July 6th, 1864: Johnston’s River Line

General Johnston’s Army of Tennessee now occupies the River Line and they have the Chattahoochee River to their back and the Federals to their front.  General Sherman is looking for another route across the river that would allow him to turn Johnston’s Flank and force him from the River Line.  The images below are from the southern half of the river line.

outside pano.bw
Remnants of a large artillery battery at the far south end of the River Line.  General Hood’s forces held the is area which was the left of the Confederate line.
_DSC0067.bw
A dead tree spans the remains of Confederate earthworks along the River Line.
_DSC0088.bw
Several thousand feet of earthworks, including a Shoupade and large artillery battery are still in great condition and have survived the years of urban sprawl in Metro Atlanta.
_DSC0225.bw
The inside of one of the Shoupades in what is known as the River Line Extension.
_DSC0038.bw
Looking south on Oakdale road.  They Confederate River Line followed the ridge line that Oakdale Road follows.  In a few spots along the road you can still see remnants of Confederate works on the left as you drive south.
_DSC0048.bw
Nickajack Creek and its valley separated the Confederate River Line from the Federal lines to the west.

 

Advertisements

July 5th, 1864

July 5th, 1864

In the early morning hours, General Johnston and the Army of Tennessee, retreat from the Smyrna Line and fell back to the last line of previously prepared fortifications before the Chattahoochee River.  Known as the River Line, it was conceived and constructed by Brigadier General Francis Asbury Shoup, Chief of Artillery for the Army of Tennessee.  The River Line had a new style of fortification in the line, they were called a Shoupade.  They were diamond shaped forts built with two of the angles sticking out ahead of the line.  The Shoupades were placed anywhere from 60 to 175 yards apart depending on the terrain and were connected by earthworks that intersected the Shoupade roughly in the center.  The angled section in front of the line from two adjoining Shoupades, allowed for a crossfire on an advancing enemy.  Each Shoupade could hold 80 soldiers shoulder to shoulder.  They were also constructed to withstand an extended artillery barrage.  The Confederates occupied this line until the night of July the 9th, when the retreated across the river.

These images are from the northern half of the river line.  Tomorrow I will post images from the southern half of the river line.

_DSC0112.bw
Looking at the inside of one of the best preserved of the remaining Shoupades.  This one now sits hidden in the woods and covered with English Ivy just a stones through away from a major expressway.

 

_DSC0077.bw
Shoupade Park, Cobb County.  Remnants of one of two Shoupades in the park.  There are also remnants of an artillery battery.
_DSC0061.bw
The second Shoupade at Shoupade park fenced off and covered with brush, but you can still see its size and shape.
_DSC0180.bw
A child’s tree house now stands guard over the remains of a large Confederate artillery battery located near the northern end of the River Line.
_DSC0182.bw
The crossed the Atlanta Road at this point.  Atlanta road, the road passing from the left to right of the image, is a period road that is still in use today.
_DSC0227.bw
The Confederates River Line crossed the railroad tracks here along the high ground at this railroad cut.
_DSC0019.bw
River Line Park, Cobb County.  The remains of a Shoupade are fenced off and still visible and protected in this park with ball fields and walking trails.

The Battle of Kolb’s Farm

June 22, 1864:  The Battle of Kolb’s Farm

On orders from General Sherman, General Schofield’s Army of the Ohio, was advancing down the Powder Springs Road in the direction of Marietta.  Schofield was attempting to go around the left end of the Confederate flank.  General Johnston recognized this threat and on the 21st he sent Hood from his right flank to the left in an attempt to neutralize the threat.  In the late afternoon of the 22nd, Hood’s Corps met Schofied’s Army of the Ohio near the Kolb Farm.  Hood initiated an attack without permission from his commander, General Johnston, and he did not bother to do any reconnaissance of the terrain or the force he was engaging.  He unknowingly ordered an advance on a superior enemy force that was entrenched on the high ground.  After suffering about 1000 casualties, Hood retreated and dug in.  He was successful in stopping Schofield from turning the Confederate left flank, but was foolish in making his assault.

_DSC0096.bw
The Kolb Farm House.  Owned by the Park Service, this restored period home is sometimes used as living quarters for park rangers.  It was once a major landmark on the battlefield with its namesake. 
_DSC0161.bw
 Looking west down the Powder Springs Road a period road still in use today.  The Kolb House is across the intersection in the trees.  The Federals and Confederates were positioned in lines that ran roughly North to South on both sides of the road.  The Federals would have been attacking for the distance and moving toward the camera position.  The Confederates would have been moving from the east (behind the camera) toward the Federals in the west.
_DSC0185.bw
Much of the landscape has changed in the last 150 years, but during the Battle of Kolb’s Farm this area would have been part of the Federal line and saw a significant amount of action.
_DSC0214.bw
A subdivision now sits where soldiers once stood.  The Federal lines were on the hillside to the left of the frame.
_DSC0238.bw
Cheatham Hill Road.  The line of battle roughly follows this road and the Confederates attacked across the road from the right side of the frame towards the left.
_DSC0205.bw
The McAdoo House, which sits behind the Kroger in a previous image, is one of the few remaining homes that survived the Battle of Kolb’s Farm and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.  It sits atop a low ridge the Federals established their line along during the Battle of Kolb’s Farm.
_DSC0046.bw
 The Cheney House is a period home that survived the Civil War and is now home to apartments for “Senior Living”.  General Schofield made his headquarters here during the Battle of Kolb’s Farm and throughout the remaining operations around Kennesaw Mountain.  He occupied the home June 22 – June 30 and was visited here by General Sherman on the 23rd and the 25th of June. 

June 18th, 1864

June 18th, 1864

Heavy fighting happened today around the Latimer Farm portion of the Brushy Mountain – Mud Creek Line.  The Marietta Country Club now sits on the former site of the Latimer Farm.  The Confederate lines around the Latimer Farm formed a Salient angle, often called Hardee’s Salient, it was vulnerable to enfilading fire.  Confederate positions were under near constant bombardment from Federal artillery positions no more than 1200 yards away.  Three Federal Divisions, under the command of General Thomas, attacked the three Confederate Brigades at the Salient. The Union troops pushed the Confederate skirmishers back to their main lines and Federal troops soon occupied a trench line in front of the Salient.  Once this line was occupied by the Federal troops, General Johnston realized the chances of the being overrun were high.  On the night of the 18th, he ordered the evacuation of the line and the Confederate line then moved back to the famous Kennesaw Mountain Line.

_DSC0195.bw
 Remnants of Confederate earthworks that were used during the Battle of Latimer’s Farm.  Now located within the Barrett’s Green Subdivision, they were preserved in the local SCV Camp McDonald in conjunction with the builder.  This area was under a near constant artillery bombardment.
_DSC0421.bw
While hard to discern due to the undergrowth, this images shows a line of several Federal artillery positions.  The are called Lunettes.  It is rare to have some so well preserved and these have been protected on private property.  The property is now being developed into a subdivision and the Lunettes are being protected through the work of the local SCV Camp McDonald and the developer.
_DSC0435.bw
Remnants of Federal earthworks located on the same property as the Lunettes above. 
_DSC0507.bw
Efforts by the local SCV Camp McDonald and the developer to prevent the destruction of the remaining earthworks.
_DSC0078.bw
This shallow depression is all that remains of this section of Confederate earthworks in the area of Hardee’s Salient.  They are located on private property that has been farmed for sometime.
_DSC0115.bw
The small collection of minie balls found on the property of a farmer who owns the property where the previous image was taken.  He grew up on the family farm and still lives there today and as a teenager he claimed to have found a 55 gallon drums worth of minie balls in the fields which he sold to collectors.  Look close and you may see one with teeth marks…
_DSC0129.bw
 Now covered with trees and thick underbrush, these remnants of Confederate earthworks, that were part of Hardee’s Salient, now sit quietly behind a local church.

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.

CMB_0002.bw
Location on top of Pine Mountain were General Leonidas Polk was fatal struck by an artillery round from the 5th Indiana Battery
_DSC0059.bw
Remnants of the parapet the took the first round from the 5th Indiana Battery. 
CMB_0005.bw
Earthworks atop Pine Mountain.  These were manned by Bate’s Division.

_DSC0033.bw
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.
_DSC0020.bw
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.
_DSC0112.bw
From the 150th anniversary memorial ceremony held on Pine Mountain, June 14th 2014.
CMB_0037.bw
F.D.Polk IV, 3rd Great Grandson of the General Leonidas Polk was present at the memorial service.
CMB_0056.bw
During the memorial service a reenactor was portraying a Reverend and presided over the memorial service.
_DSC0043.bw
Surviving Confederate earthworks of Bate’s Division where they repulsed the Federal attack on June 14th along the base and slopes of Pine Mountain.

_DSC0089.bw

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

_DSC0103.bw

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

 

150 Years Ago Today: 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 in him preventing the Federals from capturing Atlanta and destroying the Army of Tennessee.  Johnston was very well liked amongst 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 Ohio, has crossed the river at Roswell and has been moving south through Dunwoody toward the August Railroad line between 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 Ohio 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.

150 Years Ago Today: July 13th, 1864

July 13th, 1864:
     Over the last several days and continuing into the next several days, General Sherman is resting his troops and changing their positions in preparation for an assault on Atlanta.  He is trying to deceive General Johnston into believing the attack will come from the west.  To do this, he has sent Stoneman’s Cavalry on a raid towards Newnan to destroy the Railroad that connects Atlanta with Alabama.  Stoneman’s Cavalry cross the Chattahoochee near Campbelton and skirmish with Confederates along the way.  They are unsuccessful and fall back to Villa Rica before returning to the Federal lines along the Chattahoochee.  During this time, Sherman is shifting several Corps from his right flank to the left flank at the river crossing in Roswell.  The Federal soldiers crossing at Roswell will be shifted to the east of Atlanta.  While both armies rest from the rigors of the campaign, there is a great deal of fraternization between the soldiers stationed along the Chattahoochee.  There are many documented accounts of trading, usually the Confederates trading tobacco for coffee, as well as other goods and small items.  There are accounts of Regimental bands on both sides having competitions and serenading the troops on the opposite side of the river.  For some soldiers, this is the first time the have been able to have a bath in weeks.  Even General Sherman himself, takes a bath in the river. 
    For General Johnston, this is a time of uncertainty, President Davis has sent Braxton Bragg, former Commander of The Army of Tennessee, to ascertain the tactical situation in Atlanta and to find out what Johnston plans to do.  Davis is considering replacing Johnston and is relying on advice from Bragg as to who the replacement of Johnston should be.  This decision would have great bearing on the outcome of the campaign.