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After falling back from the Ruff´s Mill and Smyrna Line, the Confederate Army of Tennessee (CSA) occupies a very formidable defensive position designed by Brigadier General Francis A. Shoup (CSA) at the Chattahoochee River. Known as Johnston´s River Line, this was a new type of fortification, Major General G.W. Smith dubbed the forts “Shoupades.” Gen. Sherman, later wrote: ”It was one of the strongest pieces of field fortifications I ever saw.“  Rather than trying to storm this fortified position, Gen. Sherman sent Maj. Gen. John Schofield´s (USA) 23d A. C. upriver (north) to find a point where the Federal forces could cross the Chattahoochee River. On July 8, 1864, Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox´s (USA) 3rd division was ordered to the old paper mill near the mouth of Soap Creek. The 103rd Ohio of the 3rd division was able to ford the Chattahoochee River at an old fish dam and surprise the Confederate Calvary stationed there to guard the crossing. By night fall, a pontoon bridge was completed across the river and the rest of the 3rd division crossed to the east bank and entrenched along the ridge. Gen. Johnston (CSA) had once again been outflanked and on July 9th, the Confederate Army of Tennessee to retreat to Atlanta.
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July 1, Hascall´s division moved to my right, taking position at Moss house, on Powder Springs and Ruffs Station road, and I moved forward Cameron´s brigade to his left, on the Marietta and Sandtown road, in accordance with orders; Barter´s brigade is moved to Cheney´s, where Crittenden´s is also. July 5, division moved out on Ruffs Station road to Moss, the roads being too fully occupied with troops of the Armies of the Cumberland and Tennessee to allow farther movement. 6th, move to Smyrna Camp-Ground, on railroad, and encamp on northeast side of the railroad. 7th, moved two miles toward Rottenwood Creek and encamped. July 8, in accordance with orders received during the night, the division moved at 4 a. m., taking the road to the paper-mill near the mouth of Soap Creek. On reaching the creek the paper-mill and bridge were found burned, and the creek, being in a deep defile, very difficult of passage. Colonel Cameron was ordered to cross his brigade, part by clambering into the bed of the creek and part by passing round the dam a few rods above the mill. He was further ordered, on getting a portion of his command over, to deploy skirmishers and occupy the crest of the wooded ridge facing the Chattahoochee River and the roads leading up the country. This being done, he was directed to reconnoiter for an old fish-dam[†], crossing the Chattahoochee half a mile above Soap Creek, and ascertain, if possible, without disclosing the presence of his force, whether the river was fordable at that point. The remainder of the division was massed behind the ridge skirting the river below Soap Creek, the crest being occupied by skirmishers. The whole command was ordered to preserve great silence, fires were forbidden, and every precaution taken to make a crossing of the river by surprise. I then proceeded in person to reconnoiter the opposite bank of the river from the ridge, and found it apparently held by cavalry outpost of inconsiderable strength, with one piece of artillery placed to command Isham´s Ford and Phillips Ferry, both at the mouth of Soap Creek. Meanwhile, the major-general commanding having completed his own reconnaissance of the position, and the pontoon train and engineer battalion, commanded by Colonel Buell, as well as the division of General Hascall, having come up, I received orders to prepare for the crossing at 3.30 p. m. Colonel Cameron was ordered to select fifty men as an advanced guard to cross by fording at the fish-dam at the hour named massing the brigade under cover of the woods as near the ford as possible and crossing the whole, except one regiment, by the same means, if the advanced guard obtained a foothold on the opposite shore and found the ford practicable. As soon as his command should thus be over, he was ordered to push down the river by the heights on the opposite side, attacking and driving off any force he might meet and cover the crossing of a portion of the command by the pontoon boats, after which the bridge was to be constructed under cover of the whole force so crossed. A detail of 500 men was made to assist in setting up the canvass pontoons, and Byrd´s brigade was ordered to cross first. The Twelfth Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Rousseau commanding, was ordered to cross in the first passage of the pontoons, covered by the other regiments of the brigade deployed on the river´s edge at right and left of the ferry. Lieutenant-colonel Rousseau was ordered to keep the boats well together, to permit no firing, but form his men quickly when he should reach the opposite bank, and instantly charge any force he might find in his front, and, if possible, seize the ridge above the river and form connection with Colonel Cameron. The hour for the pontoons to shove out from the creek, where they were set up and launched under cover of the wood, was fixed at 4 o´clock, so as to leave Colonel Cameron half an hour to get part of his command over at the fish-dam ford and favor the crossing of the boats by attracting the attention of the enemy in that direction. The brigade of Colonel Byrd, excepting Twelfth Kentucky, was deployed in the wood at the foot of the ridge above and below the creek, ready to advance rapidly across the open bottom land (a young corn-field) at the signal. I should not omit to notice the fact that the oarsmen for the pontoons were furnished by detail from General Hascall´s division. At the time fixed, Colonel Cameron pushed his advance guard, consisting of a detachment of the One hundred and third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Col. J. S. Casement commanding, closely followed by the regiment, across the river, the ford being found waist deep and very rocky, but not impracticable, though the water was quite swift. They met with no opposition, the enemy being taken completely by surprise. His whole brigade, except the Twenty-fourth Kentucky Volunteers, was crossed within the half hour and gained the ridge after exchanging only a few shots with the enemy´s pickets, which fled. Promptly at 4 o´clock twenty-five pontoons, loaded with the Twelfth Kentucky, pulled down the creek and into the river, the troops deployed, advancing at the same time upon the run, and quickly occupying the bank of the river, which was fringed with bushes, opened a warm fire, and drove off the rebel skirmishers from the opposite bank to the hill above. The enemy opened with his single piece of artillery, which was, however, silenced by the simultaneous fire of a battery on the ridge on our side and of the infantry line along the river, the latter keeping up so well-directed a fire of rifles upon the piece that the cannoneers, after firing two shots and running the piece forward from cover to fire again, were driven from the gun without discharging it. In a very few minutes Colonel Rousseau´s command was across the river and formed on the opposite bank. A line of skirmishers was deployed and instantly pushed up the hill, which was found to be so steep and difficult that it was with great labor that the men were able to mount it at all. They pushed forward, however, with the greatest enthusiasm, and the enemy, disconcerted by the sudden apparition of so large a force, fled, after firing a few shots, leaving their piece of artillery in our hands. In the charge up the hill three soldiers of the Twelfth Kentucky distinguished themselves by outstripping the line, dashing with the greatest gallantry at the position of the enemy in advance of their comrades and capturing the gun. Their names are James S. Vaught, corporal, and Charles F. Miller and Reuben J. Carter, privates, all of Company A of that regiment. Cameron´s brigade reached the ridge above Isham´s Ford at nearly the same moment as Rousseau´s regiment. They were ordered immediately to entrench and hold the position at all hazards, should the enemy return in force to interrupt the crossing. The boats were kept running, ferrying over the remainder of Byrd´s brigade, while a bridge was being laid with others. The whole of Byrd´s and part of Barter´s brigade were thus ferried over, and shortly after dusk the first pontoon bridge was complete and the remainder of the division immediately crossed and went into position, the brigades from left to right being arranged as follows viz: Cameron´s, Byrd´s, Barter´s, Reilly´s. Crittenden´s dismounted cavalry was held in reserve to guard the bridge and trains. The position occupied was a very strong one naturally, the ridge curving to right and left so as to form a very perfect cover to the bridge-head, and the whole was during the night strongly intrenched. The enemy made no effort to disturb us, no force approaching the position but reconnoitering parties of cavalry. The surprise was so complete that the enemy did us no damage in crossing, not a man being lost. A second pontoon bridge was laid during the night by Colonel Buell, and the crossing of the Chattahoochee was thus permanently secured.
16th A.C. to Roswell