Camp near Jonesborough, Ga., September 4, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this division in the campaign just terminated by the fall of Atlanta:
About the middle of April my division was very much scattered over the department, and, with the view of reorganization, was ordered to Columbia, Tenn. Before, however, Long’s brigade was mounted, I was ordered to join the army before Dalton on the 30th April, with Wilder’s and Minty’s brigades and the Chicago Board of Trade Battery (six guns, First Lieutenant Robinson commanding), I left Columbia, and, at Bridgeport taking the route over Sand and Lookout Mountains, through La Fayette, joined the army at Villanow on the 10th of May.
On the 15th of May I was ordered to make a reconnaissance toward Rome, and, if possible, cross the Oostanaula River. At Farmer’s Bridge the pickets of the enemy were encountered, and Minty’s brigade was ordered to drive them in, which he did, and pursued the enemy to within sight of Rome, where he developed a force too large to engage. In the mean time, an examination of the Oostanaula River proved that a crossing was impracticable, as there were neither fords nor bridges between Rome and Resaca. On the 16th the division crossed the river at Lay’s Ferry, and took position on the right of the army. On the 18th, under the orders of General Sherman, the railroad between Rome and Kingston was broken, and the telegraph wire between Kingston and Adairsville was cut. Both of these duties was assigned and performed by Wilder’s brigade. When near Kingston, and before the position of our army was known, Minty’s brigade furnished a force to discover what was in Kingston. The Fourth Michigan Cavalry dashed into that town, and discovered that it was held only by the enemy’s cavalry. On the 19th the division secured and held the road bridge on which the Army of the Cumberland crossed the Etowah River. From this point the division moved, with the Army of the Tennessee, toward Dallas, and six miles in advance of that army it moved directly on Dallas, engaging Bate’s brigade [division?] of infantry and some cavalry, ascertaining that Hardee’s corps was marching for Dallas, and held the line of Pumpkin Vine Creek till the arrival of the Fifteenth Army Corps the next day. On the 27th Minty’s brigade, with two regiments of Wilder’s, passed around the left flank of the enemy, and attacked him in rear with both artillery and musketry, and rendered much service to the Army of the Tennessee, which was acknowledged by Major-General McPherson in a written communication.
On the 1st of June, when the Army of the Tennessee withdrew from Dallas, the division with the cavalry of General Stoneman, secured Allatoona Pass. On the 6th Colonel Long, with his brigade, joined the division, via Decatur and Rome, and en route met, engaged, defeated, and pursued Roddey. On the 9th General Sherman ordered me to make a reconnaissance in front of Big Shanty, and find if the line of the enemy crossed the railroad. Taking Minty’s and Wilder’s brigades and two sections of artillery, I proceeded beyond Acworth, and met the enemy just outside of the infantry pickets. The enemy was driven from two lines of rail breast-works near big Shanty, and a line of log works in the woods beyond, and the reconnaissance was pushed until, from dead and wounded, it was positively ascertained that the line of the enemy crossed the railroad. Prisoners reported that we engaged and drove three brigades of cavalry and one of infantry. One brigade of the Fifteenth Army Corps was in rear of my command to support it, but was not engaged. On the 10th my division took post on the old Alabama road near where it crosses Noonday Creek, and until the enemy abandoned his works on Kenesaw Mountain remained on the left, conforming to the advance of the army, and guarding the left flank. My orders were to protect that flank and keep the cavalry of the enemy so engaged that he could not detach any large force to intercept our communications. This was effectually accomplished, but not without much exertion and activity, resulting in six engagements with Wheeler’s force, namely, on the 11th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 23d, and 27th of June. The enemy had in every instance the advantage of position, and, as far as I could learn, a superior force.
On the 3rd of July, when the army advanced through Marietta, the division advanced down the Pace’s Ferry road in pursuit of the enemy, and on the 4th was sharply engaged on the left of the Fourth Army Corps. On the 5th the division moved to Roswell, and on the 6th destroyed the immense factory at that place. On the 9th, in the presence of the enemy, the river was crossed, a foothold gained on the south bank, and the important ford at Roswell secured for our army. On the 18th the railroad near Stone Mountain was broken, and on the 19th two brigades were driven from Stone Mountain, the depot burnt, and a set of colors captured. On the 22nd the railroad, fifty miles east of Atlanta, was cut, and other damage done, exceeding the orders of the commanding general, and achieving a far greater success than was hoped for. On the 27th the division was placed under General Stoneman, who ordered it to Flat Rock, and abandoned it to its fate. After being surrounded by a superior force for over twelve hours, and contending against every disadvantage, in hopes of benefiting General Stoneman in his attempt to destroy the railroad, it extricated itself from its perilous situation. On the 20th two brigades. Minty’s and Long’s, were placed under General Kilpatrick, and acted under him on his raid Jonesborough. During the recent movement the division had had the responsibility of protecting the rear and of concealing our plans from the enemy.
The above enumeration of occasions on which the division has been prominently employed has been made to give an idea of its service during the campaign, but in addition much has been done by small detachments, and much labor performed in picketing, patrolling, and for the purpose of gaining information; and it is no small degree of satisfaction that I am able to assert that all the information I have given has proved to be correct.
From the commencement to the end of the campaign this division has been in the front, and has during the whole time had intrusted to it duties of the highest trust and responsibility. It gives me much pleasure to report that every order it has received has been fully and well executed, and that no accident whatever has occurred, nor has any capture been made on the flank or in the rear where the division has been assigned to duty.
The division, though reduced in numbers by the length and severity of the campaign, is still, as an organization, in an effective condition. This, in connection with the good service it has rendered, speaks in highest terms of the soldierly qualities of both my officers and men. All throughout the campaign have manifested an earnest and zealous spirit in the performance of duty, and have always with the greatest cheerfulness undertaken any task assigned them. In general terms I cannot say too much in their praise, but I wish especially to mention and recommend for promotion for their efficiency and their cordial support of the division commander upon all occasions the following-named officers: Colonel Abram O. Miller, Seventy-second Indiana Volunteers, commanding Third Brigade; Colonel Eli Long, Fourth Ohio Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade; Lieutenant Col. Jonathan Biggs, One hundred and twenty-third Illinois Volunteers; First Lieutenant George I. Robinson, commanding Chicago Board of Trade Battery, and Captain James B. McIntyre, Fourth U. S. Cavalry.
To the members of the division staff I am under many obligations for their uniting industry, cheerfulness, exertion for the welfare of the command, and for the intelligent and soldierly manner in which they have discharged their arduous duties. Captain R. P. Kennedy, assistant adjutant-general; Major D. D. Marquis, Ninety-eighth Illinois Volunteers, division inspector; First Lieutenant E. Comstock, One hundred and forty-sixth New York Volunteers, aide-de-camp, and Major C. W. Skinner, Third Ohio Cavalry, topographical engineer, have been with me on all occasions, and their services have in a great degree contributed to the success of the division. Please find a list of casualties annexed.* The division has captured during the campaign, and delivered over to the provost-marshal’s department, 579 prisoners of war. The reports for the brigade commanders have been forwarded from time to time.
Brigadier General Kenner Garrard,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Brigadier General W. L. ELLIOTT,
Chief of Cavalry, Dept. of the Cumberland.