HEADQUARTERS THIRD CAVALRY DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Camp Creek, Ga., September 13, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command during the recent campaign, commencing with the advance across Taylor’s Ridge and battle of Resaca, and ending with the defeat of the rebel army and fall of Atlanta:
The command left its encampment at Ringgold, Ga., at 3 a. m., May 7, 1864, crossed Taylor’s Ridge, through Nickajack Trace, forced back the rebel cavalry, covering and masking the movements of the Twentieth Corps, Major-General Hooker commanding, of the Army of the Cumberland, and encamped near Trickum Post-Office May 7, 1864. May 8, 1864, moved to Villanow, and opened communication commanding. Received orders and reported, with my command, to Major-General McPherson, on south side of Stony Face Ridge, at the entrance of Snake Creek Gap. Made reconnaissance, and scouted the country during the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th of May; led the advance of the Army of the Tennessee in the attack on Resaca, drove the enemy’s cavalry and infantry skirmish line back behind his works, masking the movements of our infantry until the force of the enemy was too great to contend with longer, when I was relieved by the infantry, and the command took post, on the evening of May 13, on the right of our army, then in line of battle before Resaca.
I have every reason to believe that the operations of the division from May 7 up to this date gave general satisfaction, and in the spirited engagement with the enemy’s cavalry and infantry before Resaca, may 13, not only individual officers but the entire division won the respect of the grand of invasion. I reluctantly, on the evening of the 13th, resigned the command of the division, and proceed to my home in the East to recover from wounds received during the day. The command devolved on Colonel Murray, and afterward on Colonel Lowe, whose reports will fully set forth the operations of the command during my absence. I returned July 23, and resumed command of my division with my headquarters at Cartersville, with orders to protect and guard the railroad from the Etowah to Tunnel Hill. I found the command greatly improved, and learned that it had been doing good service.
I left Cartersville August 3, 1864, and encamped near Sandtown, on the Chattahoochee. On the 15th crossed the Chattahoochee, took up position on the south side, fortified, and remained in camp until 5 p. m. 15th, when, with Colonel Garrard’s brigade, I crossed Camp creek, tore up portions of the railroad below Sideling, and destroyed the depot at Fairburn containing government stores. On my return scouted the country between Fairburn and the enemy’s position at Sandtown. I left my camp at Sandtown on the evening of the 18th instant with the Third Cavalry Division, and two brigades of the Second and two batteries of artillery, numbering 4,500 men, to attack and destroy the enemy’s communications. Pickets from the Sixth Texas were met and driven across Camp Creek, and the regiment routed from its camp a mile beyond at 10 o’clock in the evening, and at 12.30 a. m. General Ross’ brigade, 1,100 strong, was driven from my front in direction of East Point, and held from the road by the Second Brigade, Third Division (Lieutenant-Colonel Jones), while the entire command passed. The West Point railroad was reached, and a portion of the track destroyed at daylight. Here General Ross attacked my rear. He was repulsed, and I moved on the Fayetteville road, were I again found him in my front. He slowly retired in the direction of Jonesborough, and crossed Flint River at 2 p. m., destroying the bridge. Under cover of my artillery Colonels Minty and Long, commanding detachments from their brigades, crossed the river and drove the enemy from his rifle-pits. The bridge was repaired, and the entire command crossed and occupied Jonesborough at 5 p. m., driving the enemy’s cavalry in confusion from the town. I now learned that the telegraph and railroad had been destroyed at Bear Creel Station at 11 a. m. by a portion of my command, under Lieutenant-Colonel Klein, and that General Armstrong had passed through Jonesborough in that direction at 1 p. m. For six hours my entire command was engaged destroying the road. At 11 o’clock in the evening Colonel Murray’s division was attacked one mile below the town and driven back. I now suspended operations upon the road and attacked the enemy and drove him one mile and a half. Fearing an attack from the direction of Atlanta, I moved before daylight, in direction of Covington, five miles, and halted and allowed the enemy to come up; left one brigade to engage his attention, and moved rapidly in direction of McDonough, six miles, thence across the country to the Fayetteville road, and reached the railroad one mile above Lovejoy’s Station at 11 a. m. on the 20th instant. On attempting to move on the station I encountered a brigade of infantry – was repulsed; I and my command only saved by the prompt and daring [bravery] of Colonels Minty and Long, and Captain Estes, my assistant adjutant-general.
The enemy were finally checked and driven back with heavy loss. We captured 1 battle-flag. At this moment a staff officer from Colonel Murray informed me that a large force of cavalry, with artillery, had attacked his rear. In twenty minutes I found that I was completely enveloped by cavalry and infantry, with artillery. I decided at once to ride over the enemy’s cavalry and retire on the McDonough road. A large number of my people were dismounted, fighting on foot, and it took some time to mount them and form my command for the charge. During the delay the enemy constructed long lines of barricades on every side. Those in front of his cavalry were very formidable. Pioneers were sent in advance of the charging columns to remove obstructions. Colonel Minty, with his command in three columns, charged, broke, and rode over the enemy’s left. Colonel Murray, with his regiments, broke his center, and in a moment General Jackson’s division, 4,000 strong, was running in great confusion. It was the most perfect rout any cavalry has sustained during the war. We captured 4 guns (3 were destroyed and 1 brought off); 3 battle-flags were taken; his ambulances, wagons, and ordnance train captured, and destroyed as far as possible; many prisoners were taken, and his killed and wounded is known to be large. My command was quickly reformed, thrown into position, fought successfully the enemy’s infantry for one hour and forty minutes, and only retired when it was found that we had left only sufficient ammunition to make sure our retreat. We swam Cotton Indian Creek and crossed South River on the morning of the 21st, and reached our lines near Decatur, by way of Lithonia, without molestation, at 2 p. m. August 22. We effectively destroyed four miles of the Macon road, from Jonesborough to Bear Creek Station, a distance of ten miles. One train of cars was fully, and a second partially, destroyed. We brought into camp 1 gun, 3 battle-flags, and a large number of fresh horses and mules and about 50 prisoners. My entire loss in killed, wounded, and missing will not exceed 300 men. Two hundred of this number were killed and wounded. Only the dangerously wounded were left with the enemy.
While it is most difficult to single out instances of gallantry, I cannot close this report without mentioning to the favorable consideration of the major-general commanding, the following named officers whose gallant conduct attracted my attention on so many occasions: Colonel Minty, commanding two brigades from the Second Cavalry Division, for his untiring energy through the march, and the consummate skill displayed at the moment when we were repulsed at Lovejoy’s Station, and the subsequent gallant ride of his command over the enemy’s barricades, deserves immediate promotion. Colonel Long was equally distinguished, and well deserves the promotion he has received. He was twice wounded, and yet remained on the field. Captain Estes, my assistance adjutant-general, and my two aide, Lieutenants Wilson and Northrop, deserve every consideration for the great service rendered me throughout the expedition. Colonel Murray, commanding division, and the brigades of Colonels Jones and King were greatly distinguished at the charge of Lovejoy’s Station. Officers were never more gallant, and skillful; men were never more brave. They well deserve a success so great.
August 25, I moved with my command to Steven’s Cross-Roads, one miles and a half beyond Union Church; went into camp, covering the entire country in the front and the right flank of the Army of the Tennessee, which had made its first day’s march with the grand army in its movement upon the enemy’s communications. At 6 a. m., August 26, the command moved in advance of, and upon the right flank of, the Army of the Tennessee, masking its movements, drove the enemy’s cavalry, under Brigadier-General Ross, to and beyond the railroad, and went into camp, August 27, on the right of the army and near Fairburn. In the movements upon the Macon railroad at Jonesborough my command had the advance, and, with the assistance of two regiments of infantry, the Second and Seventh Iowa Regiments, Majors [Hamill and Mahon] commanding, steadily forced the enemy back to within three miles of Renfroe Place, the cavalry moving on the right flank up to this point. Here the Ninety-second Illinois Mounted Infantry, under the direction of Captain Estes, my assistant adjutant-general, pushed in ahead of the infantry, rushed the enemy back to and across Flint River, saved the bridge, crossed and took possession of the rifle-pits beyond, a brigade of infantry having been thrown across, and pushed up the hill in direction of the station to the left of Jonesborough. I rapidly crossed three regiments of cavalry, moved in, and drove the enemy from the high hills on the right, while Captain Estes, with the Ninety-second Illinois, made a daring but unsuccessful attempt to reach the railroad. This attack, made as night was closing in, and although with considerable loss, yet resulted most favorably to the success of the operations during the night and the following morning. The brigade of infantry having been pushed in well toward the station far on the left of Jonesborough, this determined attack of cavalry, dismounted, a mile to the right, with considerable skirmishing between, forced the enemy to believe that a heavy force of infantry had crossed, and there waited instead of making an attack, which might have proved disastrous. My cavalry was relieved by infantry during the night, recrossed Flint River the following morning, and moved to Anthony’s Bridge, one mile and a half below. The bridge having been burned, was quickly rebuilt, and a portion of the command passed over and was pushed well in upon the enemy’s flank and rear in the direction of the railroad.
During the day a daring and successful attempt was made by captain Qualman (Third Indiana Cavalry), with a portion of the Third Indiana Cavalry, to reach the railroad and telegraphed. A section of the road was torn up and one mile or telegraphed wire was brought away, with the loss of 1 man killed. At 3.30 p. m. of the same day (August 31) the enemy made a determined attack upon the infantry on my left. It seemed to be the intention of the enemy to break or turn our right flank. At first he entirely ignored my command. This I determined he should not do. Five regiments of cavalry, dismounted, were in position behind barricades directly in the flanks of the charging column. My artillery was in a most favorable position. I directed the artillery to commence firing on the advancing column of the enemy, and the cavalry upon the opposite side of the river to meet and attack him. This attack was determined and gallantly made. The enemy was forced to turn and meet it. He moved down in heavy columns, twice charged and was twice repulsed, but finally forced my people to retire from their rail barricades and across the river. A portion of the enemy succeeded in crossing, were met by the Ninety-second Illinois Mounted Infantry dismounted, and repulsed. We held the bridge until relieved by the infantry under General Blair in the afternoon of the following day, when we moved to Galss’ Bridge below Lovejoy’s Station, repaired the bridge, which had been burned by the enemy, crossed, and maintained our position upon the opposite side for two days, constantly annoying the enemy’s flank and rear, repulsing with loss every attack he made, and formed a junction with the right of the infantry of the Army of the Tennessee near Lovejoy’s Station, September 3; we remained in this position until 11 o’clock September 5, and then moved back, first to Anthony’s Bridge, then to Red Oak, and finally to Sandtown, having covered the rear and flank of the Army of the Tennessee in its retrograde movement from Lovejoy’s Station to its present position.
Accompanying this report will be found a tabulated list of the casualties of this command during the campaign, as well as of prisoners and property captured.
Before closing my report, I desire to assure the chief of cavalry that the officers and men of my command have endeavored to zealously and faithfully discharge every duty assigned them, and I only hope that he and those my seniors in rank are as well satisfied with my conduct and operations as I am with the efforts of my command.
Brigadier-General, U. S. Vols., Commanding.
Captain J. E. JACOBS,
List of killed, wounded, and missing in the Third Cavalry Division, Department of the Cumberland, during recent campaign.
Killed. Wounded. Missing.
Command. Officers Men. Officers Men. Officers Men.
First 1 … … 8 … 9
Major J. M.
Second 1 17 5 53 6 113
Third 5 7 … 40 … 13
10th … … … 5 … 2
Total. 7 24 5 106 6 137
Rebels. Property captured.
Command. Killed Wounded Prisoners Horses Mules. Wagons
First 41 140 4 1 85 1
Major J. M.
Second 114 221 168 58 111 230
Third 91 303 120 38 25 …
10th … … … … … …
Total. 246 664 292 97 221 231
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
Captain J. E. JACOBS,
Report of prisoners of war captured and rebel government property captured and destroyed by Third Cavalry Division, Department of the Cumberland, during the campaign of Atlanta.
Prisoners of war captured at different times and various places…………………………………………………220
Captured during the month of July and August:
cannon captured near Lovejoy’s Station……………………. 1
cannon spiked near Lovejoy’s Station……………………… 3
Caissons destroyed near Lovejoy’s Station…………………. 2
Miles Macon and Atlanta Railroad destroyed………………… 3
Miles West Point and Atlanta Railroad destroyed…………….. 1
Battle-field captured near Lovejoy’s Station……………….. 3
Burned and destroyed near Griffin:
Burned and destroyed at Jonesborough:
Burned at Jonesborough:
Government wagons destroyed at different places……………..41
Ambulances destroyed near Lovejoy’s Station………………… 5
Ambulances captured near Lovejoy’s Station…………………. 1
water-tanks destroyed at Jonesborough……………………… 1
Rebel deserters reported to Third Cavalry Division and turned
over by same…………………………………………….75
I certify the above report is correct.
W. H. DAY,
Captain and Provost-Marshal.