On May 9th, 1864
General McPherson and The Army of the Tennessee, reached Snake Creek Gap on May 9th, thus setting up a flanking movement in an attempt to attack the Confederate rear and stop their retreat from Dalton. General Sherman had hoped that General Johnston would turn the Confederate Army away from Dalton to attack McPherson and if General Geary had successfully taken Dug Gap he would have been in a position to hit General Johnston’s flank and the remainder of the Union Army could attack the Confederate rear. What Sherman wanted and what he got, are two different things. Upon reaching Snake Creek Gap, McPherson was ordered to attack the Confederates holding the town of Resaca.
McPherson sent his skirmishers through the gap and saw a considerable and extensive line of earth works between the gap and Resaca. He also saw Southern troops and over estimated their numbers. He pulled back and did not push the attack. General Sherman was furious at the lost opportunity to decimate the Confederate Army and possibly end the campaign there and push on to Atlanta with out much of a fight. Had McPherson attacked, he would only have found a fairly small number of Confederate troops protecting Resaca, some of which were cadets from the Georgia Military Academy in Marietta. His hesitation allowed enough time for the Confederate Army to send reinforcements to Resaca.
Also on May 9th, General Sherman ordered General Schofield’s, Army of the Ohio, to attack the Confederate line in Crow Creek Valley, just north of Dalton. The Southern soldiers put up a tough fight and repulsed multiple attempts by the Union Army to take their position. Rowan’s Ga. Battery was positioned on Potato Hill and the remnants of the Battery and Infantry works are still visible today. It has been turned into a small park with a trail up the hill to the works. Here is a link for an article about the new parks. Dalton Daily Citizen