Assault on Kennesaw, 57th Indiana Inf.
“We remained behind the works until the morning of the 27th, when an attempt was made to pierce the line of the enemy by a simultaneous assault at several points. In a series of the most brilliant movements yet executed by the western army, Gen. Sherman had succeeded in dislodging Johnston’s army from every position, whether on mountain-top, on the hills, or in the valleys; so after six days’ operation in front of Kenesaw, he resolved to make a bold strike, and, if successful, drive the enemy in confusion across the Chattahoochie River. Newton’s division was the one assigned, by Gen. Howard, to make the assault in front of the 4th Corps, and the point designated was in front of Stanley’s division. At 7 o’clock A.M. our brigade formed , and marched over to the rear of the line where the attack was to be made. Gen. Wagner gave Col. Blanch his choice of position, either to join in the column or deploy his regiment as skirmishers, and move up in front of the column. Col. Blanch chose the latter, and at once deployed the regiment five paces apart, preparatory to an advance. The 40th Indiana occupied the front of the assaulting column. At 8 o’clock A.M. the signal was given to advance, when our regiment crossed the works, and drove the rebel skirmishers into their fortifications. The enemy reserved their artillery fire till the 40th advanced to within a short distance of their works, had raised the yell, and were moving forward on the double-quick, when they opened a withering fire of grape and canister, which carried death and destruction in it’s pathway. The assualting party was checked, and the men laid down. Other regiments were now thrown forward, and the assault was several times renewed, but all in vain. The order was given to fall back by companies from the rear, but in the confusion and excitement it was misunderstood, and a general retreat commenced. The slaughter among our troops at this moment was even greater than when they advanced, for the enemy now rose from behind their works, fearless of danger from the retreating force, and fired with greater presision than when the column advanced. In one hour the engagement was over, and our brigade again returned to their former position, behind the line of works. The 57th lost twenty-two in this bloody and almost fruitless engagement. The assault, although it secured no immediate victory, was evidence to the enemy that we could assault as well as flank, and thus prevent them from weakening their lines to extend their flanks.”
Note: The 40th Indiana lost 106 men killed and wounded during the June 27th assault.