible impetuosity forced him across the field and back into the woods, from which he had at first advanced. Here he fixed himself and kept up a heavy fire, aided by a deadly enfilade from the bottom of the ravine in front of Granbury. When Baucum was about to charge, Lowrey, of my division, who had been hastened up from his distant position upward of a mile and a half from my right as finally established, came into line, throwing his regiments in successively, as they unmasked themselves by their flank march. His arrival was most opportune, as the enemy was beginning to pour around Baucum's right. Colonel Adams, with the Thirty-third Alabama, which was the first of Lowrey's regiments to form into line, took position on Baucum's right and advanced with him, his seven left companies being in the field with Baucum, and his other four in the woods to the right. Baucum and Adams, finding themselves suffering from the enemy's direct and oblique fire, withdrew, passing over the open space of the field behind them. The right companies of Adams, which were in the woods, retired to a spur which rises from the easterly edge of the field about 200 yards from its southerly edge, where Baucum's and Adams' left companies rested. Here they halted. Captain Dodson, with fine judgment perceiving the importance of the position--it would have given the enemy an enfilading fire upon Granbury, which would have dislodged him--and making his company the basis of alignment for the remainder of Lowrey's, now coming into position. This retrogade movement across the field was not attended with loss as might have been expected, the enemy not advancing as it was made. It was mistaken, however, for a repulse, and some of my staff officers hearing that my line had broken hastened forward Quarles' brigade, of Stewart's division, just then providentially sent up by General Hood to re-establish it. Lowrey, being under the same impression, detached his two right regiments (which had not been engaged) under Colonels Tison and Hardcastle, and had them quickly formed in support of Baucum and Adams. The error, however, was soon discovered, and my line being ascertained to remain in its integrity, Quarles' brigade was conducted to the rear of Lowrey, and formed as a second line. The Fourth Louisiana, Colonel Hunter, finding itself opposite an interval between the two regiments of Lowrey's line (caused by Baucum's resting closer upon Granbury on his return from the advance, than he had done at first), under the immediate superintendence of General Quarles, advanced with great spirit into the field, halted, and delivered a very effective fire upon the enemy in his front. After some minutes Quarles withdrew this regiment and formed it behind the field, where they continued their fire across it. General Quarles and his brigade have my thanks. During these movements the battle continued to rage on Granbury's front, and was met with unflagging spirit. About the time of Quarles getting into position night came on, when the combat lulled. For some hoars afterward a desultory dropping fire, with short, vehement bursts of musketry, continued, the enemy lying in great numbers immediately in front of portions of my line, and so near it that their footsteps could be distinctly heard. About 10 p.m. I ordered Granbury and Lowrey to push forward skirmishers and scouts to learn the state of things in their respective fronts. Granbury, finding it impossible to advance his skirmishers until he had cleared his front of the enemy lying up against it, with my consent, charged with his whole line, Walthall, <ar74_726> with his brigade, from Hindman's division, whom I sent to his support, taking his place in the line as he stepped out of it. The Texans, their bayonets fixed, plunged into the darkness with a terrific yell, and with one bound were upon the enemy, but they met with no resistance. Surprised and panic-stricken many fled, escaping in the darkness, others surrendered and were brought into our lines. It needed but the brilliancy of this night attack to add luster to the achievements of Granbury and his brigade in the afternoon. I am deeply indebted to them both. My thanks are also due to General Lowrey for the coolness and skill which he exhibited in forming his line. His successive formation was the precise answer to the enemy's movement in extending his left to turn our right. Time was of the essence of things, and his movement was the quickest. His line was formed under heavy fire, on ground unknown to him and of the most difficult character, and the stern firmness with which he and his men and Baucum's regiment drove off the enemy and resisted his renewed attacks without doubt saved the right of the army, as Granbury had already done before.
During the progress of the battle much service was rendered by the rifle battery and two remaining howitzers of Key's battery, in position on Polk's right. They were trained in enfilade upon the enemy's reserves massed behind the hill in front of the spur we occupied. I regretted I did not have more guns for this service. I had sent the Napoleon guns to the right, where they were unable to find positions, and so were useless.
During these operations Polk was not engaged, but it was a source of strength and confidence to the rest of the division to know that he had charge of the weakest and most delicate part of our line.
It is due to the following officers of my staff that I should acknowledge the industry, zeal, and activity they manifested in the battle: Maj. Calhoun Benham, assistant adjutant-general; Maj. J. K. Dixon, assistant inspector-general; Capt. Irving A. Buck, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. Robert McFarland, Lieuts. L. H. Man-gum, S. P. Hanly, and J. W. Jetton, aides-de-camp, and Capt. C. H. Byrne, volunteer aide-de-camp. They did their full duty with ability, gallantry., and enthusiasm. I am indebted to them for their cooperation. My ordnance, under Capt. C. S. Hill, and my medical department, under Surg. D. A. Linthicum, and my artillery, under Maj. T. R. Hotchkiss, were well administered.
My casualties in this battle were few. I had 85 killed, 363 wounded, carrying into the engagement 4,683 muskets. The enemy's losses were very heavy. The lowest estimate which can be made of his dead is 500. We captured 160 prisoners, who were sent to army headquarters, exclusive of 72 of his wounded carried to my field hospital. He could not have lost in all less than 3,000 killed and wounded. I took upward of 1,200 small-arms.
This battle was fought at a place known as the "Pickett Settlement," and about two miles northeast of New Hope Church.
Very respectfully,
P. R. CLEBURNE,
Major-General.
Lieutenant-Colonel SELLERS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Hood's Corps.

[The continuation of this report is not found.]


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