July 18th, 1864

July 18, 1864:

General Joseph E. Johnston is officially relieved of command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.  President Davis promote Lt. General John. B. Hood to be the new commander of the Army of Tennessee.  Davis advised Johnston the he was relieved of command due to his inability to stop the Federals from reaching Atlanta and that he did not have confidence that he could prevent the Federals from capturing Atlanta and destroying the Army of Tennessee.  Johnston was very well liked among his troops and many were in disbelief.

This change in command has come at a crucial time as the Federals have just crossed the Chattahoochee River.  The Army of the Cumberland crosses at Pace’s Ferry and Power’s Ferry and are advancing toward Peachtree Creek.  General McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee, has crossed the river at Roswell and has been moving south through Dunwoody toward the Augusta Railroad line near Decatur.  They reach it on the 18th and destroy about four miles of it in between Stone Mountain and Decatur, in an attempt to disrupt the supplies, and possibly reinforcements, coming from the east. McPherson then turns west and moves towards Decatur.

Wheelers Cavalry had been skirmishing with the Federals approaching Peachtree Creek for several days, but today they burn the bridges over Peachtree Creek at Moore’s Mill, Howell’s Mill, and on Ridgewood Road.  They then move south east to intercept McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee near Decatur.

The pieces are nearly in place for the first of two major battles to happen on the outskirts of Atlanta.  Soon the two armies will clash in the Battle of Peachtree Creek and then two days later at the Battle of Atlanta.

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Peachtree Creek, once a strategic obstacle for the advancing Federals, now sits nestled between neighborhoods and park.
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Moore’s Mill at Peachtree Creek.  The original wooden bridge would have been located to the left of the current bridge.  After encountering the advancement of Federal troops, Confederate skirmishers were forced across the bridge and burned it in an attempt to stall the Federal advance.
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Another bridge across Peachtree Creek, here at Howell’s Mill, was burned by Confederate skirmishers in an attempt to slow down the Federals as they moved on Atlanta.
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As General McPherson’s men moved from Roswell they passed through Dunwoody where they split their columns to take advantage of multiple roads in an effort to move faster.  Here along Johnson Ferry Road at Nancy Creek, Dodge’s 16th Corps, on the right of McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee(US), linked up with General Cox’s 3nd Division of the 23rd Corps, Army of the Ohio.  They camped here along the creek for a night before proceeding to Decatur. 
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Part of Dodge’s 16th Corps camped here at Ashford Dunwoody Road and Nancy Creek.  Now a large athletic complex covers their camp.
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Logan’s 15th Corps and Blair’s 17th Corps moved down what is now N. Shallowford Road. They camped along Nancy Creek in the area of I-285 and N. Shallowford Road.
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Nestled in a small copse of trees off of Peachtree Road in Brookhaven, the Solomon Goodwin House is the oldest structure in Dekalb County and also the oldest inside the “Perimeter (I-285).  The oldest portion was built in 1831 and expanded to it’s current size in the 1840’s.  The home was a landmark on maps at the time and both Hascall’s and Cox’s Divisions of the 23rd Corps, Army of the Ohio, passed by here on their movement south.  There are still dents in the mantel from rifle butts. 
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Now the clubhouse for the Peachtree Golf Club, the Samuel House Plantation was a landmark for the advancing Federals.  Cox’s 3rd Division of the General Schofield’s 23rd Corps, Army of the Ohio, camped here on the plantation grounds.  General Schofield, along with General Sherman were accompanying the Division, made their Headquarters here.
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Browning’s Court House was another area landmark on McPherson’s route to Decatur.  Originally located at the intersection of Lavista Road and Fellowship Road, it has been moved to property owned by the county in order to preserve the structure.  Logan’s 15th Corps moved to this point to support elements of Garrard’s Cavalry as them moved to destroy the railroad tracks in nearby Stone Mountain.
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The railroad in Decatur looking east towards Stone Mountain and on to Augusta.  This was McPherson’s goal.  He was charged with destroying the railroad in order to prevent supplies and reinforcements from reaching Atlanta from the east. 
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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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