Friday, July 29, 1864

Near Atlanta, Georgia, July 29, 1864: 8.30 p.m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.;

The result of the enemy’s attack yesterday, chiefly on the Fifteenth Corps, is thus reported by General Howard:

We have counted 642 rebel dead, and there are still others in front of our lines. It is fair to presume that their wounded are five or six times that of their dead. Over 100 prisoners are in hand, and others being gathered up in the woods.

Howard estimates the enemy’s loss at 5,000, and our loss at less than 600. General W. H. T. Walker was killed on the 22d, and it is now reported by prisoners that Wheeler was killed yesterday. Stephen D. Lee, Loring, and Stewart severely wounded yesterday. We are so near the enemy’s line that their artillery prevents our advancing the lines so as to take full advantage of battle, they gathering into the city the wounded and more remote dead. The parapets of Atlanta present a well-filled line wherever we approach them. General Thomas is today making a strong reconnaissance on force toward East Point, and General Schofield on the left. Our cavalry has now been out three days, and must have done its works about Griffin.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

Yesterday’s attack on the Fifteenth Corp was reported by General Logan in his official report to the Adjutant-General of the Army of the Tennessee, thus:

Lieutenant-Colonel WILLIAM T. CLARK,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Tennessee, present:

I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of orders, I moved my command into position on the right of the Seventeenth Corps, which was the extreme right of the army in the field, during the night of the 27th and morning of the 28th. While advancing in line of battle to a more favorable position, we were met by the rebel infantry of Hardee’s and Lee’s corps, who made a determined and desperate attack on us at 11 A.M. of the 28th.

My lines were only protected by logs and rails, hastily thrown up in front of them.
The first onset was received and checked, and the battle commenced and lasted until about three o’clock in the evening. During that time six successive charges were made, which were six times gallantly repulsed, each time with fearful loss to the enemy.

Later in the evening my lines were several times assaulted vigorously, but each time with like result. The worst of the fighting occurred on General Harrow’s and Morgan L. Smith’s fronts, which formed the centre and right of the corps. The troops could not have displayed greater courage, nor greater determination not to give ground; had they shown less, they would have been driven from their position.

Brigadier-Generals C. R. Woods, Harrow, and Morgan L. Smith, division commanders, are entitled to equal credit for gallant conduct and skill in repelling the assault. My thanks are due to Major-Generals Blair and Dodge for sending me reenforeements at a time when they were much needed. My losses were fifty killed, four hundred and forty- nine wounded, and seventy-three missing: aggregate, five hundred and seventy-two.

The division of General Harrow captured five battle-flags. There were about fifteen hundred or two thousand muskets left on the ground. One hundred and six prisoners were captured, exclusive of seventy-three wounded, who were sent to our hospital, and are being cared for by our surgeons. Five hundred and sixty-five rebels have up to this time been buried, and about two hundred are supposed to be yet unburied. A large number of their wounded were undoubtedly carried away in the night, as the enemy did not withdraw till near daylight. The enemy’s loss could not have been less than six or seven thousand men. A more detailed report will hereafter be made.

I am, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
JOHN A. LOGAN, Major-General, commanding Fifteenth Army Corps

General Howard, in transmitting this report, added:

I wish to express my high gratification with the conduct of the troops engaged. I never saw better conduct in battle. General Logan, though ill and much worn out, was indefatigable, and the success of the day is as much attributable to him as to any one man.

This was, of course, the first fight in which General Howard had commanded the Army of the Tennessee, and he evidently aimed to reconcile General Logan in his disappointment, and to gain the heart of his army, to which he was a stranger. He very properly left General Logan to fight his own corps, but exposed himself freely; and, after the firing had ceased, in the afternoon he walked the lines; the men, as reported to me, gathered about him in the most affectionate way, and he at once gained their respect and confidence. To this fact I at the time attached much importance, for it put me at ease as to the future conduct of that most important army.

At no instant of time did I feel the least uneasiness about the result yesterday, but wanted to reap fuller results, hoping that Davis’s division would come up at the instant of defeat, and catch the enemy in flank; but the woods were dense, the roads obscure, and as usual this division got on the wrong road, and did not come into position until about dark. In like manner, I thought that Hood had greatly weakened his main lines inside of Atlanta, and accordingly sent repeated orders to Schofield and Thomas to make an attempt to break in; but both reported that they found the parapets very strong and full manned.
Our men were unusually encouraged by this day’s work, for they realized that we could compel Hood to come out from behind his fortified lines to attack us at a disadvantage. In conversation with me, the soldiers of the Fifteenth Corps, with whom I was on the most familiar terms, spoke of the affair of the 28th as the easiest thing in the world; that, in fact, it was a common slaughter of the enemy; they pointed out where the rebel lines had been, and how they themselves had fired deliberately, had shot down their antagonists, whose bodies still lay unburied, and marked plainly their lines of battle, which must have halted within easy musket-range of our men, who were partially protected by their improvised line of logs and fence-rails. All bore willing testimony to the courage and spirit of the foe, who, though repeatedly repulsed, came back with increased determination some six or more times.

This morning the Fifteenth Corps wheeled forward to the left over the battle-field of the day before, and Davis’s division still farther prolonged the line, which reached nearly to the Sandtown road.

In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., July 29, 1864.

C/o. JAMES A HARDIE, Inspector-General, Washington, D. C.:

In compliance with your dispatch of the 28th instant, I now send you the names of eight colonels who are recommended by their immediate and superior commanders for promotion, and I earnestly recommend that they be appointed brigadier-generals: Colonel William Grose, Thirty-sixth Indiana; Colonel Charles C. Walcutt, Forty-sixth Ohio; Colonel James W. Reilly, One hundred and fourth Ohio; Colonel L. P. Bradley, Fifty-first Illinois; Colonel J. W. Sprague, Sixty-third Ohio; Colonel Joseph A. Cooper, Sixth East Tennessee; Colonel John T. Croxton, Fourth Kentucky; Colonel William W. Belknap, Fifteenth Iowa. Three of them are from each of the armies of the Cumberland and Tennessee, and two of the Army of the Ohio, and are all at their posts doing good service.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

TH. J. WOOD submitted a report from one of his spies:

Moore, a scout, whom I sent out on the 26th in the forenoon, returned this p. m. and make the following statement: General S. D. Lee arrived about the 25th instant from Mississippi and brought 3,500 troops with him. These were dismounted cavalry, are now used as infantry, and are in the intrenchments. Moore says he went to the depot every time the cars came into Atlanta, and that the trains were loaded with re-enforcements of the Georgia militia. He says many arriving in this way. Moore says he heard Judge Wright and Ridley, citizens, say that there would be enough of the re-enforcements to make a small corps for General Cheatman.

Moore says the rebels acknowledge they were defeated yesterday, and he heard officers talking who said they had lost between 8, 0000 and 9,000. Moore says he heard in Atlanta yesterday afternoon that there had been an engagement yesterday at 11 a. m., between our cavalry, under General Garrard, and the rebel cavalry, under Wheeler, in the direction of Yellow River, but he was not able to learn any of the details.
Moore says that the understanding prevails in the rebel army that Atlanta is to be defended to the last extremity, but that much dissatisfaction prevails among the common soldierly about the removal of General Johnston and the manner in which General Hood has handled the army since taking command of it. The soldierly were dissatisfied with the attacks that Hood has made.

Moore says the supply of forage and subsistence is very short indeed, produced by there being now but one line of railroad. When he was in Atlanta he could get no corn for his horse; hitherto he had got plenty. He says he heard it said that if the rebels were driven out of Atlanta they would try to make their first stand at East Point. Moore says Stewart’s and Lee’s corps made the attack yesterday morning, but were subsequently re-enforced by a part of Hardee’s corps, which had been left in the works. After the fighting ceased a part of the troops were brought back to occupy the intrenchments around the town. Moore says they kept a strong line in their works. Moore says our shells fall into the town and annoy them very much, though they have inflicted no great loss.

General Bragg is still in Atlanta. General Johnston is in Macon. General Loring was wounded in the fight yesterday severely. Moore says he heard officers saying that they would get re-enforcements of militia and constricts to make up for their late losses. Moore brings a paper of this date.

Respectfully submitted, with the newspaper, for the information of the corps and department commanders.

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