Death of the Fighting Bishop

June 14th, 1864

Being concerned that the position of Bate’s Division on Pine Mountain was quickly becoming compromised, Confederate Generals Johnston, Polk and Hardee, rode to the top of the mountain on the morning of the 14th.  As the Generals were inspecting the position, they were observed by members of a Federal artillery battery located about a mile to the north east of the mountain.  This was the 5th Indiana Battery.  They observed what appeared to be officers on the mountain and opened fire.  The first round buried it’s self in the parapet of the Confederate position and the second round struck General Leonidas Polk in the chest killing him instantly.  Polk, also called the Bishop General was the Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana and was greatly revered by his men.  His death struck a serious blow to the Confederacy.

Later on the 14th, Federal forces attacked Pine Mountain in an attempt to cut it off from the main Brushy Mountain Lost Mountain line.  Pine Mountain formed a salient in the Confederate lines and was just over a mile to the north of the main line.  The Federals pushed hard to cut Pine Mountain off from their main line, but were repeatedly repulsed by the well entrenched and fortified positions of the Confederates of Bate’s Division.  General Johnston ordered Bate’s Division to with draw from the position on the night of the 14th under the cover of darkness.

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Location on top of Pine Mountain were General Leonidas Polk was fatal struck by an artillery round from the 5th Indiana Battery
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Remnants of the parapet the took the first round from the 5th Indiana Battery. 
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Earthworks atop Pine Mountain.  These were manned by Bate’s Division.

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Now located behind a church, this is the position of the 5th Indiana Battery that fired the fatal shot killing General Leonidas Polk.  It has been turned into a small nature trail for the church.
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Looking through the notch in the parapet wall of the 5th Indiana.  One of the artillery pieces would have fired through this notch in the wall.
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From the 150th anniversary memorial ceremony held on Pine Mountain, June 14th 2014.
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F.D.Polk IV, 3rd Great Grandson of the General Leonidas Polk was present at the memorial service.
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During the memorial service a reenactor was portraying a Reverend and presided over the memorial service.
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Surviving Confederate earthworks of Bate’s Division where they repulsed the Federal attack on June 14th along the base and slopes of Pine Mountain.

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Surviving Confederate earthworks of Bate’s Division where they repulsed the Federal attack on June 14th along the base and slopes of Pine Mountain.

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Surviving Confederate earthworks of Bate’s Division where they repulsed the Federal attack on June 14th along the base and slopes of Pine Mountain.

 

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150 Years Ago Today: June 16th, 1864

After the fighting at Gilgal Church on the 15th and continued fighting on the 16th, the Union Army has figured out that lines in the area form a salient and begin to pour in enfilading fire on the Confederates.  Other Union forces move against the thin line of southern soldiers west of Gilgal Church towards Lost Mountain.  Schofield’s XXIII Corps is now in a position to turn Johnston’s left flank, Schofield may or may not realize that he is in such an advantageous position, but Johnston does and orders Hardee’s Corp to pull back at dark, to the far side of Mud Creek and establish a new line.  During this retrograde movement, a Union artillery shell explodes near Brigadier General Lucius Polk.  He is the nephew of Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk and only two days after the death of his Uncle, Lucius Polk is wounded and loses his leg.