Calendar
Jan January
Feb February
Mar March
Apr April
May May
Jun June
Jul July
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December

In Their Own Words

May 30, 1864

Michigan Soldier Letter from Georgia

Henry Potter was a captain in the 4th Michigan Cavalry, which was part of Sherman’s force moving on Atlanta. From near Dallas, Ga., Potter wrote his father:

“My health is good but we are all about tired out. The Cavalry has never had such hard wor[k] or so much fighting. Our horses have not had a feed of grain in four days. They cannot go much further. The whole rebel army is in front of us. They are determined to drive us back or die. Night before last they made an assault upon our lines but were repulsed with a loss of 800. Last night there was the most terrific fighting I ever heard. The whole rebel army I should judge was charging upon our lines. I have had no report of the result yet. Only that we held our line firmly. Their loss must be terrible. Such firing and crashing and moaning was never heard. Our Cavalry fell back to the left and we were four miles in the rear when the assault was made. The whole sky was lit up as if the world was on fire. A sullen and continuous roar was heard. The sound would rise and fall like the waves of ocean. The earth fairly trembled and shrunk from the shock of hundreds of cannon. I am confident of success. We CANNOT fail. Our Army is large, larger than you imagine and our cause is just. From the Potomac I hear nothing. The 4th Mich has been in four fights at Kingston, Rome, Dallas and near Pumpkinvine Creek. We have had one Maj. (Grant)[Horace D Grant, Jackson, Michigan] captured. Our Maj. Robbins [Richard B Robbins, Adrian, Michigan] wounded, one Capt. (Lawton)[George W Lawton, Antwerp, Michigan] severely wounded and Lieuts. Carter[Julius M Carter, Ovid, Michigan] and Randolph[Smith Randolph, Madison, Michigan]. Carter is coming home, he is badly wounded, but not fatally. Our loss may be near 75 men, killed, wounded, and missing, 5 officers and about 100 horses. I have not had but one nights good rest in a week. We marched all last night. I am tough or I could not stand it. We are receiving reenforcements enough to more than make up for their loss. Gens Howard and Johnson were wounded day before yesterday. The rebels were cut to pieces with grape and canister when they charged. Dallas is full of rebel legs and arms. They were struck in the thigh and bowels mostly. Joe Johnson says if whipped here he will raise the stars and stripes in Atlanta. Thomas is the center. McPherson the right. Schofield the left and our cavalry has been on the right. Our Army is now concentrated. The war will close in 1864. Write when you can.”

The Letters of Henry Albert Potter, May-August 1864