May 28th, 1864: Battle of Dallas, Georgia

May 28th, 1864:

After suffering heavy losses and gaining no ground since the Battle of New Hope Church on May 25th, General Sherman decided to begin withdrawing from the Dallas-New Hope line and make his way back to the railroad where the supply trains could reach him.  Sherman had ordered General McPherson to begin moving his Army of the Tennessee, who were entrenched in Dallas, back to the east and toward the railroad near Acworth.

Confederate General Johnston was unsure of Sherman’s intentions and his troop movements.  He ordered General Hardee to do a reconnaissance by force to try and ascertain the strength of McPherson’s position.  General Hardee selected Bate’s Division supported by Jackson’s Cavalry to carry out the mission.  General Bate’s was going to have just one brigade attack and if they found the Federal lines to be weak they would signal the remainder of the units to attack.  The first brigade in made fairly good headway and then was repulsed by heavy fire.  They found the Federals still heavily entrenched and still in place.  Even though McPherson had given orders to begin moving out, his units in this section of the line had not started their movement.  The signal to attack was not given.  In the turmoil and uncertainty of combat, Lewis’ Kentucky Orphan Brigade thought they had missed the signal.  He sent an officer down the line to see if the other unit had already attacked, when the officer arrived he found their portion of the line empty and assumed they had moved forward to attack.  They had only moved out of their works a short distance in order to be more ready for the attack when the signal came.  After hearing the report from the officer, Lewis orders the his Orphan Brigade to attack.  Upon seeing this the Florida Brigade began their attack on the left of the line while Lewis was on the right of the line.  They were supported by an artillery battery.  Both brigades fought hard and made it close to the Federal lines.  They were met with heavy fire from fully entrenched Union soldiers.  When Bates realized the Federal troops were still in position and still there in full force, he called off the attack.  The orders to retreat were late reaching the Orphan Brigade and for a period of time they were fighting their way forward unsupported.

The outcome of this battle is sort of the opposite of what happened at Pickett’s Mill.  The Confederate losses were around 1600 and the Federal losses were around 400.  Lewis’ Orphan Brigade suffered over 50% losses.
Federal troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Davis marched into Dallas on the May 26th, 1864 via this road.  They had left Resaca on May 16th and marched to Rome and then marched from Rome to Dallas.  Upon entering Dallas, they entrenched along what is now Hwy 92 to the east of the city.
Henderson House.  This home served as General McPherson’s Headquarters during the occupation and battle at Dallas.  General Sherman visited McPherson here as well.  The home was also used as a hospital and wounded southern soldiers that had been captured were left here in the care of the home owners.  Currently it houses a law office and the current occupant showed a box of bones that had been found in the cellar.  It was very obvious that they were human remains and they had very clean cuts and appeared to have been from amputations.
To the west of Dallas the right of the Federal lines moved along this low hill and made a short salient angle to the north west (camera right) to protect their flank.  This view is looking south and from here we would be looking at the back the Federal line.
The left of the Confederate lines ended here at what is now Paulding County High School.  There was low hill here, but the construction of the school has changed the landscape significantly.  From this angle we would be looking into the faces of the front lines of the Confederates.
The remnants of Confederate trenches used by the famous Kentucky Orphan Brigade located on a ridge to the east of the center of Dallas.
Ellesbury Mountain is located just east of Dallas on Dallas – Acworth Hwy.  In a late effort to support Bate’s Division as they attacked the Federal Lines, Cheatham’s Division was sent over Ellesbury Mountain to attack the Federal lines in their front.  The Confederate line from New Hope Church reached the eastern flank (far to camera left) of the mountain.

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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