July 19th, 1864

July 19th, 1864:

It is General Hood’s first full day in command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.  He is working to get a grip on the tactical situation and is making plans for a fight near Atlanta.  He plans to attack the Federal Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General Thomas, after it crosses Peachtree Creek and before they can entrench.  Once the Army of the Cumberland is pushed back to the Chattahoochee River and has surrendered or been crushed, he plans to turn the Confederate Army toward the east and attack the Federals east of Atlanta.

At General Sherman’s urging, General Thomas has sped up his southward movement and has the majority of the army across Peachtree Creek.  Sherman has also ordered him to send Howard’s Corps to the east to reinforce Schofield and McPherson should the Confederate Army turn on them.

Unbeknownst to General Hood, McPherson is already in Decatur and has begun to destroy the railroad tracks and occupy the city.  Garrard’s Cavalry has been sent as far east as he deems prudent to destroy as much of the railroad towards Augusta as he can.  General Schofield an his Army of the Ohio are linking up with McPherson in Decatur.

Nearly continuous skirmishing takes place all along the Federal advance.

During the day of July 19th, General Geary’s 2nd Division of the 20th Corps, Army of the Cumberland (US), crossed Peachtree Creek in this area via foot bridges.  They were support by a dozen pieces of artillery and heavy infantry support.  Logs that had been prepared earlier were brought forward and several foot bridges were built under fire.  The 3rd Brigade crossed under fire a seized the ridge south of the creek and held the bridgehead until the remaining two Brigades could cross.  By daybreak on the 20th, two more bridges had been built with freshly cut wagon roads to bring supplies forward.
Atlanta Memorial Park now sits in the area the Geary’s Division crossed under fire to establish their bridgehead.  They would have crossed here from right to left and worked their way up to the low ridge line.
Two Brigades of General Palmer’s 14th Corps, Army of the Cumberland(US), crossed Peachtree Creek about a half mile west of Howell’s Mill after two days of heavy skirmishing.  On the night of the 19th, Two Brigades of General Baird’s 3rd Division of the 14th Corps, Army of the Cumberland(US), made a night crossing hear Peachtree Creek at the site of Howell’s Mill.
Railroad tracks of Stone Mountain.  Throughout the 18th and 19th of July 1864, Garrard’s Cavalry(US) along with General Lightburn’s 2nd Brigade, of the 2nd Division of the 15th Corps, Army of the Tennessee(US), worked diligently to destroy the railroad that lead west to Atlanta and east to Augusta.  They destroyed several miles of tracks, 200 bales of cotton and the stores of the Quartermaster and Commissary that were supplying the Confederates in Atlanta.
The Hamilton House, Stone Mountain.  This structure was built in 1836 and was used as a hotel until the Civil War and was later used as a Hospital.  Because of its use as a Hospital, it was saved from the destruction of the Federal troops.
The Stillwell House, Stone Mountain.  This structure built in 1820 served as a Confederate Hospital during the Civil War and has just recently opened as a the Stillwell House Bed and Breakfast.
The Stone Mountain Cemetery contains many Confederate graves. 150 of them are unknown soldiers who died here in the local hospitals from their wounds of diseases.  Some of the died skirmishing with Garrard’s Cavalry and Lightburn’s Brigade as they came to destroy the railroads.

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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