Report of Colonel Beroth B. Eggleston, First Ohio Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, SECOND CAVALRY DIV., DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Blake’s Mill, Ga., September 11, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward the following report of the operations of this command during the past campaign.
The brigade being stationed at Columbia, Tenn., marched from that place May 22, Colonel Eli Long commanding at that time and during most of the subsequent operations, but now absent from the command in consequence of wounds received. Arriving at Decatur, Ala., on the 26th, the brigade commanders reported to Major-General Blair, commanding Seventeenth Corps, and on same day a force under the rebel General Roddey was encountered and driven several miles when it was completely routed, with a loss of 12 prisoners and two stand of colors, besides, wagons, horses, mules, arms, &c.
On the following day Roddey’s entire force was met near Courtland and driven through the town. While in camp at Moulton, Ala., on the 29th we were attacked at daylight by General Roddey with cavalry and artillery. After a severe engagement, the enemy was repulsed and driven in great disorder, his dead, 15 in number, and part of his wounded left on the field. Sixteen prisoners were taken, including 3 officers. Our casualties, 3 killed and 14 wounded. Marched forty miles same day and rejoined the Seventeenth Corps, remaining with this command until arrival at Kingston, Ga., on the 6th June. During the march we crossed Raccoon, Sand, and Lookout Mountains, our animals suffering severely for want of forage. Near Rome, Ga., a lieutenant-colonel and 16 rebel soldiers were surprised and captured. From Kingston we proceeded to Etowah bridge, thence toward Marietta. June 11, First Ohio, Colonel B. B. Eggleston, while on reconnaissance near Marietta, met a force of rebels and drove them several miles. The Third Ohio, Colonel C . B. Seidel, was sent toward Noonday Creek, found the enemy in superior force, and was obliged to fall back with a loss of 12 wounded and 2 missing. The enemy, Iverson’s brigade of cavalry, had several wounded, and 1 prisoner was taken.
We now had continuous skirmishing for several days, and on the 15th attacked Wheeler’s cavalry, but found him strongly intrenched and were obliged to fall back with a loss of 2 killed, 16 wounded, and 2 missing. Rebel loss not ascertained. Remained in camp near Kenesaw Mountain until the 19th, when the command moved again and drove the enemy across Noonday Creek. A junction was then made with Third Brigade, Second Division, and, the enemy making a stand, and engagement ensued, lasting several hours, without decisive result. Crossed Noonday Creek on the 23d, and the enemy at once attacked us, but was handsomely repulsed and driven back with loss.
July 3, the brigade marched to Big Shanty, and on the following day had orders to follow the enemy, who was retreating. We pursued him some four miles beyond Marietta, and next day encountered Wheeler’s cavalry re-enforced with infantry. Fighting was continued at intervals throughout the day, with heavy skirmishing. Failing to dislodge the enemy, the command was ordered back to camp. July 5, we marched toward the Chattahoochee River, and on the 8th moved to Roswell. On the following morning a regiment was sent to hold McAfee’s Bridge, the remainder of the brigade being kept as a reserve, while the other brigades of the division crossed the river, opening the way to a forward movement of the army. The bridge was taken and held with slight resistance, 1 man being wounded. Remained near Roswell without active movements until the 16th, when the brigade crossed the Chattahoochee River, and on the 19th entered the town of Stone Mountain, on the Atlanta and Augusta Railroad, with the Third Brigade, driving out Dibrell’s brigade of rebel cavalry. July 20, marched to Decatur, six miles east of Atlanta, and on the 21st started on a raid to Covington; burned a covered railroad bridge over the Ulcofauhachee River and about two and a half miles of track, capturing a number of prisoners, including a lieutenant-colonel. During the expedition a large amount of cotton was destroyed, and many horses and mules captured. Returned to camp near Decatur on the 24th. July 27, started on a raid toward the enemy’s rear, the division acting in concert with command of Major-General Stoneman. Encamped at Flat Rock, on South River, and on the following morning were attacked by a force of rebel cavalry, with artillery. After an engagement of some hours, in which our only casualties were 2 wounded and 2 captured, the enemy was driven from our front, and the command subsequently marched to Lithonia. On the 31st, started back and went into camp at Buck Head, on the left of the army. Remained inactive until the 9th [August], when a reconnaissance was made by the brigade to Decatur as a demonstration upon the enemy’s right.
August 15, again went on reconnaissance to Decatur. August 17, marched with First Brigade for Sandtown, Colonel Minty, First Brigade, in command, and from Sandtown moved with Brigadier-General Kilpatrick for an attack upon the rebel lines of communication. Near Fairburn the Atlanta and Montgomery Railroad was destroyed for half a mile by the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, and the brigade in or rear being here attacked by a force of rebel cavalry with artillery, Colonel Long formed in the woods and attacked the enemy. They were driven from their position, and their camp temporarily occupied. The brigade being then ordered to the advance of the column, soon encountered an enemy in front and skirmished with them during the greater part of the day, driving them to Flint River, where they took possession on the farther bank. A lively action ensued, and it was some time before they could be forced back, but while the artillery played upon their works a charge was made upon them, the river was crossed, and the rebels routed. The town of Jonesborough was then entered, and the Atlanta and Macon Railroad destroyed for some distance. On the morning after, the command moved on the McDonough road, the Second Brigade having the rear. We were attacked at an early hour by a brigade of rebel cavalry. This force was finally repulsed, and the brigade, ordered forward, to follow the first. Arriving near Lovejoy’s Station the command was dismounted to re-enforce the First Brigade, which had been attacked on the railroad and was being driven back. The brigade was formed in line across an open field, and breast-works thrown up in the rear. The firing was now very heavy on both sides, but the First Ohio and a portion of the Fourth Ohio at length repulsed the enemy, then fell back to the breast-works, and held him in check until his firing totally ceased, enabling a section of our artillery to be withdrawn. The command was then ordered back to their horses. Colonel Long was subsequently directed to form column and follow the First Brigade in a charge to be made upon the cavalry in our rear. This was effected without much loss, and the brigade was ordered to take the rear of the main column, when it again formed and moved toward McDonough. Before we could move out, however, the rebel infantry closed up on our rear, attacking with great vigor the line of skirmishers formed by a dismounted battalion of the Third Ohio, and shelling the columns of the other two regiments. Lieutenant Bennett, whose section of artillery had been attached to the Second Brigade during this expedition, was in position in the rear with one piece (his other having burst), and worked it with good effect. The enemy still advanced with increased numbers and pressed the Third Ohio heavily, all of that regiment being now dismounted. They held their ground firmly, though suffering much, until the enemy moved a heavy force to their right, threatening to cut them off, when they were obliged to fall back. At the same time Colonel Long was wounded in two places and forced to leave the field, turning over the command to myself as next senior officer. The column was now in motion, the enemy following slowly, and we were relieved by the First Brigade.
Marched that night to Cotton River, and, on the 21st, swam our horses across the swollen waters of Cotton Indian Creek, crossed South River, and arrived at Buck Head on the night of the 22d.
The loss of the brigade during this expedition was in killed, wounded, and missing, 7 officers and 87 men, including Colonel Long and Captain William H. Scott, of First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, inspector on the colonel’s staff. The latter was severely wounded in the charge upon the rebel cavalry. The loss inflicted upon the enemy is unknown, but must have been considerable. We brought off 14 prisoners.
August 25, the command marched to Vining’s Station, thence to Sandtown, where we recrossed the Chattahoochee. Continued on the left flank and rear of the army, following its movements to Jonesborough. Watched the flank of the army on its return toward Atlanta. Camped near Decatur on the 8th September, and, on the 10th, marched to Blake’s Mill, near Cross Keys, where we now remain.
Since leaving Columbia the brigade’s main column has marched 716 miles and has captured 151 prisoners, including 9 officers.
Below will be found a general summary of losses during the campaign:
Recapitulation of casualties: Officers-Killed, 1; wounded, 6; missing, 4. Enlisted men-Killed, 32; wounded, 124; missing, 40.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. B. EGGLESTON,
Colonel First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.
Captain J. E. JACOBS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Command.