HDQRS. CHIEF OF CAVALRY, DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Atlanta, Ga., September 13, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the cavalry during the recent campaign from Chattanooga, resulting in the capture of Atlanta, Ga.:
After the battle of Chickamauga and pursuit of Wheeler and Roddey, in their attacks upon our trains and lines of communication in the months of September and October, and the battle of Mission Ridge, in November, 1863, the cavalry of the department, consisting of two divisions and unassigned regiments of cavalry and mounted infantry, was very much scattered and reduced in effective mounted force.
The First and Second Brigades of the First Division were actively engaged during the months of December, 1863, January and February, 1864, in East Tennessee, men and horses exposed to cold, with but little shelter and subsistence. The Third Brigade, First Division, occupied Rossville, Ga., as an outpost. The Second Division occupied a line from Washington, on the Tennessee River, to Mooresville, Ala.; also Calhoun, on East Tennessee railroad. The Fourth U. S. Cavalry and Seventy-second Indiana Mounted Infantry detached to Mississippi, under the command of Brigadier General W. S. Smith, U. S. Volunteers. Many of the regiments and detachments of regiments, re-enlisted as veteran volunteers, went to their homes, which caused delay in concentrating, mounting, arming and equipping them for the commencement of the recent campaign.
On the 1st of April the cavalry and mounted infantry of the department was reorganized, consisting of four divisions, of three brigades each, and one battery to a division, the divisions commanded, respectively, by Brigadier General E. M. McCook, Brigadier General K. Garrard, Brigadier General J. Kilpatrick, and Brigadier General A. C. Gillem, with the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Colonel W. J. Palmer, unassigned. This organization required regiments to be moved before others could be withdrawn from stations occupied.
The First and Second Brigades, First Division, were concentrated at Cleveland, Tenn.; the Third Brigade, but partially mounted, at Wauhatchie; the Second Division at Columbia, Tenn.; the Third Division at Ringgold, Ga., and the Fourth Division, but partially mounted, occupied the line of the railroad from Nashville, Tenn., to Decatur and Bridgeport, Ala.
The First Division marched from Cleveland, Tenn., for Dalton, Ga., covering the front and left flank of the Fourth Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and afterward that of the Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio, near Varnell’s Station, until relieved by Major-General Stoneman’s cavalry. On the 11th of May the division marched to Ray’s Gap, west of Dalton, and on the evacuation of that place marched with the Fourth Corps upon Resaca. The First and Third Brigades, Second Division, marched from Columbia, Tenn., for La Fayette and Villanow, Ga., under orders from the major-general commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi, and to the right and rear of the Army of the Tennessee. The general direction of its march, also the details of the same, I am unable to give, not having the orders received by General Garrard. The Second Brigade, Second Division, marched with Seventeenth Army Corps from Pulaski, Tenn., and Decatur, Ala., via Rome, Ga., joining the armies at Allatoona, Ga. The Third Division marched from Ringgold, Ga., covering the front and right flank of the Twentieth Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and afterward that of the Army of the Tennessee, on its march through Snake Creek Gap upon Resaca, Ga., covering its right flank by detachments and pickets along the right bank of the Oostanaula River, until the rebel army evacuated Dalton and concentrated at Resaca.
After the battle, which resulted in the retreat of the enemy from Resaca, the First Division crossed the Oostanaula at Free Bridge, marched to Cassville, Ga., covering the front and left flank of the Twentieth Corps. The Second Division crossed the Oostanaula at Lay’s Ferry, for Rome, Ga., to strike the railroad between there and Kingston, Ga., marching on the right flank of the Army of the Tennessee. The Third Division crossed the Oostanaula at Lay’s Ferry, covering the front of the Army of the Tennessee and keeping up communications with the Army of the Cumberland on the left.
After the battle near Cassville, which resulted in the retreat of the enemy across the Etowah River to Allatoona, Ga., the First and Third Divisions were concentrated on Two-Run Creek, near Cassville, Ga., until the dispositions were made for pursuit.
The First Division, crossed the Etowah at Island Ford, marched via Euharlee to Stilesborough as the advance of the Army of the Cumberland, thence to Burnt Hickory and Burnt Church, on the Marietta road, near its intersection with the Acworth and Dallas road, covering the left flank of the Twenty-third Corps. The Second Division crossed the Etowah at Gillem’s Bridge, marching via Van Wert to Dallas, Ga., and covering the front and right flank of the Army of the Tennessee.
The Third Division, under the command of Colonel W. W. Lowe, General Kilpatrick being absent wounded, was left at Kingston to guard the line of the Etowah River, with orders to obstruct all fords, hold Gillem’s Bridge, but remove the planks from flooring to prevent its use by the enemy, and destroy all other bridges which could possibly be used by them. The division was subsequently assigned to stations as follows: Third Brigade at Calhoun, Ga., headquarters with remainder of division at Cartersville, Ga., with orders to patrol the line of railroad and scout from Cartersville to Spring Place, Ga.
The Second Division marched, via Burnt Hickory and near Stilesborough, on south side of Etowah River, to Allatoona, and this movement of the cavalry, in conjunction with that of Major-General Stoneman’s cavalry of the Army of the Ohio, for Allatoona direct, contributed to cause the retreat of the enemy from Dallas and New Hope Church to Kenesaw Mountain.
The First Division was posted on the right of the Twenty-third Corps, and near Lost Mountain, which was the extreme right of the armies. The Second Division was posted on the left of the Army of the Tennessee, the extreme left of the armies.
On the retreat of the enemy from Kenesaw to the Chattahoochee, the First Division marched via Powder Springs to Rottenwood Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee, and on west side, to co-operate, if necessary, with the Second Division, posted at Roswell, Ga.
On the retreat of the enemy to east side of the Chattahoochee and Peach Tree Creek, the First Division was posted from Vining’s Station to Turner’s Ferry. The Second Division forced and held the crossing of the Chattahoochee at Roswell, covering the front and left flank of the Army of the Tennessee, breaking the Georgia railroad near Stone Mountain, and, on the 22d, making a successful raid upon that railroad by destroying two bridges and five wagon-road bridges, the track, a number of cars, a quantity of stores, capturing a number of horses and prisoners, and returning with the loss of only 2 men; it also marched as a support to Major-General Stoneman, commanding cavalry of the Army of the Ohio, on a raid on the Atlanta and Macon Railroad. After waiting two days at Flat Rock, by the orders of General Stoneman, and in the absence of further instructions, the Second Division returned to its camp, after engaging two divisions of the enemy’s cavalry.
After the battle of the 20th July, and the retreat of the enemy upon Atlanta, the First Division crossed the Chattahoochee, and was posted on Proctor’s Creek, covering by pickets the Mason and Turner’s Ferry road. The Second Division was posted on left and rear of Army of the Tennessee, picketing the roads from Decatur to Roswell.
On the 27th July the effective force of the First Division, with the effective force of the Fifth Iowa, Eighth Indiana, Second Kentucky Cavalry, of the Third Division, and Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, of the Fourth Division, forming the greater part of the command which had recently arrived from the raid on the West Point and Montgomery Railroad, under command of Major-General Rousseau, made a raid on the Atlanta and West Point and Atlanta and Macon Railroads, destroying large numbers of wagons, stores, and cars, with partial damage to the railroad track. This force encountered a greatly superior force of the enemy, and, after severe fighting, returned, with considerable loss of men, horses, and arms, and 2 pieces of artillery reported destroyed, inflicting, however, considerable damage upon the enemy.
The First Division was ordered to occupy the station of the Third Division, and the latter, under command of General Kilpatrick, ordered from the District of the Etowah to west side of Chattahoochee, from Turner’s Ferry to Sweet Water Creek, and afterward posted at Sandtown, picketing to Camp Creek. A reconnaissance was made by the Third Division to Fairburn, on the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, developing only a small force of the enemy’s cavalry, not disposed to offer much resistance. After destroying a portion of the track, some public buildings and stores, the command return to its camp with but little loss.
On the 18th of August the Third Division, with First and Second Brigades of Second Division, commanded respectively, by Colonel Minty and Brigadier-General Long, with two sections of the battery attached to the division, made an attack on the Atlanta and West Point Railroad at or near Fairburn, to the Macon road at Jonesborough and Lovejoy’s Station. A detachment of the command, under Lieutenant-Colonel Klein, struck the road at or near Bear Creek Station. The enemy concentrated a superior force of cavalry, with infantry and artillery, which prevented the deliberate destruction of the railroad. After severe fighting, in which there is reason to believe the enemy suffered severely, the command returned to the army via McDonough, White House, Latimar’s, and Decatur, making a complete circuit of the rebel army. On 24th of August Third Brigade, Second Division, destroyed portion of railroad between Decatur and Stone Mountain. On the 25th day of August, in the movement of the armies upon the Atlanta and Macon Railroad at Jonesborough, Ga., the Second Division covered the withdrawal of the Fourth Corps, and also that of the Twentieth Corps, in the movement of the latter to the railroad bridge across the Chattahoochee River, leaving one brigade to cover the front of the Twentieth Corps from Pace’s Ferry, on the Chattahoochee, to Sandtown. The other two brigades covered the rear and left flank of the Twenty-third Corps, conforming to its movements. The Third Division, leaving its dismounted men to hold the bridges over the Chattahoochee at Sandtown, and support the Eighteenth Indiana Battery, of the First Division, but temporarily assigned to duty with the command occupying Sandtown, covered the front and right flank of the Army of the Tennessee to Fairburn and down Flint River to Glass’ Bridge, on road to Lovejoy’s Station.
The entire cavalry command, during the winter of 1863 and 1864, has performed service in a country affording but a limited supply of forage, particularly long forage; for the want of this, and on account of the lateness of the season for grazing, the animals suffered. During the time the army depended for its supplies on its wagon transportation, the cavalry did not have transportation sufficient to haul its forage, and had to depend on the country, affording at that time corn of short growth and green wheat, the latter preventing starvation, but rather weakening than strengthening the animals. In withdrawing the armies from Lovejoy’s Station to Atlanta the Second Division covered the rear and right flank of the Twenty-third Corps; the Third Division the rear and left flank of the Army of the Tennessee. On account of their absence on duty, from wounds, or as prisoners of war, for the details of the operations of the several regiments, brigades, batteries, and divisions, as also of individual services, I refer to the reports of the several commanders heretofore briefly stated, and others to be forwarded when received.
The Third Brigade, First Division, Colonel L. D. Watkins, Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, but partially mounted on horses from a convalescent camp established near Chattanooga, and occupying La Fayette, Ga., was attacked by a largely superior force under the rebel General Gideon J. Pillow and handsomely repulsed, with great loss to the rebels in killed, wounded, and prisoners. General (then Colonel) Croxton’s Fourth Kentucky Mounted Infantry’s timely arrival contributed much to the retreat of Pillow.
In closing this report, I can say with pride that the cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland has performed its duty cheerfully, executing every order given by or through me, skirmishing almost daily, and in many instances the skirmishes assuming the proportions of a sharp fight.
The services rendered by Colonel O. H. La Grange, First Wisconsin Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade; and Colonel L. D. Watkins, Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, commanding Third Brigade, First Division; Colonel A. O. Miller, Seventy-second Indiana Mounted Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, Second Division, entitle them to promotion by brevet or otherwise. Captain J. B. McIntyre, commanding Fourth U. S. Cavalry, is worthy of promotion, and I recommend that he be appointed a brigadier-general, being a cavalry officer of several years’ service. My personal staff, and that of the cavalry command, have promptly performed the various duties assigned them.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. ELLIOTT,
Brigadier General and Chief of Cavalry, Dept. of the Cumberland.
Brigadier General W. D. WHIPPLE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of the Cumberland
From Brigadier General W. L. Elliott to Brigadier General William D. Whipple – September 13, 1864
HDQRS. CHIEF OF CAVALRY, DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,