Thursday, June 23, 2016

Major Charles Fessenden Morse: May 31, 1864

Kingston, Ga., May 31, 1864.

My last letter was written from Cassville, and sent by Colonel Coggswell. On the 23rd the whole army made a movement forward, and successfully crossed the Etowah River by various bridges, camping on the south bank. The next day the Altoona mountains were reached and crossed, no great opposition being made except by cavalry. On the 25th the army moved, by several roads, towards Dallas, and skirmishing began. Suddenly an order came to halt, face about, recross the creek, and move to the left to support Geary. As I was crossing the bridge, an order came to me saying that the Second Massachusetts had been especially detailed by General Hooker to remain on that road and hold the bridge on which we had crossed.

About five P. M., I heard our division “go in” about three miles on my left with a tremendous crash of musketry and artillery; the fighting seemed to last an hour, then suddenly stopped. The next morning I heard about our division's fight.

As soon as they arrived on the ground, they were formed in three lines, and made an impetuous attack on the enemy for nearly a mile into a strong line of works. Then Sherman found that he had the whole of Johnston's army in his front; he therefore immediately began concentrating his army, which was accomplished during the day of the 26th. McPherson, driving the enemy out of Dallas, formed in front of that place. His army constituted the right wing, Thomas the centre, and Schofield the left. Our division suffered severely in the fight, losing about a thousand killed and wounded, one-half being out of our brigade.

On the 29th I reported at headquarters. I found the division in reserve, a large part of it escorting trains to the rear.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 168-9

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