May 16th, 1864. In the early morning hours of the 16th, the Confederate Army slipped away across the the Oostanaula River and the supply wagons were moving south. The day before, the Union Army had established a bridgehead at Lay’s Ferry. On the morning of the 16th, the Army of the Tennessee, began it’s advance from Lay’s Ferry. Sweeny’s 2nd Division of Dodge’s XVI Corps was the leading element of the advance, the remainder of McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee followed Dodge’s Corps. They were headed toward Rome Crossroads, where the Rome-Calhoun Road and the Sugar Valley-Adairsville Road met. To meet this threat to the Confederate flank, General Johnston sent General Hardee’s Corps. Hardee’s Corp formed up in the woods south of the road and used Oothkalooga Creek to anchor the right of their line which extended westward parallel to the Rome-Calhoun Road. General Clebrune’s Division held the left of the line and General Walkers Division held the right of the line. Bate’s Division was held in reserve.
As the Federal troops approached the crossroads, Hardee’s line of battle sprinted out of the woods in a surprise attack, catching the Federal skirmishers off guard and pushing them across the road. Hardee used his artillery to target the Federal supply wagons that were following the advance. Hardee and his Southern Soldiers held fast to their position until the early hours of the morning of the 17th. This allowed enough time for the Confederate wagon trains to make it through Calhoun and move southward to Adairsville.