DE ARAGON, The Chronicle of a Confederate Surgeon – Part 10

by Robert M. Webb on June 2, 2012 · 0 comments

Author’s Note:

This is the 10th installment on the series about Major Ramon T. de Aragon. In May, 1864, Federal General William T. Sherman launched his advance on Atlanta from Ringold, Georgia, just south of Chattanooga. Leonidas Polk’s corps, including Major De Aragon’s brigade, is summoned by Confederate Joseph E. Johnston to rejoin the Army of Tennessee.

As a side note,in 2011, the town of Ringold was completele destroyed by tornadoes.

 

Chapter 10

The Atlanta Campaign

Part I

Rome, Georgia to Kennesaw Mountain

 

The prospects for the South in the Spring of 1864 were fairly bleak. There was no longer any hope of foreign intervention and for those willing to admit it, no real possibility of a military victory so decisive that the Federal Government would allow the Southern states to go in peace. The Union armies controlled the entire Mississippi River, cutting off the states to the west. Southern armies had been forced to relinquish all of Tennessee and most of Mississippi while Robert E. Lee grimly prepared for the inevitable enemy invasion into Virginia. Still, one glimmer of hope lay in the upcoming presidential election in the North. If the Southern armies could hold on until November, it was possible the war-weary people in the North might replace Abraham Lincoln with the peace candidate, former Yankee General George McClellan. McClellan was running on a platform that called for an end to hostilities and formal recognition of the Confederacy.

On March 9, 1864, Abraham Lincoln called Ulysses S. Grant to Washington and made him Lieutenant General in command of all Federal armies. William Tecumseh Sherman was placed over all forces between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. George Meade remained in command of the Army of the Potomac. Grant was particularly concerned with the situation in the West. It was true the Yankees had taken large amounts of real estate, but in three years of conflict, the Union forces had been unable to inflict what could be called a decisive defeat against the Confederate force that was currently in winter camp at Dalton, Georgia. Grant met Sherman in Tennessee and together they traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to come up with a strategy that would enable Sherman to do what Grant, Buell, and Rosecrans before him had been unable to accomplish – destroy the Army of Tennessee. On March 17 they developed a plan of attrition against the South and her ability to support her armies.

Grant declared that Atlanta, Georgia held the key to the final destruction of the Confederate war machine. After Chattanooga fell into Federal hands in late 1863, Atlanta became the major rail center of the South with the Western & Atlantic, the Macon & Western, the Atlanta & West Point, and the Georgia Railroads all converging there. These lines connected with all the major cities of the South. The state of Georgia boasted large arsenals and munitions plants not only in Atlanta, but also in Macon, Augusta, and Columbus. Uniforms were also being produced in the area and foodstuffs from the fertile farmlands in southern Georgia were making their way through Atlanta to all the southern armies. Sherman was issued the following orders:

 

“You I propose to move against Johnston’s army, to break it up, and get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources. I do not propose to lay down for you a plan of campaign; but simply to lay down the work it is desirable to have done and leave you free to execute it in your own way. Submit to me, however, as early as you can, your plan of operations.”

Sherman had under his command three separate armies with which to invade Georgia. The

Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Major General George H. Thomas, was the largest with four thousand cavalry, sixty-one thousand infantry, and one hundred thirty artillery pieces. Thomas’ three corps were commanded by Major Generals Oliver O. Howard, Joseph Hooker, and John M. Palmer. The next in size was Major General James B. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee containing twenty-four thousand infantry and ninety-six guns. McPherson’s corps commanders were Major Generals Grenville Dodge, John A. “Blackjack” Logan, and Frank P. Blair, Jr. Sherman’s smallest army was Major General John M. Schofield’s Army of the Ohio, which had thirteen thousand infantry and twenty-eight guns.

On May 4,1864 Sherman officially began his invasion of Georgia from a point just outside the town of Ringold, Georgia. Waiting for him some thirty miles to the South at Dalton, Georgia was Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and the Army of Tennessee. Following the loss of Chattanooga, President Davis had replaced Braxton Bragg with General Joseph E. Johnston. The army Johnston inherited was somewhat bruised and battered after being driven from Missionary Ridge in November of 1863. Johnston spent the winter at Dalton reorganizing and rebuilding. Two corps, consisting of forty-two thousand men and one hundred twenty-four cannon, were well fed and a number provided with new uniforms. Their morale improved with time as the various units drilled and built fortifications on the heights of Rocky Face Ridge, a formidable mountain which blocked the way of any Yankee advance toward Atlanta.

Lieutenant General William Hardee was in command of one corps. The other corps was placed in the hands of newly promoted Lieutenant General John Bell Hood. Hood had been in Richmond, Virginia convalescing after the loss of his leg during the Battle of Chickamauga. While there he ingratiated himself to President Davis and convinced Davis to give him command of a corps in the western army.

Sherman outnumbered Johnston by more than two to one and with his superior numbers had no need to waste his troops assailing the Rebels behind their fortifications. He adopted a flanking maneuver placing Thomas’ army in front of Johnston’s line and then sending McPherson’s troops around to the South to threaten Johnston’s railroad line to Atlanta. Johnston was then forced to leave his fortifications at Rocky Face Ridge to move his army south to Resaca, Georgia.

When Sherman’s forces marched out of Ringold, Confederate cavalry immediately detected the Federal advance and Johnston notified Richmond. President Davis wired Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, commander of the Army of Mississippi, at his headquarters at Demopolis, Alabama, ordering him to proceed to Georgia with all his available forces. Polk issued orders to all his division commanders to move immediately to Georgia. He then hurried to Johnston’s aid, arriving at Resaca on May 11 with the first of his divisions, that of Major General William W. Loring. Johnston engaged Sherman’s forces at that place on May 14 and 15 with each side experiencing large numbers of dead and wounded. Sherman sent a force across the Oostanuala River again flanking Johnston on the South again forcing him to abandon his position.

 

The Siege of Rome

 

The commander of Major De Aragon’s division, Major General Samuel French, received the order to join the Army of Tennessee in Georgia on May 5, 1864. At the time, French was with Ector’s Brigade at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The rest of the division was scattered through Alabama with Sears Brigade near Selma and the men of Cockrell’s Brigade were north of Tuscaloosa, still on their mission breaking up the bands of ruffians that were terrorizing the populace.

French ordered his brigade commanders to assemble their troops at Montevello, Alabama and from there take trains northeast to the terminus of the Selma & Talladega Railroad at Blue Mountain. From there, they were to march overland into Georgia to the town of Rome and at the railhead there take trains east to Kingston, Georgia where they would rendezvous with Johnston’s army.

Major De Aragon’s brigade left Tuscaloosa on May 7 and arrived at Montevello along with Sears’ men the next day during a heavy rain. No trains were waiting as promised and the two brigades waited four days for them to arrive. On May 12, French resolved to march the troops to Rome but was assured that the cars were on their way. Finally, on May 13, a sufficient number of cars arrived for Sears’ troops to board and depart. Ector’s Brigade entrained and left for Rome during the night.

Approaching Rome from the North were the lead elements of Federal Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis’ 2nd Division, Palmer’s XIV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. The game of strategy between Sherman and Johnston had brought the opposing armies deeper and deeper into Georgia – each contestant vying to cut off his adversary from the lifeline of the Western & Atlantic Railroad. As part of Sherman’s latest attempt to flank Johnston, Davis’ Division was sent toward Rome where the Oostanuala and Etowah Rivers converge to form the Coosa River about twenty miles south of Cassville, Georgia. Davis, originally was instructed to cut the railroad that ran from Rome to the Western & Atlantic line at the town of Kingston. When he reached Floyd Springs he found no way to cross the Oostanuala so he turned his force toward Rome.

The defense of Rome had been delegated to Brigadier General Henry Breward with Davidson of Joe Wheeler’s Cavalry. He had on hand a garrison of one hundred fifty men. Rome’s fortification’s consisted of three forts – Fort Jackson (also known as Fort Norton) on the north side of town on the east side of the Oostanuala River,  Fort Attaway on a ridge above Little Dry Creek, and Fort Stovall which was on a hill then referred to as Cemetery Hill overlooking the point where the Oostanuala and Etowah Rivers converge. In addition to the forts, trenches and rifle pits had been dug at Forts Attaway and Norton and there was also a line of trenches along the Oostanuala. On May 14, Brigadier General William H. (Red) Jackson, Polk’s cavalry commander, arrived in Rome on his way to join Johnston with his three brigades and took command. He was, however, ordered to continue on immediately to the town of Calhoun, Georgia.

On May 15, the citizens of Rome heard the sounds of  battle coming from the North. When Jackson had gone about eight miles north from town, he had run headlong into the cavalry division of Union Brigadier General Kenner Garrard and engaged them in a firefight driving them back. The following day, May 16, French arrived in town with Sears’ and Ector’s Brigades. At 10:00 p. m. Sears Brigade was placed on trains headed for Kingston. Cockrell’s Brigade was still in route from Alabama on foot. About 1:00 p. m. on May 17, as French was putting the troops of Ector’s Brigade on the train for Kingston, he was informed by Brigadier General Davidson that Yankee infantry (Davis’ Division) had been sighted about two and one-half  miles from town.

French promptly assumed overall command of the forces then in Rome. He had Ector’s men detrain and sent part across the Oostanuala to man the trenches and support the cavalry of Brigadier Generals Lawrence Ross and J. T. Morgan. These cavalry units had been sent back by Jackson to aid in the defense of Rome. The rest of Ector’s men were deployed as skirmishers on the crest of the ridge in front. Captain James A. Hoskins placed his Mississippi Battery in Fort Jackson/Norton and deployed an assortment of dismounted cavalry and miscellaneous troops in the hills on the north side of town.

Union commander J. C. Davis deployed Colonel John H. Mitchell’s Brigade on the wagon road ( present Highway 27), with the 34th Illinois, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Van Tassell, as skirmishers. Colonel Dan McCook’s 3rd Brigade was deployed to the East of the road. Brigadier General James D. Morgan’s 1st Brigade took position west of the road with Colonel Robert F. Smith’s 16th Illinois as skirmishers. Davis placed his guns on Shorter Hill near the site of Shorter College. His artillery consisted of the four 3″ guns of Lieutenant Alonzo W. Coe’s Battery I, 2nd Illinois Artillery and the four Napoleons of Captain George Q. Gardiner’s 2nd Minnesota Battery.

French had at his disposal, all told, about five thousand men to protect Rome against an approaching force of ten thousand. Major De Aragon’s brigade made up the only infantry. French sent a strong line of skirmishers forward and they engaged the enemy but were pushed back to the hills. There was a heavy engagement involving both infantry and dismounted cavalry at Fort Attaway from 3:00 to 5:00 p. m. That position was abandoned and Fort Jackson/Norton became the main target of the enemy’s artillery barrage. The defenders withdrew into the town to make a stand at Fort Stovall. At 6 p. m., Ross charged the enemy with his Texas cavalry and drove back their skirmishers, bringing the conflict to a standstill. French’s losses for the day were about one hundred men, mostly of Ross’s Brigade.

During the day, there was a constant flow of messages from General Johnston to French, pressing him to join the main army as it strove to arrest Sherman’s advance. The Army of Tennessee was pulling back to Cassville, which would allow the Union forces to get between French and the rest of the army. Johnston had to make a decision as to divert a part of his strength to save the rail connection and industrial resources of Rome, or sacrifice Rome and concentrate all his resources on keeping Sherman from Atlanta. He chose Atlanta.

Cockrell’s Brigade finally arrived at dusk after marching thirty two miles and were immediately placed on cars headed for Kingston. Two steamboats, the Laura Moore and the Alfarata, escaped down the Coosa River, running a gauntlet of heavy shelling from the Yankee guns on Shorter Hill.  At midnight the townspeople learned that French was pulling out as Ector’s Brigade departed by train for Kingston. At 3 a. m., French received the order to pull out with his remaining forces to Cassville. Before leaving, however, he had all of Major De Aragon’s sick and wounded removed along with all supplies and the army’s livestock.

 

Cassville

 

Joe Johnston pulled his army out of Resaca on May 15 in order to remain between Atlanta and the advancing Yankee host. He continued moving south while looking for a position he could defend in a terrain that offered nothing suitable. The width of the valley above Adairsville, Georgia was greater than Johnston’s army could effectively shield so he continued on to Cassville.

Ector’s Brigade arrived at Kingston at 7:30 a. m. on May 18 and continued on to connect with the rest of the division at Cassville. Sears and Cockrell had already arrived, with Cockrell’s Brigade having traveled two hundred seventy five miles to get there – two hundred of these on foot. The entire division of four thousand had finally joined with the Army of Tennessee, bringing Johnston’s strength to seventy thousand. Leonidas Polk’s Army of Mississippi became Johnston’s third corps.

Johnston had been criticized by several politicians in Richmond, and by many under his command, for allowing the Yankees to penetrate so far into Georgia. A master of defensive warfare, he seemed to be continually retreating while waiting for the ideal time and place where he could attack Sherman’s armies on his own terms. At Cassville, he saw his opportunity. Two roads led south from Adairsville toward Cassville and Johnston predicted that Sherman would divide his forces and send part down each route. Almost like he was following orders, Sherman obliged him by moving with the bulk of his troops down the road that went through Kingston while he sent Major General Joseph Hooker’s XX Corps and Major General John M. Schofield’s XXIII Corps on the road that went directly to Cassville. Johnston planned to ambush Schofield with a strike on his flank by Hood’s Corps while Hardee provided a distraction at Kingston.

Johnston elected to spring his trap on May 19 and after giving orders to his commanders, he issued the following message to the troops:

 

“Soldiers of the Army of Tennessee, you have displayed the highest quality of the soldier – firmness in combat, patience under toil. By your courage and skill you have repulsed every assault of the enemy … You will now meet his advancing columns … I lead you in battle!”

 

As their leader’s words were read to each regiment, cheers went up through the ranks as the men of the Army of Tennessee prepared to stand and fight the invader. One private recalled that he “… never saw troops happier or more certain of success.”

Johnston set up his trap by first sending Hardee’s Corps with all the army’s supply wagons and ambulances south on the main road to Kingston. He sent Polk and Hood across Gravely Plateau toward Cassville. Schofield advanced hot on the heels of the latter group with Hooker close behind. Cheatham’s Division was deployed as a delaying force to gain time. Finally, on the morning of May 19, the army was formed in line of battle with Polk’s Corps across the Adairsville Road south of Two Run Creek just north of Cassville. French’s Division was first on the extreme right. A last minute change in troop alignment put the division on the right of Loring’s Division on a line which extended from one hill across a valley to another hill on which Hood’s line began. Hood then marched north out Spring Place Road where he was to hit Schofield from the East after Polk attacked his front.

The operation began as elements of Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland attacked Hardee at Kingston. At the same time, however, as Hood deployed his troops to face the enemy, he was informed of an unknown enemy force on his right on the Canton Road. Hood immediately ordered his entire corps to change front to meet this unexpected threat. The Federal force in question was that of Brigadier General Edward M. McCook’s Division, which had been sent to threaten the railroad south of Cassville. McCook had turned west onto the Canton Road just as Hood marched north out of town. McCook’s lead regiment, Major Baird Briggs’ 2nd Indiana, blundered into the rear of Hood’s column, Major General Carter Stevenson’s Division.

 

Johnston knew the element of surprise had been lost and recalled Hood into line next to Polk. He then withdrew his entire line to a heavily wooded ridge southeast of Cassville. Johnston later referred to this position as “the best that I saw occupied during the war.” The ridge was two miles long and rose one hundred forty feet above a valley to the West. Johnston’s line there was three and one half miles long. Hardee’s Corps was placed on the left, Polk’s Corps in the center, and Hood’s Corps aligned on the left. At 4 p. m. French had received the order to fall back and form behind Brigadier General James Canty’s Brigade on the ridge. The division occupied a place in the center of Johnston’s line where a road passed through a gap in the ridge. This alignment left an interval between the left of Hood’s line and the right end of Canty’s Brigade. To fill this hole, French placed Hoskin’s Battery and one-half of Ector’s Brigade on a small knoll about fifty yards in front of the gap. Sears’ brigade and the other half of Ector’s Brigade were held in reserve. Some of the brigades in Polk’s Corps ended up out of position relative to their divisions and so, in this instance, Canty’s Brigade was temporarily placed under French’s command and Cockrell’s Brigade was assigned to Major General William W. Loring.

Schofield’s Army of the Ohio came down the Adairsville Road and deployed across from Hood’s position. Hooker and his corps came up on Schofield’s right across from Polk, and O. O. Howard and his IV Corps formed across the railroad in Hardee’s front. The combatants faced each other across a distance of less than two miles. Hooker positioned the four Napoleons of Captain Marco Gary’s Battery C, 1st Ohio on the high ground west of Cassville near the Female College. The rifled guns of Captain Luther Smith’s Battery I, 1st Michigan were located on two hills that stood between the Adairsville Road and Spring Place Road.

Joe Johnston and his chief of Artillery, Brigadier General Francis Asbury Shoup, inspected the line that afternoon. As they rode along French’s position, Shoup informed Johnston that Hoskins’ position was, in its forward location, exposed to the Federal artillery to their far right. Johnston discounted the threat because, in his opinion, the extreme distance negated any benefit the enemy would gain by firing on Hoskins. At 5 p. m., however, enemy cavalry drove French’s forward pickets in toward the second skirmish line. When Hoskins’ Battery opened fire on this cavalry, the enemy battery Shoup had warned against, Captain Luther Smith’s Battery, did indeed fire on Hoskins and those men of Major De Aragon’s brigade that were also on the hill with the guns.

Later that evening Johnston met with two of his corps commanders, Polk and Hood, to discuss their situation. While on his way to the meeting Hood came upon French and invited him to attend. Hardee was not present. Both Polk and Hood informed Johnston that their lines were coming under enfilade fire by artillery and neither felt the position could be held. Johnston later wrote that if two-thirds of his corps commanders thought the position untenable, their attitude would be adopted by the troops and opinion would then become fact. Johnston withdrew his army through Cartersville and across the Etowah River. French’s Division left the line at midnight. Skirmishers stayed behind with a small detail left to fell trees in an attempt to give the enemy the impression that the army was digging in. The division crossed the Etowah on May 21 and camped on the grounds of an iron furnace.

 

 

Dallas – New Hope Church

 

Johnston took his army eleven miles south of Cassville into the Allatoona Mountains which, in some places, rose a thousand feet into the Georgia sky. There, he built his defense at Allatoona Pass, a place where the Western & Atlantic Railroad ran through a narrow gorge that cut through the mountains. As a young 2nd Lieutenant in 1844, Sherman had visited the area while stationed at nearby Marietta. He knew full well the futility of attacking the Rebels in such a place and decided to alter his strategy. On May 20, Sherman ordered twenty days rations for his troops and prepared to leave the railroad, his supply lifeline to Chattanooga. He determined to emulate his march through Mississippi following the Meridian Campaign by taking his troops across the Etowah River on a sweep through the Georgia wilderness to get in the rear of the Confederate Army. Gathering up his army, he headed in the direction of Dallas, Georgia, some fifteen miles to the Southwest.

On May 22, Johnston ordered Hood to remain at Allatoona while moving Hardee’s Corps eight miles toward Dallas. Polk’s Corps was sent to the vicinity of Lost Mountain, a point roughly halfway between. On May 23, French’s Division left Allatoona at noon and marched until dusk. The next day they began their westward march in the general direction of Dallas at 4:00 a. m. and camped that night in line of battle.

As the Federal armies converged on Dallas they began to encounter increasing resistance from Joe Wheeler’s cavalry. On May 24 Thomas lead unit, Hooker’s XX Corps, came from the northwest through Stilesboro and Burnt Hickory. Schofield moved up on Hooker’s left and McPherson approached from the West.

Johnston again moved Hardee’s Corps, sending those troops to occupy the high ground east of town and brought Hood in to a position in front of Elsbury Mountain near New Hope Church at a crossroads four miles northeast of Dallas.

Hood placed his corps at New Hope Church with Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s Division on the left, Major General Alexander P. Stewart’s Division in the middle, and Major General Carter L. Stevenson’s Division forming the right of the Confederate line. Johnston ordered Polk up on Hood’s left and instructed Hardee to deploy his corps near Dallas on Polk’s left. This became known as Johnston’s “Dallas – New Hope Line.”

On May 25, Hooker’s XX Corps, its destination Dallas, was smashing its way through the wilderness, unknowingly moving in a straight line for the crossroads at New Hope Church and Hood’s line. They drove back the pickets guarding the bridge over Pumpkin Vine Creek and crossed over at 10:00 a. m.

Hooker launched an assault on Hood’s position at 4:00 p. m., as a tremendous thunderstorm rolled across the sky. The Yankee line advanced on the center of Hood’s line, Stewart’s Division, with Alpheus Williams’ 1st Division on the right, John Geary’s 2nd Division in the center, and Dan Butterfield’s 3rd Division on the left. Each division was arrayed in heavy infantry “column of brigades.” In this deployment, the Federal line presented a front no wider than that of Stewart’s single division. They threw themselves against Stewart’s line and were met with a blistering fire. Johnston knew that Stewart was outnumbered three to one and at the height of the battle, inquired of Stewart if he needed support. Stewart replied:

 

     “My own men will hold the position.”

 

In a period of three hours, Stewart’s artillery fired a total of one thousand five hundred sixty rounds. Hooker’s troops were repulsed with losses totaling nearly sixteen hundred.

The men of French’s Division heard the sounds of firing as they moved closer to Dallas. French himself rode to the front to investigate and, meeting Johnston on the road, learned that an attack had been made on Hood’s line. French quickly returned to his division to hasten them along. The division came into place at dark during the thunderstorm and camped in line of battle with Cheatham’s Division on the right and Canty’s Brigade, of Walthall’s Division, on the left. May 26 was spent with the men of the division digging in and building breastworks. That night Cheatham’s Division moved to the left and the following day French extended his line in that direction According to the map French included in his book, “Two Wars,” French’s Division occupied a position in line directly North of New Hope Church.

The Federal army entrenched in a line six miles long with Thomas opposite Hood at New Hope Church, McPherson on his right at Dallas, and Schofield on the left. Sherman sent Major General Oliver O. Howard and his IV Corps to attack the Confederate line further to the East. His troops arrived at the vicinity of New Hope Church long after dark with the rain pouring down – too late to be of any assistance to Hooker.

Johnston could tell what Sherman was about and moved Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s Division from the left of Hood’s line to the right. He then took Major General Patrick Cleburne’s Division from Hardee’s Corps on the left of his army and moved him to the far right flank, extending Hindman’s line. Cleburne deployed on top of a ridge near Pickett’s Mill, some two miles northeast of New Hope Church. Brigadier General Hiram M. Granbury’s Brigade was placed on the right, Brigadier General Daniel Govan’s Arkansas Brigade in the center, and Brigadier General Lucius Polk’s Brigade on the left. Brigadier General Mark P. Lowry’s Brigade was in reserve. Cleburne put Swett’s Mississippi Battery and one section of Key’s Arkansas Battery between the brigades of Govan and Polk, while the remaining section of Keys guns was directed into position between Govan and Granbury.

Howard’s force was made up of Brigadier General Thomas J. Wood’s 3rd Division, IV Corps and Brigadier General Richard W. Johnson’s 1st Division, XIV Corps. They fought their way through the dense undergrowth, arriving in the vicinity of Pickett’s Mill on May 27. Thinking he was beyond the end of Johnston’s army, Howard sent a not very convincing message back to Union headquarters:

 

    “I am now turning the enemy’s right flank – I think.”

 

At 4:30 p. m., he advanced his men in column of brigades, the same formation Hooker had used. Expecting to come upon the unprotected Rebel flank, Howard’s troops walked into the waiting arms of Cleburne’s elite Division. The Federal brigades went in one at a time and were repelled with heavy losses. Cleburne himself described the attack on Granbury’s Texans:

“The enemy advanced in numerous and constantly reinforced lines. His men displayed a courage worthy of an honorable cause, pressing in steady throngs within a few paces of our men, frequently exclaiming, ‘AH! DAMN YOU, WE HAVE CAUGHT YOU WITHOUT YOUR LOGS NOW!’ Granbury’s men, needing no logs, were awaiting them with calm determination, and as they appeared upon the slope, slaughtered them with deliberate aim.”

 

The attack fizzled by 7:00 p. m., but intermittent firing continued till about 10:00 p. m. when Cleburne, having had enough, ordered Granbury to clear the enemy from his front. Granbury’s men fiXEd bayonets and leapt into the darkness, capturing two hundred thirty-two of the surprised Yankees and scattering the rest. Howard’s total casualties numbered seventeen hundred thirty-two. Richard Johnson and Howard himself were both wounded. Although vastly outnumbered by the Federal force, Cleburne lost only four hundred forty-eight men. Neither Stewart’s Division at New Hope Church, nor Cleburne’s Division at Pickett’s Mill had fought from behind fortification. At midnight, French was ordered to move his division to the right and relieve the division of Major General Carter Stevenson, which took till 4:00 a. m.. In that place they were subjected to a tremendous amount of musket and artillery fire which continued through the day and into the night. On May 28, Hoods Corps was withdrawn from the line and sent on a flanking march to the East to attack the Federal left flank that both Hood and Johnston believed to be unsupported. On arriving at his destination, Hood found the Yankees firmly entrenched and decided not to attack.

Sherman, after suffering two defeats at the hands of Johnston’s determined veterans, decided he would have no decisive victory in the Georgia wilderness and ordered a return to the railroad. He was so disgusted by the whole affair that he neglected to mention the Battle of Pickett’s Mill in either his reports or in his post war memoirs. He had this to say about the state of Georgia:

 

“All of Georgia, except the cleared bottoms, is densely wooded, with few roads, and at any point an enterprising enemy can, in a few hours with axes and spades, make across our path formidable works, whilst his sharpshooters, spies and scouts, in the guise of peaceable farmers, can hang around us and kill our wagon men, messengers and couriers.”

 

Sherman took in the condition of his line, which now was stretched far too thin and the troop movements of the last two days had produced gaps here and there, whereas Johnston’s line was solid and heavily entrenched. Orders were given to begin a general shift to the East and a return to the railroad.

Johnston could feel the change in the alignment of the Yankee line and ordered Hardee to make a “reconnaissance in force” to determine the enemy’s disposition. Hardee delegated the job to Major General William B. Bate’s Division, with Red Jackson’s cavalry in support. Bate planned to send the cavalry around the Federal right while his three infantry brigades, those of Brigadier General Thomas B. Smith, Brigadier General Joseph H. Lewis, and Colonel Robert Bullock, moved forward toward Dallas.

The Federal Army of the Tennessee was in Hardee’s front at Dallas. Major General James B. McPherson had given orders to his troops to began the move eastward, but those in Bate’s front, Major General John A. “Blackjack” Logan’s XV Corps, had not moved and were still dug in behind their breastworks. Bate attacked Logan’s line with Bullock’s Florida Brigade and Lewis’ Kentucky Orphan Brigade. Through an error in communication, Smith’s Brigade did not advance with the rest. Though they fought gallantly, the Rebel troops were beaten back with heavy loss and Bate, realizing the Yankees were still there in force, called off the attack.

The fighting then deteriorated into trench warfare along the entire line and skirmishing continued round the clock. The rain which had begun on May 25 continued to fall as Johnston ordered a series of night attacks to prevent the Federals from withdrawing. The men of both sides suffered greatly from the heat. To add to their misery were the ever present yellow jackets, along with lice, chiggers (another local pest), and poisonous snakes. The number of men incapacitated by fevers and dysentery was on the increase.

On May 29, the men of Major De Aragon’s unit heard firing all night to their left as Confederate troops again assaulted McPherson’s line in seven separate attacks. While in the Dallas-New Hope line, Ector’s Brigade suffered thirty-one casualties, including Ector himself, who was seriously wounded on June 2. Command of the brigade temporarily fell to Colonel Young of the 9th Texas Infantry. Bad weather continued to be the rule as French later described the day:

 

“An awful thunderstorm came up, the peals of thunder were frightful, and the Yankees tried to drown it with mimic artillery, as if one at a time was not divertisement enough. Some people can’t be satisfied.”

 

By June 1, Federal troops finally reached the railroad at Acworth, Georgia. As they emerged from the tangled jungle, they saw for the first time the heights of Kennesaw Mountain. Sherman set up his headquarters at the town of Big Shanty (the present day town of Kennesaw), from which vantage point he enjoyed a full view of the spectacle:

 

“Kennesaw, the bold and striking twin mountain, lay before us, to our right, Pine Mountain, and beyond it in the distance, Lost Mountain. On each of these peaks the enemy had his signal station, the summits were crowned with batteries, and the spurs were alive with men busy in felling trees, digging pits, and preparing for the grand struggle impending. The scene was enchanting; too beautiful to be disturbed by the harsh clamor of war; but the Chattahoochee lay beyond, and I had to reach it.”

 

There was skirmishing at Kingston, Marietta, Big Shanty, Acworth, Pine Mountain, and Calhoun as Southern cavalry and sharpshooters made the invaders fight and die for every inch of Georgia soil they took. The fighting had become one continuous battle.

During the month of May, Sherman had lost over nine thousand men, but was soon reinforced by the nine thousand effectives of the XVII Corps. His forces now numbered 112,000. Johnston had suffered fewer casualties at about eighty-five hundred, but in the South, there were no longer any reinforcements to be had. The land had been drained of all her young men of military age. Johnston’s army now consisted of 82,000 with sixty thousand effectives. He was informed that Governor Brown of Georgia had authorized a division of state militia, and assigned Major General G. W. Smith to command them. Unfortunately, this force would not be ready for duty till the middle of the month.

Johnston, on June 4, ordered his army to withdraw to Lost Mountain, two miles north of Kennesaw Mountain. With the rain continuing to fall, the roads were a sea of mud and it took French’s Division seven hours to move six miles. They were finally in line of battle at Lost Mountain at 7:00 a. m. on June 5. The three corps formed a crescent with Hood’s corps on the right across the Western & Atlantic Railroad, Polk’s Corps in the center and Hardee’s Corps on the left at Lost Mountain. The line as it stood was somewhat difficult to defend efficiently, so the next few days, Johnston shifted to the east, and the line then ran with Hardee’s Corps at Gilgal Church, Polk’s Corps in the center at the Lattimer house, and Hood’s line ran east of the railroad to Brushy Mountain. Red Jackson’s cavalry held the left flank from Gilgal Church to Lost Mountain and Joe Wheeler protected the right. Kennesaw Mountain stood at their backs. French wrote the following observation:

 

     “The view from this lone mountain top is beautiful. It is about nine miles east of Marietta. It swells from the plain solitary and lone to the height of six hundred feet, affording a fine bird’s-eye view of the surrounding country. To the north the encampments of the enemy are spread out below, and from hundreds of campfires the blue smoke rises to float away as gently as though all were peaceful. Beneath this silver cloud that hangs around the mountain, there is an angry brow; the demons of war are there.”

 

On June 7, French received a series of verbal orders from members of Polk’s staff, pertaining to the disposition of the line, which ordered the division first to the extreme right at 10:00 a. m. and then to the left at 1:00 p. m. In trying to obtain better information, French came across Major General Loring trying to form his division on a center which seemed to move about. The sun went down without a resolution being found, so French elected to sleep on the matter, with the division where it was. He wrote the following in his journal:

 

     “Well! Just think of it! This staff of mine, unreasonable fellows, wish they were back in the trenches again, where, for about eight days, they were not troubled with orders.”

 

Finally, on June 9, French received orders (this time in writing) to follow Loring’s Division toward the railroad. The division got into position about dark, but at 2:00 a. m., French had to again change his line by moving Ector’s Brigade to the right. By June 13, it had rained for eleven days straight, and French noted the following:

 

     “If it keeps on, there will be a story told like unto that in the Bible, only it will read:

It rained forty days and it rained forty nights,

And the ark it rested on the Kennesaw Heights;

For to that place we are floating, it seems to me.”

 

The Federals advanced on Johnston’s line, closing the gap by moving forward in successive lines of fortifications. On June 11, they reached a point close enough for them to open fire with their artillery.

Bate’s Division, of Hardee’s Corps, was stationed on Pine Mountain, which stood some three hundred feet high and in a position to the front of the main line of the army. In the evening on June 13, Hardee expressed to Johnston concern about the vulnerability of his men in that place, being too far in advance to defend. The next morning, Johnston, along with Hardee and Polk, rode to the top of Pine Mountain so Johnston could himself inspect Bate’s position. Polk came along to make an assessment of the ground in front of his corps.

At 11:00 a. m., the three generals climbed atop some fortifications on the mountain to examine the Federal position in their front, some six hundred yards away. By unfortunate coincidence, Sherman happened to look in their direction, and seeing a group of what appeared to be general officers peering down at him, ordered two of his batteries to fire on them. They fired once, and then a second time, without doing any damage. The Confederate generals turned to leave, but Polk turned for one last look and as he did, a shell from a third salvo passed through his body from left to right, killing him instantly. The Bishop General, under whose command Major De Aragon had served for most of the war, was dead. General Johnston issued the following tribute:

 

“Comrades, you are called upon to mourn your first Captain, your oldest companion in arms. Lieutenant-General Polk fell today at the outpost of this army, the army he raised and commanded, in all of whose trials he shared, to all of whose victories he contributed. In this distinguished leader we have lost the most courteous of gentlemen, the most gallant of soldiers.”

 

The Yankees did indeed attack Bate’s Division at Pine Mountain that day, and were soundly repulsed. Johnston was concerned that his men might well be cut off and ordered the division withdrawn to a position in reserve. Following their departure, Federal troops occupying the mountain came upon the following note attached to a broken ramrod:

 

“You Yankee sons of bitches have killed our old General Polk.”

 

The next day, June 15, Sherman’s forces again advanced. Stoneman’s Federal cavalry moved on Lost Mountain, but was stopped by Red Jackson. McPherson advanced on the left, Thomas came up past Pine Mountain in the center, Hooker to the right, and Schofield to Hooker’s right. Hooker’s XX Corps attacked Cleburne’s Division at Gilgal Church and was driven back with heavy loss.

A force of some three thousand young boys and old men, the promised division of the Georgia Militia, were presented to the commander of the army for active service on June 16. Johnston assigned them to guard the bridges crossing the Chattahoochee River, freeing up the regular troops previously used for that duty. Also on that day, Federal troops had taken some high ground and from that vantage point, artillery fire raked Hardee’s line. Their guns delivered a barrage once at 10:00 a. m. and again at 3:00 p. m. This prompted Johnston to reposition Hardee’s line and he pulled his left back till Hardee’s entire corps ran in a nearly North – South alignment. The angle thus created in Johnston’s line was at the Lattimer house, a point defended by French’s Division. Ector’s Brigade was in the middle, with Cockrell’s Missourians on the left and Sear’s Mississippi Brigade on the right.

On June 18, French’s men came under attack as three Union divisions advanced on their line at the Lattimer House. Brigadier General John Newton’s 2nd Division, IV Corps approached in front, Brigadier General Thomas J. Wood’s 3rd Division on his right, and Brigadier General Absolam Baird’s 3rd Division, XIV Corps, on the left. Wood’s attack drove in Major General William H. T. Walker’s Division, of Hardee’s Corps, to the left of French’s line, and Yankee troops came in behind Cockrell’s position. They took possession of the Lattimer house as Ector’s skirmishers were driven in. The enemy advanced and rained fire on French’s line the entire day. By nightfall, French had lost two hundred fifteen men. Guibor’s Missouri Battery suffered higher casualties than they had during the entire siege of Vicksburg. The enemy’s infantry occupied a trench close in French’s front and their artillery fired on the line from two directions. Johnston realized the peril and withdrew French’s Division during the night. In the fighting at the Lattimer house, Sears Brigade had three killed, eleven wounded, and eleven missing. Cockrell lost seventeen killed, thirty-nine wounded and twenty-eight missing. In Ector’s brigade, eighteen were killed and thirty-six missing. Major De Aragon and the other surgeons of the brigade treated eighty wounded.

Johnston’s forces were stretched too thin and as the rain continued to fall, he pulled back two miles to Kennesaw Mountain. Sherman assumed Johnston would fall back beyond the Chattahoochee River and so he pushed forward the following day.

 

 

The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Kennesaw Mountain lay four miles from Marietta and only seventeen miles from Atlanta. It was two and one-half miles in length and consisted of three separate peaks. Big Kennesaw rose seven hundred feet above the plain with Little Kennesaw extending to the Southwest at four hundred feet, and a rocky knoll called Pigeon Hill rose two hundred feet above the Marietta Road. In 1864, Little Kennesaw was bare of timber, and from there one could see Lost Mountain, Pine Mountain, and the Allatoona range. On June 19, Johnston’s “Kennesaw Line” began with Hood’s Corps on the right at the railroad that skirted the base of Big Kennesaw. Polk’s Corps, temporarily under the command of Major General Loring, extended across Big Kennesaw, Little Kennesaw, and Pigeon Hill with the left resting on the Marietta Road. French’s Division, the left of Loring’s Corps, coupled with Walker’s Division, and from there Hardee’s Corps ran south. Jackson’s cavalry guarded the left flank and Wheeler’s the right.

Engineers built breastworks just below the crest on each peak and rifle pits lined the base. Johnston’s army  achieved the extraordinary feat of placing their artillery on the towering mountains. Lean, hard men, subsisting on little more than parched corn and salt pork, hauled the heavy guns up the nearly vertical slopes – one hundred men on each piece.

French’s line ran from the Burnt Hickory/Marietta road, starting on the left with Cockrell’s Brigade on Pigeon Hill. Sears’ Brigade, at this time commanded by Colonel W. S. Barry, continued to the right from the point where Pigeon Hill and Little Kennesaw met. Ector’s Brigade was in position on the crest of Little Kennesaw and connected with Walthall at the top of Big Kennesaw. The 9th Texas Infantry, as the skirmish line for Ector’s Brigade, was deployed in rifle pits at the base of Little Kennesaw.

Yankee forces began to press the left of Johnston’s line in another of Sherman’s never ending attempts to get behind the Rebel army. Sherman deployed his forces in front of Kennesaw Mountain with McPherson on his left and Thomas on the right. Thomas then sent Hooker and Schofield further to the right in order to  advance toward Marietta from the Southwest. In response, Johnston moved Hood’s Corps from the right of his line to the left to block Powder Springs Road. The Federal troops ran into Hood at a farm belonging to one Peter Valentine Kolb and assumed a defensive posture with forty cannon on a ridge overlooking Kolb’s property. True to his nature, Hood ordered an all out assault on the enemy position without consulting Johnston, thus committing one-third of the Southern army. Outnumbered fourteen thousand to eleven thousand, Hood’s men were beaten back with a loss of one thousand. The Yankee casualties were three hundred fifty.

On June 22, after falling for eighteen consecutive days, the rain finally stopped. Major General French took the opportunity to ride to the top of Little Kennesaw where he had positioned nine of his artillery pieces. The previous night, the enemy had moved the headquarters of some unidentified general officers close to the base of the mountain, and French observed them going about their morning activities, apparently secure in the belief that there was no threat directly above them. French ordered the powder reduced in several of the guns’ cartridges so that when fired the shells would drop down onto the unsuspecting Yankees below.  When he could hold back his gunners no longer, he permitted them to fire, creating the spectacle he later described in his book:

 

“They sprang to their feet, and stood not on the order of their going, but left quickly, every man for himself, and soon “their tents were all silent, their banners alone.” Like Sennacherib’s of old, and there was a deserted camp this day.”

 

Skirmishing persisted for several days as the enemy continued to edge to the Confederate left. Then, on June 25 at 10 a. m., French opened fire with his nine guns atop Little Kennesaw. The Federals responded with a tremendous barrage from forty guns along French’s front. Most shells landed harmlessly due to the great height of the Rebels position, but occasionally the random shot would drop on the troops while passing overhead, injuring some. This same day French received an order to hold Ector’s Brigade in reserve.

Sherman gave up on his attempt to flank Johnston’s line and ordered a frontal assault. Possibly he was frustrated by the endless rain and unusable roads, or Joe Johnston’s refusal to stand and fight a general engagement. He later offered the following explanation:

 

“I perceived that the enemy and our own officers had settled down into the conviction that I would not assault fortified lines … I wanted therefore, for the moral effect to make a successful assault against the enemy behind his breastworks and resolved to attempt it at that point where success would give the largest fruits of victory.”

 

Regardless of the reason, he issued “Special Field Order 28″ which called for assaults against both the right and left flanks, as well as the center, of the Confederate line, beginning at 8 A.M. on June 27. McPherson was to attack the southern slopes of Kennesaw Mountain on Johnston’s right, Thomas south of the Dallas Road, and Schofield on the Rebel left. Sherman later changed his mind and instructed Schofield to demonstrate along Powder Springs Road in Hood’s front rather than attack. Sherman’s order was issued as follows:

 

     “Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi,

In the Field, June 27, 1864.11:45 A. M.

     The army commanders will make full reconnoissances and preparations to attack the enemy in force on the 27th inst., at 8 A. M. precisely.

The commanding general will be on Signal Hill, and will have telegraphic communication with all the army commanders.

     1. Maj. Gen. Thomas will assault the enemy at any front near his center, to be selected by himself, and will make any changes in his troops necessary, by night, so as not to attract the attention of the enemy.

     2.Maj. Gen. McPherson will feign, by a movement of his cavalry and one division of his infantry, on his extreme left, approaching Marietta from the north, and using artillery freely, but will make his real attack a point south and west of Kennesaw.

     3. Maj. Gen. Schofield will feel to his extreme right and threaten that flank of the enemy, etc.

4.Each attacking column will endeavor to break a single point of the enemy’s line and make a secure lodgment beyond, and be prepared for following it up toward Marietta and the railroad in case of success.

By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman.”

 

The Union troops moved into position before dawn. McPherson assigned the job of attacking the Confederate right to Major General John A. “Blackjack”  Logan, commanding the XV Army Corps. Three brigades, five thousand five hundred strong, were placed astride Burnt Hickory Road opposite French’s line. From left to right, beginning at a gorge between Little Kennesaw and Pigeon Hill and extending south of the road, advanced the Brigades of Brigadier Generals Charles C. Walcutt, Giles A. Smith, and Joseph A. Lightburn.

Early that morning French took note of increased activity among the Yankee officers up and down the line. French and his staff seated themselves beneath a large rock between the cannon on the crest of Little Kennesaw and from that vantage point watched the enemy below. A few minutes before 8 a. m. all the guns in French’s front, between forty and fifty, opened up. Then, battery after battery along the enemy’s line began to fire, until all two hundred of Sherman’s guns were blazing away, signaling a general attack. The barrage lasted approximately twenty minutes, and at 8:15 a. m. the infantry advanced. French later wrote the following description:

 

“Presently, and as if by magic, there sprang from the earth a host of men, and in one long, waving line of blue the infantry advanced and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain began.”

 

Lightburn’s Brigade struck the green troops of the 63rd Georgia Infantry south of Burnt Hickory Road at the foot of Pigeon Hill. These native Georgians had never before seen combat, but stood their ground against an entire Yankee brigade until pushed back by the overwhelming numbers. They suffered one hundred casualties in furious hand-to-hand combat in their rifle pits. The other two Federal brigades hit Pigeon Hill itself, held by Cockrell’s Missouri Brigade.

From their vantage point at the top of Little Kennesaw, French and his staff could not see what was happening in their immediate front because of the dense undergrowth at the base of the mountain. There was, however, a clear view of the fighting along Burnt Hickory Road and in the distance, they could see the attack on Cheatham’s Division. French concluded that there was no interest in his position on the mountain and directed his artillery fire on the line assaulting Walker’s Division. For nearly an hour he enjoyed the rare view afforded him, but at 9 a. m. a courier arrived with a message from Cockrell stating that his line had been attacked in force.

Cockrell’s Brigade on Pigeon Hill received the onslaught of the Federal Brigades of Walcutt and Smith. The Yankee advance quickly ran down as the bluecoats struggled uphill over a terrain strewn with large boulders and clogged with thick underbrush. To further impede the enemy the Rebels had constructed “chevaux-de-frise” (spiked logs) in their front. With the Federal troops thirty to forty paces behind, Cockrell’s skirmishers executed a fighting withdrawal through the deep ravine on Cockrell’s right, where the fighting became hand to hand among the rocks. General French, when he learned of the attack sent two regiments of Ector’s Brigade to Cockrell’s aid and they came into position in the approximate center of Cockrell’s line. The Missouri Brigade, along with Sears’ Mississippians and Rebel artillery rained death down on the Yankees in the ravine who found themselves trapped. Meanwhile, a second courier from Cockrell came to French asking for reinforcements. French gathered up the remainder of Ector’s Brigade and accompanied them to Pigeon Hill, but by the time they arrived, the fighting had ceased. The following was taken from Brigadier General Cockrell’s report:

 

“The enemy appeared in force on the west edge of the open field on my left, but were quickly driven back into the woods by a few volleys from the left of my line. They also appeared in force at the base of the mountain in front of my left regiment, but were easily kept back in the woods. In front of Colonel McKown’s regiment, the second from my left, they made an assault in force and succeeded in getting within twenty-five paces of the works, and by secreting themselves behind rocks and other shelter held this position for fifteen or twenty minutes, and were distinctly heard by my officers in the main line to give the command “fix bayonets.” They advanced up the gorge along the line as far as my right, and succeeded in gaining the spur of the main mountain in front of my right and on General Sears’ left at a point higher up than my main line, and for some time had a plunging fire on my works. All attempts on my line were handsomely repulsed with loss to them.”

 

At 9 a. m., Major General Thomas, with eight thousand men in five brigades, attacked Johnston’s line some two and one-half miles to the South. The brigades of Colonels Daniel McCook, and John C. Mitchell of Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis’ Division, along with that of Brigadier General Charles G. Harker of Brigadier General John Newton’s Division, attacked Major General Benjamin Cheatham’s Division on a hill which formed a “V” shaped protrusion in the line. To Cheatham’s right, Major General Patrick Cleburne’s Division was assaulted by the Brigades of Brigadier Generals Nathan Kimball and George D. Wagner, both of Newton’s Division.

The left (South) side of the salient in Cheatham’s line was held by Brigadier General George Maney’s Brigade. The right was held by the brigade led by none other than Major De Aragon’s old commander, Alfred J. Vaughan. Vaughan, now a Brigadier General, had replaced Preston Smith when the latter was killed at Chickamauga the previous fall. De Aragon’s old regiment, the 13th Tennessee Infantry (consolidated with the 154th Senior Tennessee Infantry since the Battle of Murfreesborough), was in position on the far right of the brigade next to Mebane’s Battery where Vaughan’s line joined that of Brigadier General Lucius Polk of Cleburne’s Division. Tennesseans all, these men had been at war for more than three years. Their home state had been completely overrun leaving their homes and loved ones to the tender mercies of the enemy. Long gone were the physically frail and the weak of heart and spirit among their ranks, and the men who grimly stood that morning awaiting the invader’s assault were among the most formidable fighters to be found in either army.

The Yankee forces that advanced on the Confederate line were roughly equal in number to those awaiting them behind the fortifications on the hill. Once again, as they had in nearly every engagement they initiated since invading North Georgia, Sherman’s commanders deployed their troops using heavy infantry tactics. J. C. Davis sent the brigades of Dan McCook and John Mitchell in “columns of regiments”, i. e., one regiment behind the other in regimental fronts of two hundred to two hundred fifty yards ten to twelve ranks deep. As they approached the point of the angle, the Tennesseans of Vaughan’s and Maney’s Brigade’s shouted “Chickamauga,” as the Federal troops themselves had done while attacking Missionary Ridge seven months earlier.

Charging bluecoats reached the breastworks, but with tremendous loss in dead and wounded as fire from Cheatham’s line mowed them down. Dan McCook climbed atop a parapet at the point held by the 1st/27th Consolidated Tennessee Infantry, and fell mortally wounded while urging his troops forward. Those still alive were too few in number to carry the works, but under the deadly fire coming from the Rebels, they were unable to retreat and feverishly threw up protective earthworks a mere thirty feet away.

Harker struck the point where Cheatham’s and Cleburne’s lines joined, but his attack quickly fell apart under fire from Vaughan’s Brigade. The guns of Mebane’s Battery had been hidden by piles of brush and the artillerymen held their fire till the enemy had approached to within a few paces. Scores were cut down when they opened fire. Harker himself fell dead within fifteen yards of Cleburne’s line.

Thomas’ attack was everywhere repulsed. As the temperature rose to one hundred degrees, the fighting ground to a halt, and truces were called along the line in order to rescue the wounded that were in danger of being burned alive by brush fires ignited during the battle. The Federals started a tunnel intending on placing explosives under the Confederate breastworks, but were ordered to fall back before it was completed. The hill that was so gallantly defended by the men of Tennessee, was known from that time on as “Cheatham Hill, “and the salient where the troops of Vaughan’s and Maney’s Brigades took the brunt of Thomas’ attack was aptly christened “The Dead Angle.”

Sherman’s direct assault on Johnston’s “Kennesaw Line” had cost him dearly. Attacking Union troops had been thrown back with great loss at all points but one. Schofield had some success pushing back Hood’s line. Sherman reported his casualties at three thousand, but Johnston’s men estimated the number to be seventy five hundred, based on the number of bodies they counted in their front. Confederate losses numbered five hundred fifty-two, with one hundred eighty-six in French’s Division, one hundred ninety-five in Cheatham’s, and one hundred forty-one in all other units.

Once again, Sherman moved his army further to the south, making it necessary for Johnston to abandon his mountaintop fortifications to keep his army between the enemy and Atlanta. On July 2, French received orders at 1:00 p. m. to withdraw to Smyrna Church, where breastworks had already been prepared.


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