NEAR ATLANTA, GA., July 23, 1864-10.30 a. m.
(Received 6 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:
Yesterday morning the enemy fell back to the entrenchments proper of the city of Atlanta, which are in a general circle of a radius of one mile and a half we closed in. While we were forming our lines and selecting positions for batteries, the enemy appeared suddenly out of the dense woods in heavy masses on our extreme left, and struck the Seventeenth Corps (General Blair’s) in flank, and was forcing it back, when the Sixteenth (General Dodge’s) came up and checked the movement, but the enemy’s cavalry got well to our rear and into Decatur, and for some hours our left was completely enveloped. The fighting that resulted was continuous until night, with heavy loss on both sides. The enemy took one of our batteries (Murray’s, of the Regular Army) that was marching in its placing in column on the road unconscious of danger. About 4 p. m. the enemy sallied against the division of General Morgan L. Smith, which occupied an abandoned line of rifle-trenches near the railroad, east of the city, and forced it back some 400 yards, leaving in his hands for the time two batteries, but the ground and batteries were immediately after recovered by the same troops, re-enforced. I cannot well approximate our loss, which fell heaviest on the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps, but count it 3,000; but I know that, being on the defensive, we have inflicted equally heavy loss on the enemy. General McPherson, when arranging his troops, about 11 a. m., and passing from one column to another, unconsciously rode upon an ambuscade without cannon-range of Atlanta. The enemy seems to man his extensive parapets and, at the same time, has to spare heavy assaulting columns; but to-day we will intrench our front lines, which will give me troops to spare to meet these assault. I cannot of the loss of more than a few wagons, taken by the enemy’s cavalry his temporary pause in Decatur, whence all the trains had been securely removed to the rear of the main army, under of a brigade of infantry, commanded by Colonel Sprague. During the heavy attack on the left, the remainder of the line was not engaged.