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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

July 23, 1864

Georgia Soldier Wrote Mother about Battle of Atlanta

A Georgia soldier wrote home to his mother about his part in the Battle of Atlanta.

“…we fell in again and were marched through Atlanta and about six miles beyond and in the direction of the East Point. We arrived at the six miles at about 2 o’clock a.m. We were then halted and went to sleep. We slept until daybreak, when were formed and marched on about six miles. This brought us in the rear of the enemy. We then formed line of battle… . One half of each division was in the front line and the other on the rear. In this way they forwarded through the woods and charged the enemy. We did not charge but were kept under a heavy shelling. … After staying here about one hour, we were ordered to charge the enemy on our front so as to relieve General Cleburne, who had charged and taken two lines of the enemy’s breastworks and, Gist and Stevens having been repulsed, left him liable to be flanked and cut off. We advanced on the enemy, who…had their artillery posted all along the front line. We advanced about 200 yards, when it was found that it was madness to advance our little brigade and therefore we [were] ordered to halt and after a while to fall back. We fell back to our old position and were then ordered to join with Cleburne on our left. This we did and were then marched to the right a little ways and formed line of battle in an old field. General Lowry then came galloping up to us and told us that we now had the Yanks where we wanted them and that now we could charge them and not leave one to tell the tale. And says he, “I know that you are just the boys to do it!” We then advanced about a quarter of a mile through the woods, and then with Lowry’s brigade on our right we charged one line and drove them from it. We then jumped over this line and charged the second and drove them from that also. Here the big mistake was made, for we were ordered to halt. The enemy were now behind another line about ten yards in front of us and pouring a galling fire into us, for the line that we had taken had three gaps in it and through these they fired on us. …” Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 320.