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Series 1 Volume XXXVIII; Part 3

Official Report Number 649

Report of Col. Williams F. BR, Twenty-ninth Mississippi Infantry, commanding Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Mississippi Infantry, of operations May 7- 20.
Headquarters Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Mississippi Regiments,
In the field, May 30, 1864

Captain: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the command in the different actions that have occurred, commencing at Dalton, GA., May 7, ending May 20, 1864:

On the morning of the 7th instant I was ordered to place my command in position on the ridge on the left of Alt’s Gap and to the right of Potato Hill, facing east, which was Alt’s Gap. The command remained in this position during the balance of the day and night, and until 2 O'clock on the evening of the eighth, when the brigade was ordered to move, right in front, to the left of my original position through the gap dividing Potato Hill in the ridge through which Alt’s Gap is, to a church in front of record their Brigadier-General Brown's position, of Major-General Stevenson’s division, and there to await orders. I remained in this position about two hours, when, information being received the enemy was advancing down the Cleveland railroad in heavy force, and would soon reach the front of my original position, dispositions were immediately made to meet them by placing my brigade again on the ridge to the left of Alt’s Gap. The enemy advanced a heavy line of skirmishers, passing to my left, but did not engage my pickets; nor was my command engaged until the evening of the 9th.

At 1 o’clock on the morning of the 10th I received orders from the Brigadier-General Walthall to put my command under arms and be ready to move at a moment’s notice. At 2.30 o’clock I was ordered to move by the right flank, following the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-seventh Mississippi in the direction of Dalton and Resaca, and at about 6 a.m. passed through Dalton, taking the Resaca road, which we traveled for about seven or eight miles, to where the Sugar Valley Road intersects the Resaca road, where we halted. After remaining at this position about two hours I received orders from Brigadier-General Walthall to move my command, with the balance of the brigade, to the Western and Atlantic Railroad, and there take the cars for Dalton, which order was obeyed. And at 7 o’clock in the evening of the same day I placed my command at Alt’s Gap

At 2 o’clock in the morning of the 11th, I received orders to move, with the balance of the brigade, through Alt’s Gap to the position originally occupied by Brigadier-General Brown, but at the same time occupied by Brigadier-General Govan’s brigade of Major-General Cleburne’s division. Our brigade relieved Brigadier-General Govan’s brigade, taking positions on the right of Stevenson’s division and facing north, in which position will remain until about 3 o’clock, attracting no attention from the enemy further than receiving a few shells from his artillery, posted to our left on the ridge called Rocky Face. That evening we move to Dalton and bivouacked there for the night.


At 5 o'clock the morning of the 12th we received orders to move with the brigade up the railroad leading from Dalton to Cleveland, which order was obeyed. It 12 m. that day we formed a line of battle about 8 miles from Dalton, facing north. A sharp cavalry skirmish occurred in our front, which resulted in the enemy being driven off. We were then ordered to return to Dalton and bivouac at about one mile from where we camped the previous night.

At 1 o'clock on the morning of the 13th we received orders to move with the brigade in the direction of Resaca, about nine miles, forming line of battle running parallel with the road, facing west, where we are rested during the night.

On the morning of the 14th we moved to the left about a mile, and about half a mile in advance of the positions we previously occupied, where we formed a line of battle facing to the west, the left of my regiment connected with the right of Brigadier-General Lewis’ brigade, Bates division, the right reaching the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-seventh Mississippi, the regiment covering a ridge in supporting Hotchkiss battalion of artillery. The ridge made an obtuse angle, in front of which the enemy held strong position, controlling our line with their artillery, which consisted of three batteries -- one to the southwest, strongly posted on a hill, controlling enfilading the right of my regiment; one to the northwest, which easily controlled the position occupied by the left of my command, and one in front, not more than 1,000 yards, which played upon the front of my breast-works, frequently tearing the works so much as to cause me to reconstruct them. The battery to the southwest, which did the most damage to my line, was in such a position that he could not be replied to by our batteries, and its fire was directed with such accuracy as to prevent us from silencing the battery in our front. Frequently during the day the enemy attempted to fire by battery on our position, when the interval between the firing was sufficient to count the number of pieces used, it was ascertained to be about eight guns to the battery, making twenty-four guns playing on the position occupied by the brigade. During this mode of firing the enemies set my works, composed of rail and earth, on fire, and came near destroying the portion of the works occupied by the right of my regiment. We took our position in line about 8 o'clock on the morning of the 14th. About 11 o'clock the enemies skirmishers were seen approaching, and were met and successfully checked by our skirmishers, and very soon he was seen to be advancing in three lines; and after some little hesitation in a skirt of woods in front of our position he attempted to charge our lines, and approached so near to my position as to get under our artillery and the destroy the effect of the fire upon it, when, under the immediate eye of General Whitehall, I ordered my regiment to charge the enemy, which was done, dislodging and scattering him with considerable loss, when the artillery opened upon his confused and retreating columns, inflicting severe lose upon him. My object having been accomplished, I was ordered to reoccupy my original position in order that the artillery might be used more effectively upon the retreating columns of the enemy. This attempt was repeated three times, in the last time the enemy hastily retreated upon the appearance of our infantry. After being thus repulsed they advanced a heavy line of skirmishers and kept up a constant fire until night close to the engagement.


During the day I lost in killed 12 men and wounded 50 men.

About daylight on the 15th again opened on us from a position they had gained during the night, and fortified and kept up a heavy fire of musketry during the entire day. The artillery firing during the day was the heaviest that I have known during the war.

During the engagement on the first day Lieut. Col. J. M. Johnson, Thirtieth Mississippi, was slightly wounded in the head and side, and Capt. R. W. Williamson, Twenty-ninth Mississippi, severely wounded; also on the second day Maj. J.K. Allen was severely wounded in the face, which caused me to lose the services of these officers during a part of the engagement.

On the second day my losses were 4 killed and 8 wounded, making in all during the engagement 16 killed and 58 wounded.

During this engagement too much cannot be said for the men and officers of the Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Mississippi regiments. All behaved well and as their conduct came under the immediate eye the brigadier-general. commanding, I leave for him to say how they performed their part; but to adjutant Powell I feel that my personal thanks are due for the prompt and gallant manner in which he executed my orders and performed every duty.

On the night of the 15th, at 10.15 o'clock, I was ordered to move from my position with the brigade across the Oostenaula, which was accomplished, and at daylight the next morning we were resting about three miles south of Resaca, and after remaining there about two hours ordered by easy march to Calhoun, and on the morning of 17th the march was continued to Adairsville.

On the morning of the 18th we continued our march to Cassville, and on the evening of the 19th we formed a line of battle at Cassville, facing northwest, where we threw up breast works. Toward evening the enemy made his appearance and commenced a most furious artillery fire upon our position, during which we lost 1 man killed and 3 wounded.

About 1 o'clock that night I received orders to move, and about 2 o'clock on the evening of the 20th of May my command crossed the Etowah.

I submit the list of casualties, marked A.* I would further state that during the whole march the best spirits prevailed in my command. There was no instance of straggling among the men.

On the morning of May 8 the division provost guard, commanded by Lieut. J. R. Porter, Twenty-ninth Mississippi, was assigned to duty with my regiment.

Both officers and men behaved with great coolness and bravery during the engagement at Resaca, and with becoming spirits during the march from Dalton until he was relieved, about the 24th of May.

I forward the list of casualties, appended to this report of my regiment.

I am, Captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. F. Brantly
Colonel, Commanding.
Capt. E. T. Sykes,
 Assistant Adjutant-General .
* Not found but see brigade table, p 798


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 804-806
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