Friday, July 1st, 1864
Laid behind our breastworks.
On the skirmish line, some very sharp firing.
The Rebs nave left their breastworks. March at 7 a.m., our skirmishers are following them up closely, several squads of prisoners have come in. 3 miles.
(Editor’s Note: The plan of attacking Johnston’s rear was begun near the evening of the 2nd and the intended effect was instantaneous. Johnston abandoned Kennesaw and all his works that night and when at dawn Sherman’s skirmishers stood on the top of that mountain they saw the Confederate hosts flying through and behind Marietta in hot haste toward the Chattahoochee in the direction of Atlanta; later in the night Sherman rode into Marietta just as the cavalry of Johnston’s rear guard left.)
A good many prisoners coming in, moved position. 2 miles.
(Editor’s Note: Sherman continued to push a heavy skirmish line forward and captured the entire line of Confederate rifle pits with some prisoners. Johnston abandoned all works and fled across the Chattahoochee and began building fortifications against Sherman’s passage.)
Tuesday, July 5th, 1864
Changed position to the right; moved forward 3 or 4 miles. Crossed our line of works. 4 miles.
The Rebs have crossed the river; we move up about 3 miles and throw up breastworks. 3 miles.
We take position on the north side of the river, the Rebs on the south; the Rebs and our men swim together and trade; lay here until the 16th.
Moved to the left, crossed the river on pontoons; the 23rd and the l4th Corps crossed before us; saw Eddie Waterhouse. He looks fine, very much like Tommy; marched 5 miles, detailed on picket tonight.
Advance today; sharp skirmishing. 3 miles.
Moved at 5 p.m. and marched 3 miles.
Moved at 7 a.m.; the Rebs charged Geary’s Division at 4 p.m. whilst advancing his lines; a general fight ensued; we held the battleground. Loss on both sides very heavy: we had the advantage of cannon: our regiment lost 5 killed, 30 wounded. 2 miles.
Threw up temporary breastworks last night; bury ours and the Rebel dead today; our company lost 5 men, 1 killed and 4 wounded. W.M. Anderson killed, Sergt. Petefish, Private Ruggers, Sharer and Hamilton wounded, Capt. Woof of Co. B was killed.
Advance to within half a mile of their works around the city and succeed in putting up works under a heavy fire; crossed one line of their works; John Allen of our company is missing. 2 miles.
The Rebs made a charge on us but were repulsed. They advanced to within 100 yds. of our works. On the 21st we received a new regiment into the Brigade, the 31st Wisconsin.
The 31st Wisconsin takes the place of the 45th N.Y. in our Brigade on the W (East?)
Keep strengthening our works a little: our skirmishers keep up a heavy fire; 24th, 25th and 26th still behind our works.
Captured 46 prisoners: one of the 31st Wisconsin killed and few wounded when advancing the skirmish line.
Our batteries shelled the town today [Atlanta, Georgia]; good news from the right. Howard has established his lines; repulsed 5 successive charges and captured 3000 Prisoners).
Col. Robinson, our Brigade Commander, has left us; he was loved and respected by the troops. Col. Bouton of the 143rd N.Y. is in command. The Brigade consists of the 143rd N.Y.,
31st Wis., 82nd and 61st Ohio and 82nd and 101st Ills.
Detailed on Picket this evening; all quiet along the lines. John Sharer was buried at Chattanooga today; he was wounded on the 20th at Peach Tree Creek.
Relieved from Picket 7 p.m.; one man from the 31st Wis. wounded on the line.
Monday, August 1st, 1864
One of the 82nd Ills. killed on the skirmish line, also 1 of the 31st Wis.
Our troops are mostly moving to the right; we are advancing slowly but surely.
Very still along the lines today, scarcely a shell fired; the 23rd Corps are getting position on the right.
Heavy firing on the right, musketry and artillery.
The cars have crossed the [Chattahoochee] river, artillery and infantry commenced firing at 4 p.m.
Detailed on Picket this evening, shelling the city [Atlanta, Georgia] most of the afternoon; bad news from Petersburg [Virginia].
x to John (sent J.H.)
Relieved of Picket 7 p.m.; sharp firing all day.
(X from J) (received J.H.)
Very heavy Picket firing on our left.
Shelling the town [Atlanta] last night; preaching tonight by the Chaplain of the 123rd N .Y.
General Inspection by Capt. Reynolds, In General, on the staff; move tonight.
The Johnnys opened their batteries on us this morning, but with little damage; orders countermanded.
I think we rather startled the Rebs this morning; we opened 30 pieces of artillery on them from our Corps at 4 a.m.; a few deserters still come in.
from a Tombstone, Atlanta: “It is a Holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the Dead that they may be loosed from their sins”. 2nd Michael 12 and 46.
Mr. Seymour preached this evening.
Detailed on Picket last evening; relieved today at 7 p.m.; no firing in front of our Brigade; some of our large guns send shells into the city [Atlanta, Georgia] every five minutes.
(Editor’s Note: In Memoranda found in the back of the diaries (see appendix) he noted that “on the 22nd [August] we occupied a position in front of Atlanta”.)
Democrat paper came. Various rumors in Camp about moving; received enough paper and envelopes to supply the Regiment.
Struck tents this evening at retreat or rather Tattoo, fell back to the [Chattahoochee] river, five miles; what the object of this move is I do not know but I think that General Sherman will be heard from in a few days.
(Editor’s Note: The Siege of Atlanta was raised on the night of the 25th and all munitions of war, supplies, and the sick and wounded men were sent to Sherman’s intrenched position on the Chattahoochee River whither the 20th Corps (Gen. Slocum’s) marched for their protection. In the grand movement that followed, Sherman sent the Army of the Tennessee (Howard’s), the Army of the Cumberland (Thomas’s) and the Army of the Ohio (Schofield’s) out into strategic positions against the Confederate leader Hood.)
Moved into position; commenced putting up breastworks. Gen. Slocum arrived; we hear he is to take command of the Corps.
Still strengthening our works.
Cleaning up camp; we have about 200 deserters building breastworks.
(x to) (write to Jane)
Received a letter from Jane, detailed on Picket this evening; relieved to help the Orderly with the rolls; answered Jane’s letter.
On Fatigue; 4 men (stragglers) attached to the company.
(Editor’s Note: It is not known whether these were Union or Confederate men.)
Mustered by Lt. Col. Lesage [Lessage]
Thursday, September 1st, 1864
During the night of the 1st we heard, as we thought, cannonading in the direction of Atlanta, which proved to be the evacuating and destruction of stores and the explosion of shells.
(Editor’s Note: At two o’clock in the morning sounds like the low bellowing of distant thunder reached the ears of Sherman from the north and he was a little puzzled. He thought that surely Slocum had not ventured to attack the strong defenses of Atlanta with only the 20th Corps – Hood must be blowing up his magazines preparatory to his flight from that city. With this impression, Sherman ordered a vigorous pursuit of Hardee. While Sherman was preparing to dislodge him, rumors reached him that Hood was indeed evacuating Atlanta. The truth was given him on the 4th by a courier from Slocum and revealed the fact that Hood, outgeneraled and overwhelmed with perplexity, had blown up his magazines and seven trains of cars, destroyed the foundries and workshops in Atlanta, and fled; Slocum had entered the city unopposed on the morning after Hood left it and was holding it as conqueror.)
7 miles. This morning 3 Regiments of our Division are ordered, 123rd N.Y. and the 101st Ills. and one other Regiment unknown to me; we advanced with skirmishers thrown out very carefully and entered the City at 1 p.m.; there was already some of the 3rd Div. there but the colors of the 101st were the first to enter Atlanta; the dwellings have [illegible] scarcely any but (as) been struck, three or more, the citizens had mostly caves dug to creep into when we were shelling; they had destroyed large amounts of property [illegible] 200 cars and 2 loaded with [illegible]
(Editor’s Note: When Slocum was satisfied that Hood had abandoned Atlanta, he sent out at dawn a strong reconnoitering column in that direction. It encountered no opposition and entered the city – much of which was reduced to a smoking ruin by Hood’s incendiary fires – at 9 o’clock, when it was met by mayor Calhoun, who formally surrendered the place. Gen. Ward’s division then marched in with drums beating and colors flying and the National flag was unfurled over the Courthouse.)
(Editor’s Note: Portions of this entry were impossible to transcribe.)
B. D. Campbell, the 6th and 7th Arkansas Regt., Gavans Brig., Cleybournes’ Div., Hardee’s Corps at 9 [and a half] p.m.; detailed to guard prisoners to Chattanooga.
(Editor’s Note: The prisoners taken to Chattanooga belong to the various divisions described here. Sherman strengthened the garrisons to the rear, and to make his communications more secure he sent portions of the 4th and 14th Corp. back to Chattanooga.)
Took 500 prisoners, 83 commissioned officers and 1 Brig. Gen.; it was midnight when we left Atlanta and arrived at Chattanooga midnight tonight, turned over the prisoners to the Guard there and laid down on the cars and slept until morning.
Stay at Chattanooga. See some of our Company that had been left back, eat some apples and peaches, the first since last fall, enjoy ourselves considerably. We look rather seedy compared with the 100 day men, who have clean guns, clean clothes and everything to correspond.
Started last night with Bonnell, left for Atlanta at 7 p.m. The officers in charge at Resaca were having a dance; one train stopped there some time and the boys annoyed them terribly.
We progress finely until 12 a.m. when one of our cars ran off the track which detained us 2 hours. Afterwards the engine refused to pull us along so it was midnight before we arrived at Atlanta.
(paper proof x)
Slept rather late this morning, commenced to write a letter home, when we received orders to move; moved camp about 1 mile, put up quarters. 280 miles.
Clearing of the Ground; we have got a very nice Camp. Our Div. shaped in 3 lines of battle, the 1st Brig, composing the 1st line, the 2nd Brig, the 2nd line and the 3rd Brig, the 3rd line.
Received a letter from John and wrote one home.
On Fatigue; put up a fence in front of Col.’s tent.
General Inspection by Capt. Reynolds: very particular but our guns are in pretty good order.
Will Larrimore and myself visited the Cemetery [in Atlanta]. There are some splendid monuments and beautiful shrubbery; there are some 4000 Confederate soldiers buried here. One beautiful monument stands about 20 feet high with a vault beneath; the door is open and the curious can inspect. The coffins stand one upon another; there are 2 with panes of glass inserted in their lids just over the faces of the dead. One is a woman; by removing a slide of wood you can see the skeleton of what was once flesh and blood; the man although been buried many years his beard seemed to be quite fresh and extended over his shoulders.
General Review, three miles from camp; weather very unfavorable, rained most of the time; we all got a good drenching, served the Commanding Officer right, wish he had had to take it all.
General Review by Gen. Slocum; everything passed off smoothly; we marched past Gen. Sherman’s and Thomas’s Quarters.
(Editor’s Note: Gen. Thomas, Sherman’s second in command, of the Army of the Cumberland.)
Moved to town [Atlanta] and took possession of the fire Department
It will take several days to fix up the engines, of which there are four.
Service at Episcopal Church this morning, at Methodist Church this evening at 6 p.m.
Working on the engine, meeting at the Methodist Church.
Must be some movement in the rear; Troops are going back every day.
Wrote to V. Breckon; meeting every night; no mail for several days.