Confederate Crossing of the Etowah River, May 20th, 1864

May 20th, 1864:  General Johnston and the Confederate Army withdrew from Cassville and on the evening and night of the 20th they crossed the Etowah River and began heading in the direction of Allatoona Pass.  General Sherman decided to rest his army and they stayed on the north side of the river for the next three days, where they were resting and restocking supplies.

Having traveled through this area as a young officer, General Sherman knew the dangers of approaching the Confederate Army, at the heavily fortified Allatoona Pass.  He formulated a plan to leave his railroad supply line and move southwest toward Dallas and try to out flank Johnston and take Marietta before the Confederate Army could get there.
The railroad depot at Cartersville.  During the retreat from Cassville and the crossing of the Etowah River, Confederate soldiers fought a hasty rearguard action in Cartersville.  They used the depot as cover and knocked out bricks to make shooting ports.  This action delayed the Federal advance and allowed the Confederates to cross the Etowah River.
Looking south along side the Cartersville train depot.
The original railroad bridge that the Confederates used to cross the Etowah once stood on these stone pillars.  After crossing the bridge, the southern soldiers burned the bridge to slow down the Federal advance. 
After the Confederates burned the bridge, General Sherman’s Engineers were able to rebuild it as was as construct pontoon bridges across the river in various location.  In the fall of 1864, just prior to embarking on his March to the Sea, Sherman had the bridge dismantled to prevent the Confederacy of making use of it and also severing his supply lines to Chattanooga. 

Author: Clint Brownlee

My name is Clint Brownlee and I am a Photographer in Woodstock, Georgia with over 20 years of photographic experience in many different aspects of photography. I have photographed everything from weddings, special events and portraits to published materials, but my passion has always been Fine Art and Nature Photography. I have had a several shows at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia and The Roswell Visual Arts Center in Roswell, Georgia. I now sell through my website:

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