General Hardee is now well aware of the Sherman’s intent to move on Savannah and has placed his command between Sherman and Savannah. The Right and Left Wings are both moving in a south easterly direction using the main roads into Savannah. On the 5th, Sherman, traveling with the 17th Corps reaches the Ogeechee Church in what is now Oliver. He took possession of a private home for his headquarters and remained here for several days to coordinate the movements of his command. They were now within 50 miles of Savannah.
General Sherman entered Marietta and established his headquarters in the Kennesaw House and ordered his forces to continue the pursuit of the Confederates and attempt to engage them no matter what the cost of men and material. They must press their advantage while the Confederates are retreating.
The Kennesaw House saw many uses during the war. Early in the war, Andrews and a few of conspirators, stayed here the night before they stole a train attempted to destroy the railroad that was supplying the Confederate Army. It was also used as a hospital at one point as well as a Sherman’s Headquarters. Now it is a museum well worth the visit.
The battle of Kennesaw Mountain was really an extended operation that lasted for several days before and after the 27th. Troops were under small arms and cannon fire daily, the 27th was day of the main Federal Assault at Cheatham’s Hill, also known as the Dead Angle, as well as the area of Pigeon Hill and the remainder of the Federal left. After days of a stalemate, General Sherman was frustrated and ordered a frontal assault on the Confederate Lines. The attack was to begin at 8:00am on the 27th, but was delayed for nearly an hour. Their goal was to break the Confederate line at what they thought was the weakest point. They chose Cheatham’s Hill due the salient in the line. General Sherman ordered General McPherson to use his Army of the Tennessee to attack the right of the Confederate line as a diversion to the main assault. McPherson’s diversionary attack was carried out against Big Kennesaw, Little Kennesaw, and Pigeon Hill. General Schofield, who was still positioned astride the Powder Springs Road near Kolb’s Farm, was ordered to keep extending the Federal right flank in an attempt to reach the end of the Confederate lines and turn their flank. General Thomas and his Army of the Cumberland were positioned in the center of the Federal lines.
The main Federal assault was carried out by elements of Palmer’s XIV Corps and Howard’s IV Corps. They were attacking the salient angle that was manned by Cheatham and Cleburne of Hardee’s Corps. The Confederates were outnumbered, but were behind a strong line of works. The Federal troops took a beating and at one point on the hill, there was a dead spot. The Southern soldiers could not fire upon this spot due to the position of their works and the angle of the hill. The Union troops in this spot began to dig in with their bayonets, tin cups and dinner plates. They were only about 25 to 30 yards from their objective. During the night, shovels and picks were brought up to facilitate easier digging and an attempt to tunnel into the hill and under the Confederate works was made. The plan was to pack it with powder and blow up the works, but the tunnel was abandoned after only making it about half way to the Confederate line.
Federal losses were just over 3,000 and the Confederate losses were about 1000. This was a tactical defeat for the Federal Army, but Schofield eventually made it to the end of the Confederate line and began moving to flank General Johnston. This forced Johnston to withdraw from his lines at Kennesaw Mountain and towards the Chattahoochee. There are many stories of Gallantry, Bravery, and Humanitarian acts during the battle. The stories and accounts from the diaries of the men who fought and died here make for excellent reading and paint an vivid picture of what happened here.
With this battlefield being pretty well preserved I have a significant number of images to share. This post will contain images from the area of Cheatham’s Hill and tomorrow I will post a few images from Pigeon Hill.
I spent the day doing a very detailed study of the Chattahoochee River Line and the Shoupades. I was able to visit 5 of the Shoupades that are left as well as a seven gun battery. After covering the River Line I moved a little to the North West and made images of the Smyrna Line and the areas around the Battle of Smyrna and the Battle of Ruff’s Mill, including the Concord Covered Bridge. Part of the original mill is still standing as well. It was a grist mill and was spared by the Federal troops. The covered bridge was built after the war to replace the one that was burned by the Federals on the July 4th, 1864. From there I went to the Lovette School and made some images of the Earthworks there and also made some images of the “trading rock” in the river at Pace’s Ferry. On the way home I stopped in Vinings and photographed the Pace house and the railroad tracks. I will be back in that same general area tomorrow to photograph some other locations. A good day, even though it was hot and humid. I had about 29 gigs of data which works out to about 1800 images. I have so much editing to do. I even had someone come up and speak to me, sort of, I was fairly deep in the woods and I was the only living soul around, but I did hear a voice right behind me and I turned to answer them and saw no one there. Creeped me out a little. I have a digital voice recorder that I attach to my tripod for taking notes, it’s faster than pulling out pen and paper, I will have to go back and listen to it see if I can here the voice on there.