NEAR ATLANTA, GA., July 28, 1864 – 9 p.m.
Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
The enemy again assaulted to-day; this time on our extreme right, to which flank I had shifted the Army of the Tennessee, to gain ground toward the railroad. The blow fell upon the Fifteenth Corps, which handsomely repulsed it, capturing 4 regimental flags. The attack was kept up for five hours. Our men were partially covered, while the enemy were exposed. Our loss is comparatively small, while that of the enemy is represented as heavy. I will give approximate figures tomorrow. The cavalry has now been out two days, and tomorrow should show the effect. I feel confident they will reach the Macon road. Our right is about a mile distant from the railroad, but the ground is very difficult. I may be forced to extend still farther to command it. We had heavy cannonading all day, the enemy using ordnance as heavy as 6-inch rifled guns. Bragg has been to Atlanta on a second visit.
W. T. SHERMAN.
General Dodge’s corps reached its position across Proctor’s Creek the last evening, and early the next morning Blair’s corps deployed on his right, both corps covering their front with the usual parapet. The Fifteenth Corps, General Logan’s, came up this morning on the right of Blair, strongly refused, and began to prepare the usual cover. As General Jeff. C.
Davis’s division was, as it were, left out of line, I ordered it last evening to march down toward Turner’s Ferry, and then to take a road laid down on our maps which led from there toward East Point, ready to engage any enemy that might attack our general right flank, after the same manner as had been done to the left flank on the 22d.
I followed the movement, and rode to the extreme right, where we could hear some skirmishing and an occasional cannon-shot. As we approached the ground held by the Fifteenth Corps, a cannon-ball passed over my shoulder and killed the horse of an orderly behind; and seeing that this gun enfiladed the road by which we were riding, we turned out of it and rode down into a valley, where we left our horses and walked up to the hill held by Morgan L. Smith’s division of the Fifteenth Corps. Near a house I met Generals Howard and Logan, who explained that there was an intrenched battery to their front, with the appearance of a strong infantry support. I then walked up to the ridge, where I found General Morgan L. Smith. His men were deployed and engaged in rolling logs and fence-rails, preparing a hasty cover. From this ridge we could overlook the open fields near a meeting-house known as “Ezra Church,” close by the Poor-House. We could see the fresh earth of a parapet covering some guns (that fired an occasional shot), and there was also an appearance of activity beyond. General Smith was in the act of sending forward a regiment from, his right flank to feel the position of the enemy, when I explained to him and to Generals Logan and Howard that they must look out for General Jeff. C. Davis’s division, which was coming up from the direction of Turner’s Ferry.
As the skirmish-fire warmed up along the front of Blair’s corps, as well as along the Fifteenth Corps, I became convinced that Hood designed to attack this right flank, to prevent, if possible, the extension of our line in that direction. I regained my horse, and rode rapidly back to see that Davis’s division had been dispatched as ordered. I found General Davis in person, who was unwell, and had sent his division that morning early, under the command of his senior brigadier, Morgan; but, as I attached great importance to the movement, Davis mounted his horse, and rode away to overtake and to hurry forward the movement, so as to come up on the left rear of the enemy, during the expected battle.
By this time the sound of cannon and musketry denoted a severe battle as in progress, which began seriously at 11.30 a.m., and ended substantially by 4 p.m. It was a fierce attack by the enemy on our extreme right flank, well posted and partially covered.
I wrote Thomas:
Try and thin your strong lines as much as possible to-morrow, so as to make good reserves for action. Let these reserves be ready to move at any moment. Our cavalry surely will reach the Macon road tonight, and tomorrow the enemy will do something desperate.
Let two of your Napoleons or 20-pounder Parrott batteries keep up fire on Atlanta all night, each battery throwing a shot every fifteen minutes, partly for effect and partly as signal to our cavalry.
I received this request from the War Department:
WAR DEPARTMENT, July 28, 1864: 8.30 p.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Army of the Mississippi, before Atlanta, Ga.:
The Secretary of War directs that you forward to the Department, as soon as practicable, a list of colonels whom you desire promoted to the rank of brigadier-general of volunteers. There will probably be eighth appointments made for your army. Please indicate your preference for those you desire to receive the first appointments.
JAMES A. HARDIE, Colonel and Inspector-General