The Battle of Peachtree Creek

July 20th, 1864:

As Hood prepares for his first tactical engagement since taking command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, he is hoping that General Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland has been unable to prepare any earthworks since crossing Peachtree Creek.  Hood is also having to keep an eye on McPherson and Schofield as they advance from Decatur toward Atlanta.  The attack is planned for 1:00pm, but for various reasons it does not commence until 4:00pm.

Hood has deployed Stewart’s Corps (formerly commanded by the late Lt. Gen. L. Polk) to his left.  Stewart’s Corps consist of French’s Division on the far left connecting to the Western and Atlantic Railroad near Casey’s Hill in the current Crestlawn Cemetery and extending east and connecting to Walthall’s Division, which sits astride Howell Mill Road.  Walthall’s right extends toward the east and connects with Loring’s Division between Howell Mill and Northside Drive.  Hood had deployed Hardee’s Corps to the center.  Hardee had placed Maney’s Division to the left of his line followed by Walker’s Division in the center and Bate’s Division to the right.  Hardee held Cleburne’s Division in reserve.  Hood, fearing an attack by McPherson on the east side of Atlanta, placed Cheatham on the far right of the Confederate line.  Cheatham is commanding Hood’s former Corps.  Hood’s plan is to attack “en echelon”.  Starting with Bate’s Division on the right attacking first and then each subsequent Division attacking one after the other.  This was done in an effort to turn the enemy flank and push them back to Peachtree Creek and the Chattahoochee River.

Thomas had most of his army across the creek by noon.  Palmer’s XIV Corps had been placed on the right and had been able to entrench as they had been across the creek earlier.  Hooker’s XX Corps was forming up in the center and Howard’s IV Corps was forming on the left.  Newton’s Division of Howard’s Corps held the far left.

Late in the morning Hood received word from Wheeler, who commanded the cavalry attempting to hold the east side of Atlanta, that he was out numbered by McPherson and Schofiled who were moving toward the Atlanta from Decatur.  Hood decided to shift his entire army to the east by a mile in order to support Wheeler should he need it.  The orders were given and the movements were made, but through miscommunication and human error the shift to the right (east) was nearly two miles.  This cost the Confederates time and delayed their attack until 4pm.

When the attack finally began, Bate’s Division was the first to move forward and should have been the first to make contact, but the terrain in their front had not been reconnoitered prior to the assault.  Because of this they did not know where they were going and did not know where the enemy was.  They ran into a heavy thicket and swampy area that greatly hindered their progress as they were attempting to find Newton’s Division.

By 4:30pm the “en echelon” advance had made its way down the line to Loring’s Division.  In the area between present day Northside Drive and Walthall Street, Scott’s Brigade of Loring’s Division made one of the most successful assaults of the day.  They captured the colors of the 33rd New Jersey as well as part of the regiment.  They continued pressing their assault and nearly turn Geary’s flank, but the lack of support on either of Scott’s flanks, forced him to fall back.

The day was filled with heavy, fierce fighting on both sides.  By late afternoon, Loring believed he could exploit a gap in the Federal lines between Newton and Geary.  He asked Hardee for reinforcements and as Hardee was about to send Cleburne’s Division to assist Loring, he received an order from Hood to send a Division to the east of the city to support Wheeler.  Hardee sent Cleburne’s Division to Wheeler, thus preventing another push forward to the Federal lines.  The day ended with many dead, dying and wounded still on the battlefield.  The high priced neighborhoods of the area now stand in stark contrast to the harsh reality of the battle that took place there 152 years ago today.

_DSC0310.bw
Knipe’s and Robinson’s Brigades of William’s Division of Hooker’s 20th Corps, were positioned along the high ground to the right of this image taken along Norfleet Rd.  To the left of the image is a deep ravine that had to be traversed by the attacking Confederates.  This area was the western most portion of the Federal line that came under direct assault during the Battle of Peachtree Creek.
_DSC6133.bw
This deep ravine now sits between Norfleet Rd. to the right, where the Federals were positioned on high ground, and Springlake Dr.  Reynold’s Brigade of Walthall’s Division of Stewart’s Corp(CS) attacked through this deep ravine and pushed forward attempting to push Knipe’s and Robinson’s Brigades back.  After a failed second attempt under enfilading artillery fire and with only the support part of Selden’s Alabama Battery, Reynold’s was forced to withdraw from the assault.
_DSC0343.bw
Near the intersection of Collier Road and Howell Mill, at the south western end of the ravine, the Selden’s Alabama Battery was placed in support of Reynold’s assault.  While directing the placement of the battery Major William C. Preston was killed in action by Federal fire. Major Preston is the “Willie” Preston featured in Mary Chestnut’s “A Diary From Dixie”
_DSC0280.bw
Bobby Jones Golf Course at the Bittsy Grant Tennis Center.  The right of Geary’s Division of Hooker’s 20th Corps was positioned along the high ground of this ridge on the golf course.  O’Neal’s Brigade of Wathall’s Division(CS) was on the right of Reynold’s Brigade and pushed through at shallower portion of the ravine and attempted to exploit a gap between Williams and Geary.  Geary’s line was pushed back until his right met Williams left forming a re-entrant angle in the Federal line.  O’Neal split the Brigade with half swinging left to attack Williams and the other half swinging right to turn Geary’s right flank.  Fierce fighting ensued and with lack of numbers and artillery support, O’Neal eventually withdrew.
_DSC0276.bw
Bittsy Grant Tennis Center.  Looking toward the Confederate lines.  O’Neal’s Brigade would have crossed this area in their assault on Geary’s and Williams lines.
_DSC0168.bw
Tanyard Creek Park, a historian and reenactor gives a lecture to a tour group on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Peachtree Creek.  General Loring’s Division of Stewarts Corps(CS), came across this ground moving from the background toward the camera position to attack elements of Geary’s and Ward’s Divisions (US), which were positioned behind the camera on the high ground near present day Collier Rd.
_DSC0214.bw
Tanyard Branch in Tanyard Branch Park.  Heavy fighting ensued here as Loring’s Division(CS) pushed hard in their attack on elements of Geary’s and Ward’s Division’s(US).
_DSC0197.bw
Eastern portion of Tanyard Creek Park.  Portions of Featherston’s Brigade, Loring’s Division (CS), advanced through this area, crossing the creek (camera right),under heavy fire from Geary’s (US) artillery and moving towards the high ground along present day Collier Road. 
_DSC0160.bw
Ardmore Road looking toward Collier Road.  The right of Featherston’s Brigade advanced down the slope for their trenches nearly a mile behind the camera position, to attack Coburn’s and Wood’s Brigades of Ward’s Divison  (US).  Featherston’s Brigade drove back the Federal skirmishers and pushed passed the barricades the skirmishers used to assault the main line.  They gained some ground but were forced back to the abandoned barricades as they were counter attacked along their front and flank.
_DSC0139.bw
28th St. at Wycliff Rd. looking toward’s Peachtree Street.  28th St. dead ends into Ardmore where the previous image was made.  The Old Montgomery Ferry Road crossed through this spot and intersected Peachtree Road slightly south of Palisades Rd.  Brig. General Clement H. Stevens (CS) was killed in action here as he ordered the withdraw of his Brigade.  Steven’s Brigade was part of Walker’s Division of Hardee’s Corps.
_DSC6092.bw
Battle of Peachtree Creek memorial.  This memorial, shaded by Oaks and Magnolias, rest on a small knoll between Peachtree Road and Piedmont Hospital.  Kimball’s Brigade of Newton’s Division, Howard’s 4th Corps (US) was positioned here on this high ground astride Peachtree Road.  They were assaulted by Walker’s Divisions of Hardee’s Corps (CS).
_DSC0085.bw
Dale Way Park now sits on the battlefield once crossed by Bate’s Division of Hardee’s Corps (CS).  Bate’s Division was the far right of the Confederate assault on the Federal lines at Peachtree Creek.  Bate’s was the first to move from his works to begin the assault with each successive Division move forward one after the other.  Bate’s assault was delayed as the whole Confederate line had been shifted to the right by nearly two miles.  Initially, the line was supposed to move only a mile to the right in order to be in position to reinforce Wheeler’s Cavalry east of Atlanta should McPherson and Schofield attack.  Miscommunication lead to shift of two miles and as such, when Bate’s made his advance on two Brigades of Newton’s Division (US), he did so across terrain that had not been reconnoitered.  Bate’s advance was slow due to heavy thickets and swampy areas in the Clear Creek Valley.
_DSC0013.bw
WSB TV, West Peachtree St. near Inwood Cir.  The Confederates outer defensive line of Atlanta was placed on the high ground here and extended westward along various hills and ridges to present day Crest Lawn Cemetery where it terminated at Casey’s Hill along the Western Atlantic Railroad.  Walker and Bate’s Divisions both started their assault on the Federals from this defensive line.  This view is looking south toward the Confederate line.
_DSC0042.bw
West Peachtree at Inwood Cir.  WSB TV.  Looking north toward Federal Positions from the Confederates outer defensive line of Atlanta.  Walker’s and Bate’s Divisions(CS) would have advanced down this slope crossing the area that is now Buford Hwy and I-85 and then moving up through what is now the Brookwood Hills neighborhood, to assault part of Newton’s Division (US) that were positioned along the high ground in the area of present day Brighton Road.
Advertisements

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s