Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign

By Earl J. Hess | Go to book overview

Four. The Fifteenth Corps Attack

The sun rose in a clear sky early on the morning of June 27, and the temperature began to climb with it. Before long it was very warm and became uncomfortably hot before the day was out. Sherman advised McPherson to have plenty of orderlies at Army of the Tennessee headquarters to carry messages to all parts of his line. “Keep me well advised, as I must work the flanks according to the progress in the center,” he told his friend and subordinate. Signal officers also maintained a close watch on developments from posts along Logan’s sector.1

Federal guns roared into action at 6:00 A.M.; fifty-one pieces alone were arrayed along McPherson’s front. As they pounded the enemy, Logan superintended the preparations for his corps attack. Three brigades made ready to go in. Brigadier General Charles C. Walcutt’s Second Brigade of Harrow’s Fourth Division, with 1,500 men, aimed at the saddle between Pigeon Hill and Little Kennesaw. To his right, Brigadier General Giles A. Smith’s First Brigade of Brigadier General Morgan L. Smith’s Second Division, with 2,000 men, aimed directly at Pigeon Hill. Still farther to the right, south of Burnt Hickory Road, Brigadier General Joseph A. J. Lightburn’s Second Brigade of Smith’s division, with 2,000 men, aimed at the flat land south of Pigeon Hill. McPherson’s army threw only 5,500 troops into the attack. Walcutt was scheduled to advance first, and the other two brigades would set out when they heard the sound of firing.2

Federal officers tried to prepare their men for the ordeal to come. Giles A. Smith required the presence of the top three officers in each of his regiments to attend a conference at brigade headquarters. They assembled “under a hickory tree” at 7:00 A.M. Captain Alvah Stone Skilton of the FiftySeventh Ohio remembered what Smith told them. “‘This column has been selected as a forlorn hope and we are expected to carry the enemy’s works in our front.’” According to Skilton, Smith warned that their men would have to hold whatever ground they occupied at the end of the attack until help

-71-

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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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