Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign

By Earl J. Hess | Go to book overview

One. The Road to Kennesaw

Sherman began the campaign against Atlanta with an army group consisting of troops from three different departments within his Military Division of the Mississippi. Major General George H. Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland, the largest of the three field armies under his direct control, fielded more than sixty thousand men and 130 guns. Major General James B. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee brought more than twentyfour thousand men and 96 guns to the army group, with another corps on the way to bolster its ranks. Major General John M. Schofield brought more than thirteen thousand men from his Department of the Ohio, along with 28 guns. Although only one corps in strength, Schofield’s command was designated the Army of the Ohio.1

On the opposing side, Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston mustered about sixty thousand men and 144 guns in the Army of Tennessee. His troops were dug in on high, dominating ridges around the railroad city of Dalton, Georgia, about thirty miles south of Chattanooga. The Confederates constructed only light earthworks atop Rocky Face Ridge to the west of town and Hamilton Ridge to the east because those ridges had narrow tops studded with rocky outcroppings. But the line that connected the two ridges across the valley between them had a deep trench and tall, thick parapets. The Confederates heavily fortified Mill Creek Gap, a passage in Rocky Face Ridge through which the railroad linking Chattanooga and Atlanta ran, and they had positioned troops at Dug Gap about four miles south of Mill Creek Gap.2

But Johnston had neglected to guard Snake Creek Gap, an important pass through Rocky Face Ridge about fifteen miles south of Dalton. Thomas had originated the idea to use Snake Creek Gap as a way to flank Johnston out of his position at Dalton, after a large demonstration he had led to the area to divert Confederate attention away from Sherman’s raid against the rail center of Meridian, Mississippi, in February 1864. This demonstration

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Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Table and Maps ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • One- The Road to Kennesaw 1
  • Two- Kolb’s Farm 28
  • Three- Sherman Decides to Strike 47
  • Four- The Fifteenth Crops Attack 71
  • Five- The Fourth Corps Attack 96
  • Six- The Fourteenth Corps Attack 113
  • Seven- The Residue of a Long Day 138
  • Eight- Along the Kennesaw Line 165
  • Nine- Flanking 188
  • Conclusion 215
  • Orders of Battle 227
  • Appendix- Kennesaw after the War 235
  • Notes 263
  • Bibliography 305
  • Index 319
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