May 25th, 1864: Battle of New Hope Church

May 25, 1864:  General Hood had successfully moved his Corps from Allatoona Pass to the area of the crossroads at New Hope Church.  New Hope Church is located several miles Northeast of Dallas.  General Hood had his men deploy along a ridge line looking north in the direction of the Union advance.  Hood deployed Stevenson’s Division on his right, Hindman’s Division on the left, and Stewart’s Division held the center.  When Stewart deployed to the center he placed Stovall’s Georgia Brigade on his left abutting Hindman’s right.  Stovall’s Brigade was deployed in the area that is now the cemetery.  It was a cemetery then, but has grown in size over the years.   My relatives in the 42nd Ga. were positioned some where along Stovall’s line.  Stovall’s Brigade decided against entrenching in the cemetery and formed an open line of battle.  The remainder of the units on the line entrenched.  Multiple artillery units were also deployed along the line.

General Hooker’s XX Corps was moving south from Burnt Hickory where they had stopped for the previous night.  Geary’s 2nd Division was leading the Union column as it approached New Hope crossroads.  Geary was met with stiff resistance from Stewart’s skirmishers, but was able to drive them back and then came under heavy fire.  He realized he had met a large Confederate force and began the process of digging in and sent word for the rest of the Army to move up quickly.  Sherman scoffed at the idea of there being a large Confederate force near the area, but he was soon proven wrong.  As more Federal troops moved up, Geary formed his Brigades to take the Union Center, Williams’ 1st Division moved to the Union Right and Butterfield’s 3rd Division took up the Union Left.  As the Union soldiers advanced toward the Confederate line, the skies opened up and poured down a heavy rain with thunder and lightning. Williams’ 1st Division was the first to reach the Confederate lines and suffered heavy losses.  Losing approximately 800 men in the opening few minutes.  The remaining Divisions suffered a similar fate with a total loss of approximately 1600. Many were pinned down under such heavy fire that they sought shelter in a deep ravine on the battlefield and were unable to retreat until darkness fell.  They later nick named the ravine the “Hell Hole”.  That term has also been used to describe the general area and conditions all along the Dallas, New Hope, Pickett’s Mill line.  Howard’s IV Corps was called up to support Hooker’s Corp, but arrived to late to be able to have any influence on the battle.  The Union Army then began the process of entrenching.

During the battle, Confederate General Johnston sent a courier to Stewart asking if he needed any support.  Stewart replied with confidence, “My own men will hold the position”, and they did.  He is reported to have been riding back and forth along the line during the heat of the battle, to rally his men. Confederate losses were around 300 to 400.  Skirmishing continued throughout the next day.

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Looking west along the hilltop of the cemetery with New Hope Church in the background.  The Confederates of Stovall’s Brigade were holding the line in the cemetery and out of respect the refused to entrench there.  They fought in the open.
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Looking from the Confederate line to the north where the Federal troops were advancing from.
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This hill top was part of the Confederate line and today serves as a resting place for lost Confederate soldiers.
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Looking south into the cemetery.  The Confederate line would have been along the low hill in the upper part of the cemetery.
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This is the area that the Federal soldiers would have needed to cross to reach the Confederate lines.  At the time of he battle, it would have been more open and most likely farm land.
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Part of the Hell Hole, a ravine between the Federal and Confederate lines where many Federal soldiers retreated to.  Many died here or had to stay in the cover of the ravine until nightfall in order to survive returning to their own lines.

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Part of the Hell Hole, a ravine between the Federal and Confederate lines where many Federal soldiers retreated to.  Many died here or had to stay in the cover of the ravine until nightfall in order to survive returning to their own lines._DSC0004.bw

Part of the Hell Hole, a ravine between the Federal and Confederate lines where many Federal soldiers retreated to.  Many died here or had to stay in the cover of the ravine until nightfall in order to survive returning to their own lines.

 

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Confederate earthworks located behind and to the side of New Hope church.  The monument in the background was placed in remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the battle at New Hope Church.
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The earthworks with New Hope Church in the background.  The Cemetery is across the road on the far side of the church.
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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: www.clintbrownleephotography.com

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