drove into the Seventy-Eighth, not discovering
the mistake till too late. Our boys thanked the teamster and
commissary-sergeant for their kindness, as they were quite hungry
for corn bread.
The greatest privation our soldiers endured at this time was the lack of sufficient rations. At one time the men were three days without anything to eat, and all this time night and day were under the fire of the enemy, and gradually pushing them before them.
While advancing and making a charge upon the enemy's lines, the Seventy-Eighth had three officers (Captain McCarty, Captain Robinson and Captain Gillespie) wounded, and Sergeant Starr, of Company I, killed. The latter was a young man of sterling worth and integrity. There was no better young man in the regiment.
The Seventy-Eighth suffered comparatively little loss in all this fighting, which is to be attributed to the careful and skillful management by Colonel G. F. Wiles, who knew just the time to strike, and how to do it, and the men begin veterans knew well how to meet successfully every movement of the enemy. Their promptness and celerity of movements shielded them from many a deadly missile.
July 2d the Seventeenth Army Corps left their position and marched about fifteen miles to the right. This movement was successful in causing the enemy to evacuate the mountains and retreat near the Chattahoochie river. At Nickajack creek we encountered the enemy, and severe skirmishing ensued for several days. Finally our forces were successful in taking the rebel works, and driving the enemy across the Chattahoochie river. The Seventy-Eighth was wonderfully spared, not having any killed and only a few wounded.
On the 16th the Corps again moved to the extreme left of our army, and crossed the river above the rebel lines, which was successful in flanking the enemy and causing them to retreat to their inner lines around the city. The Third Division took possession of Decatur, and destroyed the railroad, cutting off their communication with Augusta. This was a serious misfortune to the enemy.
The army then closed in within cannon range of the city of Atlanta, and the Rodman guns of the Third Division threw their shot and shell into the heart of the city. Here took place one of the most bloody dramas of the war, in which General McPherson was killed, and where the Seventeenth Corps did the most terrible fighting, encountering the great part of the rebel army. Here the Seventy-Eighth lost heavily, (as well as every other regiment in the Corps,) in killed, wounded and prisoners.
The following is a full description of the fight:
|BEFORE ATLANTA, GA., July 30, 1864.|
|On the 20th inst. the Army of the Tennessee advanced toward Atlanta, from near Decatur. The Fifteenth Army Corps, commanded by General Logan, on the line of the Augusta Railroad, the Seventeenth, commanded by General Blair, on the left of the railroad, and the Sixteenth, commanded by General Dodge, in reserve. When the day closed Logan's Corps, the Fifteenth, was near the enemy's main works at Atlanta. Blair's was in front of a high hill, strongly occupied by the enemy. From citizens it was learned that this hill overlooked Atlanta, and was in short range of that much coveted city. The|