The Lost Battle Report of Confederate General William Brimage Bate

Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Location
Killarney, Ireland
For those of you like me who have studied the Atlanta Campaign, you have probably found yourself extremely frustraited, just like me, with the lack of Official Records during the Campaign. In spite having some inaccuracies sometimes, the Battle Reports on the official records reveal amazing details into what the General saw, how he reacted to what he saw, and what his orders were.

The unit I have been researching for the past two years, the 4th Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters was in Bate's Brigade from the moment they were created in May of 1863. Bate actually created them, the closer you look at them, the more of Bate's fingers prints can be found all over them. Bate gives fairly detailed Battle reports for Hoover's Gap, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge but then comes a huge gap. The next Battle report by General Bate in the Official Records does not come until after the Atlanta Campaign when Hood's Army is beginning it's move into Northern Alabama. Bate had just recovered from his wood sustained at Utoy Creek and had rejoined his command. He lead them in a slight action at Dalton Georgia, taking some block houses before heading for Northern Alabama himself. Bate then also gives us a Battle Report covering the entire Tennessee Campaign including Spring Hill, Franklin, Battle of the Cedars, and Nashville.

That is quit a gap, basically the entire Atlanta Campaign is missing. I have just discovered however that General Bate did write up a report for at least the beginning of the Atlanta Campaign and for some reason never submitted it and so it was not included in the official records collection. It is an extremely long report. Bate dated the first report May 30, 1864. It begins with the movements of Bate's Division on May 7th and must go until May 30th...I have not read it all yet. Bate also mentions at the end in a note that is also had a report of the subsequent movement of the command "including the brillant fight of Utoy Creek" which he says has been misplaced but promises to forward it when found. It was apparently never found. :frown:

I first found this report while doing a Google Search of all things. I kept coming across a book in Google Books called "The Campaign for Atlanta and Sherman's March to the Sea, by Theodore P. Savas, and David A. Woodbury". This Battle report kept showing up in this book on Google books but I was unable to see all of it because of the way Google Books is. To make matters more annoying, I was unable to buy a copy of the book. Amazon.co.uk which we are required to use here in Ireland didn't have any copies of the book but did have some for sale in through secondary venders in the Market Place. But....their system will not allow Market Place items to be shipped to Ireland...we can only buy items directly from amazon.co.uk. It took me awhile but I finally found a library while I was in the States who had a copy of the book, which is actually a two volume set. The Book is actually a series of shorter articles written by numerous authors, Albert Castel being one of them. The Battle reprot appeared in an article called "Lines of Battle: Major General William B. Bate's Partial Reports of the Atlanta Campaign" and was written by Zack C. Waters. Now from the copies I got of these Battle reports, I was never able to figure out where they came from. I managed finally to get in touch with Zack C. Waters who lives in Rome Georgia. He actually got the reports from the Kennesaw Mountain Historian years ago but believed that they came from the Filson Club, today the Filson Historical Society in Louisville Ky.

So my next step was contacting Filson, who told me that they had no record in their finding aids for these reports. After pushing a little harder on them, they did finally locate the papers and have supposedly updated their finding aid now. The papers are part of the Edwin Porter Thompson Papers at the Filson Historical Society. Edwin Porter Thompson of course wrote "History of the Orphan Brigade" and this is how these battle reports made their way into his papers. General Bate gave these reports to Thompson himself in order to help Thompson write the history.

I have not read them all but so far, Bate talks about the fight at Mill Creek Gap, Resaca, and Dallas. Bate devotes and entire section to Dallas in an attempt, at least as it appears to me, to remove the blame from himself for the disaster that was Dallas....

The last date I am seeing as I scroll through the pages and pages of these papers is July 21, 1864.. so this report also apparently covers Peachtree Creek as well.

I'll keep updating as I have more time to read over the course of the week but this could be an invaluble resource for those interested in the Kentucky Orphan Brigade, Findley's Florida Brigade, or Bate's/Tyler's/T. B. Smith's Georgia and Tennessee Brigade.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Location
Killarney, Ireland
From what I can tell, the majority of the reports are about the Battle of Dallas. Again, Bate took a lot of criticism for Dallas and the Florida Brigade blamed him for their slaughter and made an attempt to be transferred from his command..it is not hard to believe then that Bate would want to defend himself in such a manner. There are at least a couple of hand written pages on Dallas, About a Page on Mill Creek Gap, another Page on Resaca. Bate also talks about General Polk visiting his lines on Pine Mountain along with Generals Johnston and Hardee and the death of General Polk...he then skips Kennesaw Mountain and Peachtree Creek and goes straight to the night of July 20th and the rest of the report is Bate getting his men in position for the Battle of Atlanta. In all due fairness, Bate did get lost in the Bottom lands of Sugar Creek during the Battle of Peachtree Creek and failed to take advantage of a gap in the Union Line...it is understandable that he would pass over Peachtree Creek.
 

Joe Walker

Private
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
I grew up not far south of Cascade. Had a paper route at John A. White golf course. Later, I lived in Jonesboro.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Location
Killarney, Ireland
I grew up not far south of Cascade. Had a paper route at John A. White golf course. Later, I lived in Jonesboro.
I visited Cascade Springs Nature Preserve this past spring on my Battlefield tour, took a few pictures of the earthworks. Utoy Creek and Jonesboro are the biggest weak spots in my research. I have been collecting every diary I can find from the brigade that my ancestor was in but so far only one of the diaries was written by a man who remained after the Battle of Atlanta, he talks about Utoy and Jonesboro a small bit but doesn't really give any good details. My ancestor appears in the Aug and Sept 1864 muster roll as wounded and in Hospital so it was probably Utoy Creek I am thinking.
 
Top