May 19th, 1864. General Johnston knew that Sherman had taken the bait and that General Schofield’s Corps was moving toward Cassville. Johnston deployed Polk’s Corps across the road that Schofield was traveling and deployed Hood along what would be Schofield’s left flank. At some point in the morning, Union Cavalry, that was attempting to damage the railroad, came across the end of Hood’s Line and attacked. The numbers of soldiers involved were small, but it was enough of a surprise for Hood that he reformed his lines to meet what he thought was a threat and all but abandoned the attack on Schofield. Johnston eventually ordered Polk and Hood to fall back and reform on a ridge about a mile away. The Union Army formed a line in the area that the Confederates had just moved from. They now stood facing each other with the village of Cassville between them approximately at the center of the lines. During the evening, Hood and Polk called for a meeting with Johnston to discuss what they thought would be their inability to hold their lines, due to the position of the Federal Artillery. It would induce and enfilading fire on their lines and there was not a sufficient amount of cover. Johnston relented to their argument, even though he did not agree. He order a retreat and the next day they were across the Etowah River.
Category: General Polk
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, May 11th, 1864
May 11th, 1864, General Johnston receives word in the early morning that the Union Army is massing for an attack on Resaca via Snake Creek Gap. He telegraphs General Polk, who is Rome on his way form Louisiana to Dalton, and directs him to Resaca to assume command and reenforce the troops already there. He then sends General Hood from Dalton to Resaca and has General Cleburne prepare to move from Dug Gap to Resaca. He then directs General Cheatham to prepare to withdraw from Rocky Face Ridge and replace Clerburne at Dug Gap. Upon arrival at Resaca, General Hood finds that there is no attack imminent and there are no Federal troops within four miles of Resaca. He Telegraphs General Johnston and informs him of such. All the previous troop movements toward Resaca are put on hold.
Union observers, on the Northern part of Rocky Face Ridge, have seen part of Cheatham’s Corp start to move away from the lines at Buzzards Roost. Sherman is notified and he immediately orders the line at Buzzards Roost probed. There are enough Southern Soldiers still in the lines to repulse the attempted Reconnaissance by Force. The Union troops go to ground and must wait until nightfall to pull back. Sherman informs McPherson that he will be at Snake Creek Gap in the morning and that he is planning to have the majority of the Army follow his route to and through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman orders McPherson to strengthen his defenses in the gap. Sherman also orders Schofield’s troops to begin pulling back from Crow Creek Valley.
General Polk arrives in Resaca and with General Hood, they observe the deployment of troops and assess the situation. In the evening they go to Dalton by train to meet with General Johnston and make plans for the retreat from Dalton and the defense of Resaca. General Polk overnights with General Hood at Hood’s headquarters. General Polk, who is also the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, baptizes General Hood.