150 Years Ago Today: August 31st, 1864 The Battle of Jonesboro, Day 1

August 31st, 1864:
     After learning of the impending attack on Jonesboro and the railroad by the Federals, Hood dispatched Hardee’s Corps and S.D. Lee’s Corps to Jonesboro to protect the railroad.
     By mid afternoon, both Hardee’s Corps and S.D. Lee’s Corps were in place at Jonesboro.  Hardee deployed with his corps to the left and as he was in overall command of the operations, Cleburne was commanding the corps. Cleburne deployed with Lowery’s Division to the left and Brown’s Division to the Right.  He held Maney’s Division in reserve.  S.D. Lee’s Corps was deployed to the right of the Confederate line.  Stevenson’s Division was on his left adjacent to Hardee’s right and Clayton was on the far right of the Confederate line.  Stovall’s and Higley’s Brigades were held in reserve and were later moved forward to the left of S.D. Lee’s lines. 
     Hardee’s plan was to have Cleburne advance and wheel to their right(north) and attack the Federal right flank.  Once they were engaged and the Federals shifted troops to protect the flank, their center would be weakened and then S.D. Lee’s Corp’s would initiate a full frontal assault on the Federal Lines. 
     Howard deployed his Federals on high ground between the Flint River and Jonesboro.  He placed Logan’s XV Corps on the Federal left where they were facing the railroad and the town of Jonesboro.  Ransom’s XVI Corps was deployed to the Federal right in a “refuse” in the line connected with Logan’s right and turned back west toward the Flint River and across it.  Blair’s XVII Corps was held in reserve. 
     At 3:00pm Hardee ordered the attack to begin.  As the advance began, Lowery’s Division made contact with Kilpatricks Federal Cavalry and was able to push them back rapidly across the Flint River.  Lowery’s Division was moving so fast that they were not able to maintain contact with Brown’s Division.  Brown’s Division struggled to advance through swampy terrain and a deep ravine.  As they were unsupported on their left, Brown’s Division suffered heavy losses from the entrenched Federals on the high ground above the ravine.
     S.D. Lee, who had only been in command of a Corps for about a month, ordered an all out assault at the first sounds of rifle fire from Cleburne.  His inexperience caused him to attack too quickly and before the Federals could shift troops to flank that was under attack.  So, when Lee’s Corp attacked, it attacked the fully fortified and full strength lines of Logan’s Corps.  Lee’s Corps over ran the Federal skirmishers, but were repeatedly repulsed by the Federal main line.  Lee suffered heavy losses.
     While the Battle of Jonesboro ensued.  Schofield’s XVII Corps and Stanley’s IV Corps reached the Western and Atlantic railroad south of Rough and Ready.  After a short skirmish with some Confederate Cavalry, they began destroying the railroad.
     Hood, still not convinced that this was the main attack and thinking it was only a diversion, was anticipating an attack on Atlanta.  Without knowing the status of the battle in Jonesboro.  Hood orders S.D. Lee’s Corps back to Atlanta thinking he is going to be attacked.  Around midnight, Lee’s Corps, beaten, crippled, and worn out begins the long march back to Atlanta. 

150 Years Ago Today: August 30th, 1864

August 30th, 1864:
     Having left the area of Red Oak and Fairburn, the Federal army advances on Jonesboro and the Western & Atlantic Railroad.  Howard’s Corps is the first one to cross the Flint River.  Howard’s troops come under fire as they approach the Flint River.  The Confederates are trying to delay them and as the retreat across the river toward Jonesboro, they set fire to the bridge.  The men of Logan’s XV Corps dash across the burning bridge, some providing cover fire and others putting out the flames and saving a usable portion of the bridge.  They purse the Confederates to the edge of the city and then fall back to high ground between the river and Jonesboro.  They dig in on the eastern side of the river in an area that is now Hynds Springs Road near the intersection of 138. 

150 Years Ago Today: August 29th, 1864

August 29th, 1864:
     The Federal Army, having reached the West Point railroad at Red Oak and Fairburn on the previous day, spend the 29th destroying 12.5 miles of track.  They burn the ties and lay the track across them to heat them and then bend them around trees.  They fill the railroad cuts with trees, rocks, dirt, and in some cases they rig up artillery shells in the debris to explode if material is moved.  There is also a great deal of looting and pillaging of the local populace.  Livestock and of food stuffs are taken along with anything the looters deem useful.  Some things are destroyed just for fun.  On the night of the 29th, Sherman issues marching orders for the next day.  In the morning they will begin moving toward Jonesboro.

150 Years Ago Today: August 28th, 1864

 August 28th, 1864:
     Around midday on the 28th, the Federal XV and XVII Corps reach the Westpoint railroad in  Fairburn and the later in the afternoon the Federal IV and XIV Corps reach the Westpoint railroad in Red Oak.  Sherman orders his troops to destroy as much of the railroad as possible so as to make it unusable and to burn the cross ties and bend the tracks so that no piece can be reused.  They are to begin immediately and continue to work all through the next day. 
     Hood is starting to realize the threat is on the Western and Atlantic railroad near Jonesboro.  Hood has sent Reynold’s Brigade to Jonesboro by train and they will be followed by Lewis’s Kentuckians.  Brown moves to Rough and Ready with part of Bate’s Division to protect it from possible raids coming from Red Oak or Fairburn. 

150 Years Ago Today: August 27th, 1864

August 27th, 1864:
     The first of Sherman’s troops reach Camp Creek on the morning of the 27th.  The Federal IV Corps is moving toward Camp Creek from the area around Utoy Creek.  Hood, is increasingly concerned about the possibility of Sherman attempting a flanking movement to attack the railroad at Rough and Read (now called Mountain View, which is directly east of the Atlanta airport between I-75 and I-285) or possibly at Jonesboro.  Hood has received word from some Cavalry scouts that the Federals are massing at Camp Creek.  Hood has dispatched French on a reconnaissance to the north and west of Atlanta and he has found the Federal XX corp entrenched in the are of the railroad bridge across the Chattahoochee River.  Stewart’s and Lee’s Corps move into the empty Federal trenches and begin to reap the rewards of all the items an army leaves behind.  They find everything from food to blankets.  Hood send’s Sthal’s Brigade to reinforce Hardee at East Point and instructs Jackson to have Armstrong’s Brigade of Cavalry to block and delay the Federals if they attempt to cross Camp Creek and move on Rough and Ready.

Photography Day 36 is done!

     I spent last Sunday photographing locations for the project.  Most of them were not critical in a tactical sense and were location that needed to be included.  I made a full day of it and shot at locations in Stone Mountain, Lithonia, Decatur, East Atlanta, Emory, Tucker, Chamblee, Brookhaven, and Dunwoody.  I was able to photograph nine antebellum structures that used for various thing during the war.  It was a long, but fruitful day and I was lucky to have such good weather.  Made about 1000 images for the day. 

150 Years Ago Today: August 26th, 1864

August 26th, 1864: 
     Sherman’s siege guns around Atlanta have fallen silent.  On the North and East side of the city, the Southern Soldiers find the Federal siege line empty of troops, but full of various items and food left behind by the Federals.  Even though he has no hard proof, Hood suspects that Wheeler’s Cavalry raid against Sherman’s supply line in northern Georgia, may have been successful and that Sherman is starting to pull back from Atlanta.  Hood also is weary of another flanking attempt by Sherman, and with the bulk of his cavalry in northern Georgia and Tennessee, he lacks critical intelligence on what is actually happening.  Hood orders his units on the south west side of the city to be prepared to move quickly if Sherman is attempting to extend his lines south. 
     During the night of the 26th, Sherman begins moving the remainder of his army.  The XIV Corps and the Army of the Tennessee begin moving south of Utoy Creek towards Camp Creek.  The XXIII Corps remains in place at East Point opposing Hardee’s Corps.  The XXIII staying in place, helps screen the movement of the other Federal Corps. 

150 Years Ago Today: August 25th, 1864

August 25th, 1864:
     General Sherman has grown impatient and restless with the siege of Atlanta and the failure of his Cavalry to destroy the Confederate supply line south of Atlanta.  He has devised a plan to sweep his entire army with the exception of one Corps, to the south west then move back east towards the railroad.  This movement will carry them though Red Oak, Fairburn, and Palmetto.  From there they will move on Jonesboro. 
     On the 25th, Sherman gives the order to begin the movement and late in the evening the XX Corps begins pulling back from the siege lines and moves across the Chattahoochee river.  The IV Corps moves as well.  They move to the are that is now I-285 and Cascade Road.  They form a line of battle facing toward the north in the direction of the Confederate stronghold of Atlanta.  They will act as a rear guard to protect the remainder of the Union army as they begin their march on Jonesboro.  The IV Corps will remain in the Atlanta area during the assault on Jonesboro.  Sherman has also ordered all the surplus wagons and supplies to be moved from the siege lines and taken across the Chattahoochee where they will be guarded.

Photography Day 35 is done!

Yesterday I set out early in the morning around 6am to go photograph all the former locations of the “Forts” that were part of the defensive perimeter around the city of Atlanta.  There are over 20 locations and an additional 15 locations that were artillery batteries inside the perimeter.  I was able to photograph all the forts and 10 of the batteries as well as the site of the Dexter Niles House, where Johnston was informed of his replacement by Hood, the Grant Mansion, former home of the engineer that designed the defensive perimeter and namesake  of Grant Park, and the surrender site where Mayor Calhoun surrendered the city in Sept. of 1864.  Sunday morning was a perfect time to go out in the city.  It was fairly quite with very little traffic. 

This is also a milestone post for me.  It is number 100. I have also amassed .5 terabytes worth of images for the project, for a total of 38,060 image files.  But, I shoot in the Raw + Jpeg mode on my camera, so that is really 19,030 images.  I had no idea that I had shot that many images.  I am just now at the halfway point.  Looks Like I need to get another hard drive.

150 Years Ago Today: Siege of Atlanta

August 1st – August 27th, 1864:
     After the Battle of Atlanta on July 22nd, the Federal Artillery began to shell the city of Atlanta, sometimes it was light and random and at other times there were “duels” with the Confederate Artillery in the inner defensive perimeter. 
     On the first of August, Sherman learned of the failure of the Cavalry raid to destroy the railroads south of the city.  He then sent the following order to General Schofield “You may fire ten to fifteen shots from every gun you have in position into Atlanta that will reach any of its houses.  Fire slowly and with deliberation between 4:00pm and dark.  Thomas and Howard will do the same.” (O.R. 38, V, 324, Sherman to Schofield).
     On the 7th of August, after the failure of the Federal forces to take the railroad junction at East Point.  Sherman request two more large siege guns to be sent from Chattanooga by rail.  These guns shoot a 4.5 inch diameter round weighing 30 pounds.
     As the shelling of the city became more intense, more and more damage was done.  The Federal artillery was using the church spires of town as land marks for sighting their guns.  Homes and businesses alike were damaged or destroyed.  Sherman was targeting the city itself and wanting nothing more than to break Hood’s resolve and force the Confederate army from their stronghold.  At one point, Hood sent a message to Sherman requesting that he stop shelling the noncombatants in the city and pointed out that the cities defensive line was a full mile outside the city.  Sherman replied that Atlanta was a military target and an arsenal.  Sherman continued the siege unchanged.  The first civilian casualty of the siege was small girl in the area of Peachtree St. and Ellis Street.  Solomon Luckie, a free black man who owned a barber shop in town, was killed by a shell near what is now the Five Points Marta Station.  There is an original gas lamp on the corner at the marta station and local legend says that the hole in the base was caused by the same shell that killed Solomon Luckie.