172 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
ATLANTA, AND SHERMAN'S MARCH TO THE SEA.
General Scott, commanding the Second Brigade, was taken prisoner early in the action of the 22d. Colonel Wiles took command of the Brigade in the midst of the hottest of the engagement. His tall form could be seen at all times, everywhere encouraging the men to stand firm. And firm they stood, like immovable rocks; and nothing but the obstinate stand and desperate determination to hold their position or die there, saved the Seventeenth Army Corps. Never in the history of the war did troops do harder fighting than the Second Brigade that afternoon.
A few days after the fight of the 22d, the Corps abandoned the left and moved to the right of the army, where, for several days in sight of Atlanta, they fought with the enemy and kept pouring shells into the city.
They next abandoned their works on the right, and moved with the whole army, except the Twentieth Corps, to the rear of Atlanta, by way of Jonesboro, which gave us possession of the city. In the fight at Jonesboro, George Harris, of Company E, was killed. This was the only casualty. He was a brave soldier and a most worthy man. He left a wife and one child to mourn his loss.
In addition to those killed upon the battle-field of the 22d, very many died of their wounds. Among those not mentioned in the records who were killed on that day, are Francis Porter, Orderly Sergeant of Company G, and private E. Gallagher, of Company K, both men of marked bravery and popular favor, loved and esteemed by all; they have gone to their reward, engaged in defense of humanity and the great principles of national honor and liberty.
After the city fell into our hands it was made a military depot, all the inhabitants were ordered either North or South, about an equal number going each way. Nothing but the tramp of the soldiers was heard by night or day, in the shattered, bullet-riddled and desolated city. The Seventy-Eighth encamped south of the city, and enjoyed three or four weeks rest.
The rebel General Hood feeling sore over the loss of Atlanta, determined upon a bold move that would again give him possession of the city. He therefore decided to march his whole army into Tennessee, cutting Sherman's communications on his way, destroying all his depots of supplies, and thus compelling Sherman to leave Atlanta, and follow him into Tennessee. This was just what Sherman desired, and he moved after him with the Fourth, Fifteenth, Fourteenth and Seventeenth Corps, and drove him as far north as suited his purposes in making the grand raid through Georgia.
When he had driven Hood beyond harm's way, he returned and made all haste to put his army in readiness for the march to the sea.
On the morning of the 15th of November the army left. All the business part of the city was destroyed; being set on fire it was left to the mercy of the flames. No one was left to oppose them or check the wide spreading ruin. There has been nothing like it in the history of the world. A city deserted by every inhabitant, the angry flames leaping heavenward and from building to building, rejoicing in their mad reign, where man and happiness once dwelt in fond embrace.
Considered as a spectacle, the march of General Sherman's army surpassed, in some respects, all marches in history. The flames of a city lighted its beginning; desolation, which in one sense is sublime, market its progress to the sea. Its end was a beautiful possession – a city spared from doom. Underneath smiling skies, cooled by airs balmy as the breath of a northern summer, the army of the West, slowly
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