On this day in 1864, the Battle of Atlanta occurred with Hood’s second offensive action of the campaign. Despite some success on the Confederate right, including the death of Union General James B. McPherson, the Confederate center was unable to hold its gains and was repulsed with heavy casualties. Though you’d never know that by reading Hood’s report which was sent that night.
NEAR ATLANTA, July 22, 1864-10.30 p. m.
"Honorable J. A. SEDDON, Richmond:
The army shifted its position last night, fronting Peach Tree Creek, and formed line of battle around the city with Stewart’s and Cheatham’s corps. General Hardee, with his corps, made a night march and attacked the enemy’s extreme left at 1 o’clock to-day; drove him from his works, capturing 16 pieces of artillery and 5 stand of colors. Major-General Cheatham attacked the enemy at 4 p. m. with a portion of his command; drove the enemy, capturing 6 pieces of artillery. During the engagements we captured about 2,000 prisoners, but loss not fully ascertained. Major-General Walker killed; Brigadier-General Smith, Gist, and Mercer wounded. Our troops fought with great gallantry.
J. B. HOOD,
Hood was a master of making himself look good. On the retreat from Nashville he wrote how it was a pleasant little retreat. A soldier in the 63rd Virginia had a very different story to tell.
"on the night of the 16 Janeral hood commenced retreating from Nashville with a heavy loss and we have retreated some too hundred miles through the wet and cold mud half leg deep and a great many of the men was entirely barfotted and almost naked. The men marched over the frozen ground till their feet was worn out till they could be tracked by the blood and some of them there feet was frosted and swolen till they bursted till they could not stand on their feet now this is what I saw my self and our Brigade left back with Jeneral Forrest Caveraly to Bring up and cover they retreat which left us in danger of being captured at any time but we got out safe or the mos of them, we had to stop and fight them most every day."
-2nd Lt. Samuel Robinson