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Series 1 Volume XXXVIII; Part 3

Official Report Number 616



 
 
616
Reports of Brig. Gen. James A. Smith, U. S. Army, commanding brigade, of operations July 21 and 22.
 
MACON, GA.,
August 5, 1864
 
Capt. I. A. BUCK,
Assistant Adjutant-General:
 

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith my reports of the actions of the 21st and 22d ultimo near Atlanta, Ga.; also, I inclose the reports of regimental commanders, which are rather meager and indefinite. They would have been returned for correction but for the delay it would have occasioned in making out my own reports.


 
J. A. SMITH,
Brigadier-General.
 
 
MACON, GA., August 5, 1864.
 

 

I have the honor to report as follows concerning the part taken by my brigade in the action on 21st of July, 1864, near Atlanta, Ga.: The brigade was moved into position on the extreme right of the army, about a mile south of the Atlanta and Augusta Railroad, at daylight, relieving some cavalry who occupied the position previous to the arrival of my brigade. I immediately proceeded to construct such works for protection as the limited means at my disposal would permit. Owing, however, to the position being much exposed and the close proximity of the enemy, who occupied a strongly intrenched position, our progress was slow. About 7 O´clock he opened a battery on my left, about 800 yards distant, which swept my line from left to right, committing dreadful havoc in the ranks. I have never before witnessed such accurate and destructive cannonading. In a few minutes 40 men were killed and over 100 wounded by this battery alone. In the Eighteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment (dismounted) 17 of the 18 men composing one company were placed hors de combat by one shot alone. When the cannonading ceased the enemy´s infantry moved on our front in heavy force, and succeeded in driving the cavalry on my right in confusion from its position, thereby causing the right regiment of my brigade to give way. This regiment, the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Texas Cavalry (dismounted), was soon rallied and in turn drove back the enemy with heavy loss, regaining its position in the line.


During the fearful cannonading on our flank and rear both officers and men demeaned themselves with marked coolness and courage. Not a man left his post, but quietly awaited the coining charge, which was repulsed with heavy loss, the enemy leaving a number of his killed and wounded in our hands.


The loss of the brigade in this affair was 47 killed, 120 wounded, and 19 captured. Among the wounded were Lieutenant-Colonel Neyland, commanding the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Texas Cavalry (dismounted); Captain Fisher, commanding the Sixth and Fifteenth Texas Regiments, and Captain Houston, who succeeded him in the command of the regiment. Among the killed was Captain Bennett, of the Tenth Texas Regiment, a most gallant and meritorious officer


.

 

J. A. SMITH,
Brigadier-General.
 
Capt. I. A. BUCK,
Assistant Adjutant- General, Cleburne´s Division.
 
 
MACON, GA., August 5, 1864.
 

 

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the action near Atlanta, Ga., on the 22d of July, 1864:


Owing to the long march the night before and the heavy fire it had been subjected to throughout the previous day, the brigade was much worn and exhausted when it went into action. After advancing in line for about a mile and a half through an almost impenetrable thicket of undergrowth, we struck the enemy, who, after a feeble resistance of a few minutes, fled in great confusion, abandoning his artillery, ordnance, and tool wagons and ambulances. Man prisoners were captured at this point, among them Colonel Scott, commanding a brigade in my front. Owing to the rapidity of the pursuit, the ungovernable enthusiasm of the men, and an almost impassable morass through which the brigade passed, it became much lengthened and thereby weakened, presenting a front scarcely more formdable than that of a strong skirmish line. The pursuit was, however, continued with great spirit and vigor until we had carried three lines of their temporary works, when we came upon them in heavy force and strongly intrenched in an open field. Finding that my brigade was far in advance of the troops on my right and left and that the position was insecure, I dispatched an officer to communicate the same to the major-general commanding, with the request that re-enforcements be sent forward. In the mean time, the enemy opening a cross-fire on us, I soon found the position untenable, and ordered the brigade to fall back a short distance. A portion of the command either did not receive the order, or failed to comply with it, and under the direction of Maj. R. J. Person, of the Fifth Confederate Regiment, surrendered to the enemy. This was after I was wounded and forced to leave the field.


Up to this time both officers and men of the brigade bore themselves in the most creditable manner. Two stand of colors were captured by the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Texas Cavalry (dismounted), 15 pieces of artillery, many of them with horses and harness complete, caissons, ordnance, and tool wagons and ambulances.


Owing to the fact that every regimental commander in the brigade but one was either killed, wounded, or captured, and the commands devolving on inexperienced officers, their reports are meager and imperfect. The list of casualties is, therefore, only approximate, and is as follows: Killed, 23; wounded, 100; captured and missing, 75. Among the killed was the cool and intrepid Capt. William M. Allison, of the Eighteenth Texas Regiment, commanding the skirmish line. Among the severely wounded was Col. R. Q. Mills, Tenth Texas Regiment, a worthy and efficient officer. The command of the brigade then devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Young, of the Tenth Texas Regiment.


To Lieut. S. G. Sneed, acting assistant adjutant-general; Capt. J. L. Leonard, acting assistant inspector-general, and Lieuts. William H. Hardy and W. P. Wilson, aides-de-camp (the latter of whom lost his right arm), of my staff, for their zeal and activity displayed on the field, much credit is due.


 

J. A. SMITH,
Brigadier-General.
 
Capt. I. A. BUCK,
Assistant Adjutant- General, Cleburne´s Division.

 

 
ADDENDA.
    Report of casualties in Smiths brigade in the action of July 22, 1864.    
 

 

  Killed ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 19
  Wounded ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 107
  Missing ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 25
  Captured ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 160
    
  Total •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 311
 

 


 

 
Title: The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.
Series 1Volume XXXVIII; Part 3 - Reports; Page 746-748
Chapter:L - The Atlanta, Ga., Campaign. May 1-September 8, 1864.
Author: United States. War Dept., John Sheldon Moody, Calvin Duvall Cowles, Frederick Caryton Ainsworth, Robert N. Scott, Henry Martyn Lazelle, George Breckenridge Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph William Kirkley
Published: Washington: Government Printing Office
Date: 1891