The Battle of Resaca: Atlanta Campaign 1864, Part 1

by Brett Schulte on October 25, 2005 · 0 comments

The Battle of Resaca: Atlanta Campaign 1864
by Philip L. Secrist

Philip Secrist’s book on the Battle of Resaca is unique. No other books on the Battle exist. That alone makes it valuable, at least until a larger, more definitive monograph is written. Going into this one I don’t know too much about it. The book looks rather thin at 102 pages. On the plus side, there seems to be quite a few maps, including some in color. Most have modern topographical lines with unit positions superimposed over top. This is okay, but since an Interstate Highway now runs through the battlefield the topography has changed tremendously in that area. However, the rest of the battlefield apparently remains in pristine condition. The forest is tough to see except on the color maps, but since this is modern tree cover it doesn’t matter much anyway. The units are rarely displayed lower than Division level, however, with the exception of the Blakeslee maps. Some of the maps are pretty small and a little hard to read, but this is a minor flaw. The book was published by Mercer University Press, and appears to be somewhat of an effort to make Civil War enthusiasts aware of the Preservation fight at Resaca. Part I of the book focuses on the battle, while Part II focuses on Resaca after the fighting ended, from 1864 to the present day. Since the book was so short, I’ve already read it in its entirety over the last two days. I hope to cover an overview of the book today, Part I tomorrow, Part II on Thursday, and have a review up Friday. I haven’t forgotten about Tempest at Ox Hill, and should have some posts on it as well.

by Tom Watson, Chairman, Mercer University Press
In the Introduction, Tom Watson discusses the book, the battle, and the author. Watson gives a short overview of how Sherman and Johnston came to fight at the little village of Resaca. Philip Secrist is well-qualified to write this book, having been a frequent visitor to the Battlefield since 1958. He originally wrote Part I as an article in the Spring 1978 issue of Atlanta Historical Society Journal entitled Resaca: For Sherman a Moment of Truth. Watson also relates that Secrist is a noted relic hunter and Chairman of the Georgia Civil War Commission.

In the Foreword, Secrist describes his very first trip to Resaca back in the late 1950’s. At that point, the Interstate hadn’t been started yet, and the battlefield was in pristine condition. He says that the artillery shells were so numerous that you could pick them up right off of the ground. In the early 1960’s, I-75 destroyed a portion of the battlefield, crossing Union or Confederate works four separate times. Secrist has been a frequent visitor ever since. Part I was described in the Introduction, but Secrist takes a moment to describe Part 2 in some more detail here. Secrist writes of his role in the Georgia Civil War Commission as Chairman, and their preservation efforts at Resaca. For more information on the Battle, visit the Friends of Resaca Battlefield web site.

Part 1Part 2Part 3

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