350 Southern Historical Society Papers.
BALTIMORE, MD., March 27th, 1880. Colonel T. B. ROY, Selma, Alabama :
Dear Sir In reply to yours of 27th February, I submit the following :
I was Cleburrie's Adjutant-General, and was on duty with him, without a day's intermission, from 29th of December, 1862, to the 1st of September, 1864, when I was wounded at Jonesboro'. I was with him throughout the operations on the 20th July, 1864. Our division, which had been in reserve, was, on the evening of that day, ordered up to replace troops beaten in the first assault, and was formed in a depression facing the wooded ridge occupied by the enemy. The preliminary order for the assault had been given, and Cleburne had selected an officer to send to each brigade commander with the order to advance, when a staff officer galloped up, and announced that General Hood had directed that a division be sent at once to Atlanta, and ours was the one to go. Five min- utes more would have been too late. The division was accordingly withdrawn, and marched back through Atlanta, Cleburne and staff riding ahead to ascertain the position assigned us. It was on the extreme right of the army, with the left of our division resting on the Augusta railroad. It fell to my lot to locate the troops. I found that we were replacing cavalry ; and that the enemy's line gradually inclined towards the one we were taking up, until it ap- proached very close up to our right; and I was notified by the officer I was relieving, to do so quietly, as the enemy had been firing into him at the least noise. It was extremely dark, and the cavalry line was so slight that I had much difficulty in tracing it. I extended the caution of silence to the brigades successively, with advice to construct such defences as they could noiselessly. Skirmishing opened, and the pressure on us began at dawn, and continued during the day, varied by occasional assaults, which were handsomely repulsed. The line thus taken up in the night, and with reference to the enemy's position, was weak, ill-protected and badly enfiladed. It was an exceedingly trying and harassing day to the troops, and we suffered severely. But for our arrival and these dispositions, the enemy, at dawn on the 21st, could easily have brushed away the thin cavalry line, and marched into the interior works of the city.
And Brigadier-General J. A. Smith, who commanded the right brigade of Cleburne's division, in this new line, after stating the movements and his position, says, in his official report:
I immediately proceeded to construct such works for protection as the limited means at my disposal would permit. Owing, how- ever, to the position being much exposed, and the close proximity of the enemy, who occupied a strongly entrenched position, our