Mid October 1864

After the Battle of Allatoona Pass, Hood continued to move his army to the north and west of Atlanta.  He threatened the Federal supply line in several locations, but did not do any real lasting damage.  He was pursed for a short while by Sherman and his army, but as the Confederates moved farther west into Alabama, Sherman held his position along the railroad and upon receiving orders to proceed with his plan to March to the Sea, he began making preparations.  He established a headquarters in Kingston and directed all the activities in preparation for the March.  He ordered all the non essential personnel and equipment in Atlanta to be sent back to Chattanooga and had rations and ammunition stockpiled in Atlanta for their departure in early November.

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During the Federal Occupation of Atlanta, many of the Federal troops had constructed improved living quarters in anticipation of staying the winter.  They scavenged the many destroyed structures around Atlanta for the materials to construct their small shacks.
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More improved living quarters near the Atlanta City Hall and Fulton County Court House.  The Federal units assigned as the Provost Guard made their quarters here, where the current Georgia State Capitol now sits.

Early September 1864

After the Battle of Jonesboro, Sherman’s Army followed the Confederates to Love Joy’s Station, where Hood rejoined Hardee with Stewart’s and Lee’s Corps.  Sherman skirmished a day or so and then after learning that the XX Corps had entered Atlanta, he withdrew from Love Joy’s Station and marched back to Atlanta to claim his prize and losing what many consider to have been a prime opportunity to crush Hood and the Army of Tennessee once and for all.  Having taken Atlanta, Sherman decided he had reached his objective and did not think it was worth the bloodshed to continue pressing his advantage.

Upon entering Atlanta, Sherman established his headquarters and began to restore order to the town.  He decided that it was a military outpost and ordered all civilians to evacuate.  A truce was negotiated with Hood, who was not happy about civilians being forced from their homes, and the civilians were given a choice of taking a train north or one to the south.  The ones that choose a train south, were sent to Rough and Ready, where they had to disembark and travel to Love Joy’s Station by wagon.  About half the cities population went north and the other half went south.  There were some civilians that were allowed to stay as they were given jobs by the Federals.

Poe, Sherman’s Chief Engineer, immediately started to rebuild and strengthen the defensive line around the city.  He built artillery forts connected with infantry trenches.  With much of the city in ruin, the soldiers started to use building materials from destroyed structures to begin building small shacks as living quarters.  Sherman also began to rest and resupply his armies in preparation for his next sortie into the heart of the Confederacy.

Many of the period images that exist of Atlanta come from this time of the campaign.  George Barnard entered the city to document the Federal occupation.  There are many iconic images of the Federals and their forts in Atlanta.

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After the Federal occupation of Atlanta, General Sherman forced all the civilians out of the city.  Those that chose to go south were sent to Rough and Ready, a railroad way station just south of town.  It is now called Mountain View sits east of the Atlanta Airport between I-75 and I-285.  Here, civilian and their belongings were transferred from the wagons of Union soldiers to the wagons of the Confederates.  The Confederates carried them south to the point where the railroad was usable and the civilians were transferred again to trains.

Note:  All the images below are attributed to George Barnard.  These images are all open source and were downloaded via wikicommons.  They are all in the National Archives or the Library of Congress.

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Whitehall Street, Atlanta Ga. 1864.
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After occupying Atlanta, the Federals began to strengthen the fortifications that were built by the Confederates to defend the city.
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Part of the Atlanta battlefield
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Part of the Atlanta battlefield.
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Battlefield of Atlanta with the Potter House in the background.
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When the Confederates evacuated Atlanta, General Hood ordered the munitions train to be destroyed.  This image shows all the remains of the train and the rolling mill.
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One of the Confederate forts converted into a Federal fort.
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Converted Confederate fort being used by the Federals during their occupation of Atlanta.
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Downtown Atlanta, 1864.

The Battle of Atlanta

July 22, 1864

After an arduous night march of 16 miles, Hardee’s Corps was getting into position on the Federal left flank.  The attack that was supposed to begin at dawn, but was delayed due to the distance of the night march and then further delayed when Walker’s and Bate’s Divisions had to work around the swampy terrain at Terry’s Mill Pond.  Just after 12:00pm, Hardee ordered Walker and Bate to attack the Federal left flank.  Bate’s Division was on the Confederate right, east of Sugar Creek and Walker’s Division was on the west side of Sugar Creek.  As Walker’s Division made their way past the mill pond, Walker moved to the front of his lines to see what lay ahead of his column.  As he raised his field glasses, a round from a Federal sharpshooter killed him instantly.  After the disarray and confusion that followed, Brig. Gen. H. W. Mercer assumed command of the Division and carried out the attack.  Walker fell near the intersection of Glenwood Ave. and Wilkinson Dr.  A monument dedicated to his memory stands there today.

The Federals that Walker and Bate were attacking were elements of the 2nd and 4th Divisions of Dodge’s XVI Corps.  They were entrenched in the area of Memorial Drive and Clay Street.  With part of the line extending into what is now Alonzo Crim High School.  This was a tactically advantageous position on high ground overlooking Sugar Creek valley.  They were also supported by several artillery batteries.

Cleburne’s and Maney’s Divisions had moved up Flat Shoals Road and were heading toward the left flank of the Federals that were entrenched along Flat Shoals in the area between Glenwood and the intersection of I-20 and Moreland (Bald Hill, aka Leggett’s Hill).  They attacked the left flank of Blair’s XVII Corps that was held by Smith’s 4th Division.  Cleburne’s attack was fast and furious.  His troops drove the Federals back to the north to Bald Hill and in the process they captured eight cannons and the entire 16th Iowa Infantry Regiment.

During this time, General McPherson was riding toward Dodge’s Corps to asses the situation and was traveling on a ridge line (McPherson Ave.) trying to find a way to close the gap between Logan and Blair.  The Confederates were flooding into the gap in McPherson’s lines, and as McPherson searched for a way to close the gap, he was shot and killed by the attacking Confederates.  One of McPherson’s aides was with him, and when the shots rang out, his horse took off and slammed into a tree, thus breaking his watch at 2:02pm, the time of McPherson’s death.

Late in the afternoon, Hood, who was observing the battle from a house adjacent to what is now Oakland Cemetery, ordered his former Corps, now commanded by Cheatham, to attack the Federal front.  Cheatham’s Corps left their works and moved east toward the Federal line.  The right of Cheatham’s Corps was attacking Bald Hill from the west and Maney’s Division of Hardee’s Corps was attacking from the south west.  Even with their combined effort, they were unable to push the Federals off of Bald Hill.  On Cheatham’s left, Clayton and Brown’s divisions were more successful.  Manigault’s Brigade of Brown’s Division, used the cover of a deep railroad cut in the area of the current Inman Park Marta Station and the CSX railroad.  They came under artillery fire, but were able to out flank the battery and capture the guns.  This action broke the Federal line and Manigault wheeled to the left and began to “roll up” the Federal line.  He captured 8 cannons in the process, four of which were 20 pounder Parrott rifles.  Stovall’s Brigade, which was aligned to the left of Manigault, was attacking the Degress Battery (located off of Battery Place) from the front when Manigault hit the flank.  As the line broke, soldiers from both Brigades stormed the works and captured the battery.  The 42nd Ga. Volunteers, who were part of Stovall’s Brigade, took part in this assault.

General Sherman, who was observing the battle from the Augustus Hurt house at the present day Carter Library, witnessed the Confederate assault that broke part of the lines of Logan’s XV Corps.  He personally directed artillery fire from five concentrated batteries, toward the attacking Confederates.  He had the artillery rounds falling to their front to prevent them from moving forward and attacking, as well as toward their rear to prevent reinforcements from supporting the assault.  This artillery fire and a Federal counter attack of eight Brigades, pushed the Confederates back to their works and restored the Federal line.

Hood had also dispatched General Wheeler and his Cavalry to Decatur to attack McPherson’s wagon train.  Wheeler found several regiments of Federal infantry posted south of Decatur.  At 1:00pm, Wheeler dismounted two of his divisions and assaulted the Federals.  He pushed them north across what is now Agnes Scott College and then across the railroad tracks to the Decatur Square.  The wagon train was detoured from Decatur after Wheeler started his assault.  Wheeler pushed the Federals through the square and through the old city cemetery.  The Federals then formed a new line along what is now North Decatur Road.  Before Wheeler could attack the new Federal line, he was recalled back to Atlanta to support the attack on Bald Hill.

The battle was over by the time darkness had fallen, the Confederates had returned to their works and had suffered nearly twice the number of casualties as the Federals.  The Federals reformed their lines and will shortly begin the “Siege of Atlanta”.

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After receiving the order from General Hardee (CS) to attack, General W. Walker commanding his division of Hardee’s Corps rode to the front of his lines to observe the terrain and deploy his troops in Sugar Creek Valley.  He was shot off his horse and killed by a Federal picket.  General Mercer assumed command and continued the attack.
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Sugar Creek Valley:  Bate’s Division of Hardee’s Corps(CS) was deployed on this, the eastern side of Sugar Creek and Walker’s Division, now commanded by Mercer, was deployed to the western side of the creek.  They advanced up the low valley to assault the federal lines along present day Memorial Drive and Clay Street.  The Dekalb Memorial Park now occupies what is left of Sugar Creek Valley.
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Alanzo A. Crim High School now occupies the spot where the Blodgett’s Missouri Battery H was positioned in the Federal lines that were occupied by Federal troops from Rice’s and Mersey’s Brigades of Sweeny’s Division(US).  Rice’s Brigade was facing east and engaged with Bate’s Division as they moved up the east side of Sugar Creek and Mersey’s Brigade was facing south and bearing the brunt of the assault from Walkers Division(commanded by Mercer).
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The Federal lines of Rice’s Brigade were positioned on this high ground here at Memorial Drive near Clay street.  They were facing east, toward the camera position, and were engaged with Bate’s Division (CS)
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While Bate’s and Walker’s Division’s constituted the right flank of Hardee’s assault on the Federal lines, Maney’s and Cleburne’s Divisions were the left flank.  Maney’s Brigades advanced on the Federal lines and moved through what is now Brownwood Park, to assault the Federals on the high ground just north of Flat Shoals Rd.
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Cleburne’s Division was advancing on the west side of Flat Shoals Rd, to the right of Maney’s Division, when they encountered the far left of the Federal flank.  Cleburne’s men were able to turn the Federal left, General Smith Division, and then were able to assault the rear of the Federal lines to their west.  In the process of that assault, Cleburne’s troops were able to capture eight artillery pieces that belonged to the 2nd Illinois and 2nd U.S. Artillery.
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With an attack on two sides, General Smith(US), fell back with his Division under heavy fire.  They made a retrograde movement to form a line on the east flank of Bald Hill, also called Leggett’s Hill.  Leggett’s hill once occupied the intersection of I-20 and Moreland Ave.  The fighting here was fierce, with the Leggett’s Division and what was left of Smith Division, taking fire on their position from their front, their left flank, and their rear.
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In the late morning, just before the noon start to the Confederate attack, General McPherson, along with Generals Logan and Blair, as well as their staff officer, stopped for lunch.  They stopped in a grove of oak trees on the south side of the rail road near the location of Whitfoord Ave and La France.  After finishing their meal and sending a dispatch to General Dodge to destroy the rail road, the generals heard the first shots of the Confederate assault.  Logan and Blair rode off to command their respective corps and McPherson and his staff road towards the sound of the gun fight.  While moving along what is now McPherson Ave., General McPherson was shot and killed by Confederates of Cleburne’s Division as they exploited a gap in the Federal lines.  This image is of reenactors at a memorial service on the 150th anniversary of the Generals death.
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Several hours after the main Confederate assault by Hardee’s Corps(CS), General Hood(CS), threw Cheatham’s Corps into the attack and thus extended the Confederate line of attack further north and across the railroad.  Here in this images is Edgewood Ave. Clayton’s Brigade of Cheatham’s Corps(CS) moved east through here to attack the Federal positions at the Troup Hurt House. 
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Dekalb Ave. at the Inman Park Marta Station.  Here, Manigault’s and Sharp’s Brigades of Brown’s Division Cheatham’s Corps (CS) moved east on the north side of the rail road tracks to assault the Federal lines.  Sharp’s Brigade was able to exploit the cover provided by the deep railroad, where the Marta station now sits, and push through the small gap in the Federal lines where he wheeled to the right to attack the Federal flank south of the railroad and capture 2 artillery pieces of Battery A 1st Illinois Artillery.  Manigault wheeled to the left and captured the 4 remaining guns of the battery and continued to move north up the Federal line.  The Federal line broke and Manigault along with Stovall’s Brigade were able to continue the assault.
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This old stone church, now a private residence, sits on the site of the Troup Hurt House.  This site was a land mark on the battlefield and the site of the Federal lines as well as the four 20 pounder Parrott rifles of the Degress Battery H, 1st Illinois Artillery.  Manigault’s along with Stovall’s Brigade, were able to break the Federal lines here and capture the Degress Battery.  They were able to hold the position for some time before they too were routed out by a Federal counter attack.
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General Hood(CS) was the commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee and upon ordering Cheatham’s Corps to attack the Federal lines, he took up a position on the second floor of the Williams home, to watch the battle unfold.  The Williams home once stood in this area of what is now Oakland Cemetery.
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The Carter Center now sits where the Augustus Hurt House once stood.  This was the location of General Sherman’s headquarters during the Battle of Atlanta.  Generals Howard and Schofield also made their command post here as well.  After his death, General McPherson’s body was brought here before being send back to Ohio for burial.  From here, Sherman ordered a counter attack on the Confederates and personally directed artillery fire against the Confederates in the area of the Troup Hurt House.
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As part of the Federal counter attack, Logan’s 15th Corps(US), moved west astride the railroad.  Here, just on the south side of the railroad at Moreland Ave. and Caroline st., Lightburn’s Brigade advanced west toward the area of the Troup Hurt House.
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Dekalb Ave. at Moreland Ave.  Upon establishing their lines in the area of the Troup Hurt House and the railroad cut just west of this location, the Federals set up a signal station in a large pine tree in this location.  After the Federal lines broke, the station was abandoned and when the Federal counter attack was successful, the station was put back in to use. 

July 21st, 1864

July 21, 1864:

Heavy fighting took place along the eastern approach to Atlanta.  Wheeler’s Cavalry were engaged with Blair’s XVII Corps along area near Moreland Ave.  Cleburne was in a desperate fight with Leggett’s 3rd Division of Blair’s XVII Corps, for control of “Bald Hill”.  A prominent hill within artillery range of the city.  Now located at Moreland and I-20, most of the hill, now called “Leggett’s Hill”, is gone due to the construction of I-20.

After his defeat at the Battle of Peachtree Creek on the 20th, Hood has started shifting his forces further to the east in an effort to engage McPherson and Schofield.  In an attempt to attack McPerson’s left flank and his rear, he sends Hardee on a 16 mile long night march heading south and east to link up with Cleburne and assault the Federal flank east of Atlanta.  Hardee begins his marches down Peachtree Street near Peachtree and Spring St.  He heads south through Five Points and turn in a south easterly direction and moved to a point near the north side of the South River.  Here he turned up the Fayetteville Road and the move onward to Bouldercrest Road.  As he turned north on Bouldercrest he reached a fork in the road and divided his forces, with Cleburne’s and Maney’s Divisions taking Bouldercrest to Flat Shoals Road and then Walker and Bate’s Divisions moving up the Fayetteville Road.

Two divisions of Wheeler’s Cavalry, after roughly an hours rest from the days intense fighting, are sent way around the Federal left flank in an attempt to reach the Federal rear in Decatur and destroy the McPherson’s wagon trains.

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WSB TV, site of Atlanta’s Outer Defenses.  After a failed assault at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Hardee’s Corps fell back to the position where they started their assault and after a hard day of fighting, they moved from their works and mustered a couple hundred yards away near Preachtree St. and Spring St. to being their 16 mile long forced night march.
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After marching down Peachtree st. and through 5 points, Hardee’s Corps continued to march south down Capitol Ave. and onto what is not Hank Aaron Dr, passing the location of Turner field, were Confederate Artillery batteries were once positioned.
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Hardee’s Corps continued to march down Hank Aaron Dr, which was then called McDonough Blvd.  They would have marched down the road to camera right and made a left turn, then marched toward the camera.
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McDonough Blvd. at Jonesboro Rd.  The march continued down McDonough Blvd. taking the left fork to stay headed east.
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Hardee continued marching further and further into the night attempting to be in position by dawn, but march, consisting of close to 18,000 soldiers, was painfully slow.  They would have passed through the area of the Federal Penitentiary.
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McDonough Blvd. at Moreland Ave.  Hardee’s soldiers marched along this road and turned right on to what is now Moreland Ave and marched south to a point near the south river.
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The Starlight Drive In, a local landmark, now sits to the side of a road where Hardee’s Corps passed in the late night and early morning hours of July 21st – 22nd.
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After marching to a point just north of the South River, Hardee turned his troops north up Fayetteville Road. 
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At dawn on the 22nd of July, 1864, Hardee’s Column stopped here at Intrenchment Creek.  Here once stood the home and mill of WM Cobb.  Hardee needed local guides for the remainder of his march as he and his officers were not familiar with the area.  Mr. Cobb and his Miller, named Case Turner, agreed to guide Hardee’s columns to positions for their attack on the Federal left flank.  Now a water treatment plant occupies the site.
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After continuing on from Intrenchment Creek, the column marched on Fayetteville road (now Key Rd) to the intersection with Bouldercrest Road and turned left.  They continued up Bouldercrest Road to the fork with Fayetteville Road.  With Cleburne’s and Maney’s Divisions taking the left fork (Bouldercrest Rd) and moved up to Flat Shoals Rd where they eventually assaulted the Federals in the area of Bald Hill.  The right fork (Fayetteville Rd.) was taken by Walker and Bate’s divisions.

 

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Terry’s Mill Pond.  Case Turner guided Walker and Bate’s Divisions up the Fayetteville Rd. to Sugar Creek.  At this point, against the advise of Mr. Turner, Walker’s Division turned north and moved off the road to travel up the west side of the creek and Bate’s followed suit moving up the east side of the creek.  Mr. Turner warned them of the difficult and swampy terrain around Tom Terry’s Mill pond.  Their advance was significantly delayed due to this obstacle.  The mill pond is gone now, but one existed in the low ground inside this tree line.  A community garden now exist on this site at the intersection of Terry Mill Rd and Glenwood Rd.
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Glenwood and I-20.  The northern end of Terry’s Mill Pond was near this point and in the trees to camera left.  The main assault of the Confederates began from this area at 12:15pm.  As the assault was to begin, General Walker moved up to the front of his Division to survey the terrain.  As he brought his field glasses up to his eyes, he was shot dead by a Federal Sharpshooter. 

 

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. 

More Battle of Atlanta Images

I have added some more images to the gallery for the 2014 Battle of Atlanta.  I added 18 new images to the Battle gallery and then added images the camps to another gallery. 

Here is the link again:  Battle of Atlanta 2014 Images

Here are a few of the images from the camps.

The Battle of Atlanta Reenactment 2014

     I have to say that this was probably the best reenactment I have seen.  It is obvious that it was a well planned and extremely well executed event.  I was only able to attend on Sunday, but was really happy I made it for at least one day.  The action on the field was great.  The reenactors were really into their roles and played them out really well.  The Confederate charge followed by the Federal counter charge was just awesome.  The artillery display was especially good.  There so many cannons firing that sometime you could not see the field for all the smoke and I have to think that in many battles throughout the war, that was the case. 

Here is a link to the images from the battle:  Battle of Atlanta 2014
I also have some images from the camps the I will post in a few days.
Here a few of my favorite images.
The first image has a smoke ring from one cannon and fire form another.  If you look close in the center, you will see a bird in the smoke.