150 Years Ago Today: The Cassville Affair, Day 1

     May 18th, 1864.  General Johnston decided it was time to make another stand and decided to set a trap for General Sherman at Cassville.  General Johnston sent Hardee’s Corps from Adairsville south toward Kingston along the main road.  He sent all the supply wagon and ambulances down the main road to Kingston as well.  This was the bait for the trap.  They left an obvious sign that a large number men and material had traveled in the direction of Kingston.  Johnston then sent Polk’s and Hood’s Corps on a less traveled road toward Cassville. 
     When Sherman arrived in Adairsville, he fell for the bait and believed that the majority of the Confederate Army had moved toward Kingston.  Sherman then ordered Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland to follow the main road to Kingston and sent McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee on another flanking movement that would take him past Barnsley Gardens.  Schofield’s Corps was sent toward Cassville with Hooker’s Corps following along Schofield’s right and slightly behind. 
     Johnston learned of Sherman splitting his forces and prepared to spring the trap on the next morning at Cassville.

150 Years Ago Today, Battle of Rome Crossroads

     May 16th, 1864.  In the early morning hours of the 16th, the Confederate Army slipped away across the the Oostanaula River and the supply wagons were moving south.  The day before, the Union Army had established a bridgehead at Lay’s Ferry.  On the morning of the 16th, the Army of the Tennessee, began it’s advance from Lay’s Ferry.  Sweeny’s 2nd Division of Dodge’s XVI Corps was the leading element of the advance, the remainder of McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee followed Dodge’s Corps.  They were headed toward Rome Crossroads, where the Rome-Calhoun Road and the Sugar Valley-Adairsville Road met.  To meet this threat to the Confederate flank, General Johnston sent General Hardee’s Corps.  Hardee’s Corp formed up in the woods south of the road and used Oothkalooga Creek to anchor the right of their line which extended westward parallel to the Rome-Calhoun Road.  General Clebrune’s Division held the left of the line and General Walkers Division held the right of the line.  Bate’s Division was held in reserve.
     As the Federal troops approached the crossroads, Hardee’s line of battle sprinted out of the woods in a surprise attack, catching the Federal skirmishers off guard and pushing them across the road.  Hardee used his artillery to target the Federal supply wagons that were following the advance.  Hardee and his Southern Soldiers held fast to their position until the early hours of the morning of the 17th.  This allowed enough time for the Confederate wagon trains to make it through Calhoun and move southward to Adairsville.