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In Their Own Words

July 04, 1864

Retreat Recorded in Letter

In a letter to his wife, Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry wrote about he spent the fourth of July in the midst of the Atlanta Campaign:

“On this anniversary, here we are under the broiling sun of Georgia. We have advanced further south since I wrote. It was ascertained yesterday that the enemy had left our front. Our forces had been massed on our right, and I have it on pretty good authority that an attack upon the enemy’s extreme left was intended to be made yesterday morning, to break it if possible and get upon the railroad in his rear. With his opportunities of observation, he could not well be ignorant of these movements on our part and anticipated our move by evacuating. We started in pursuit at six o’ clock, and marched all day in all sorts of directions and accomplished little. It seems to me a determined part yesterday would have been the thing, but we were content to move very cautiously. We had to be content to move very cautiously, and when we noticed that the rebels were taking up a new line on the Nicojack Creek, we made no attempt to disturb them. We got into camp very tired late last night. This morning my regiment and the 73rd Ohio made a short reconnaissance to our right to find connection with the 23rd Corps, which we accomplished. We are to go three miles from here and are likely to stay a little while. We took a large number of rebel deserters, straggling about yesterday, including officers. The Johnnies are demoralized.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page