On the morning of the seventh, the Federals again began to advance on the entrenched Confederates south of Utoy Creek. They encountered no resistance and found the Confederate works empty. Bate’s Division was withdrawn from the lines overnight and took their place in the line of defensive works, that stretched from the defensive perimeter around Atlanta, to the southwest in order to protect the railroads in East Point. Bate’s takes his place between Clayton’s Division on his right (north) and Clerburne’s Division to his left (south).
Sherman, who is displeased with the failure of the movement toward East Point, decides to lay siege to Atlanta and will do his best to run the Confederates out of the city. He begins to shell the city and considers the city itself as a military target even though there are still civilians within the city. Many have evacuated, but several thousand have no where to go or have decided to wait it out.
This morning, Sherman has accepted the resignation of Palmer, who will be on a train back to Chattanooga by the afternoon, and the Federals had formed up their lines and everyone was in place to attempt an advance across Utoy Creek towards the railroad in East Point. With Palmer’s resignation, Robert W. Johnson, a division commander within the XIV Corps, was appointed Commander of the XIV Corps and placed under the command of Schofield. Displeased with the performance of the XIV Corps on the previous day, Schofield had moved his XXIII Corps to the right of the XIV Corps. The XXIII Corps is now the Federal right flank and the XIV Corps is the left flank with Logan’s XV Corps in support to their left. Palmer’s Corp was fanned out in an arch following the current Beecher Road south to Benjamin E. Mays and making a slight turn to the west, just north of Cascade Road. Palmer’s right ended near Willis Mill Road. Schofield’s left was adjacent to Palmer’s right with Cox’s Division along Cascade Road and stretching out west. Hascall’s Division of Schofield’s Corps turn south making a 90 degree turn to the east and was facing the end of the Confederate line at the Confederate left flank. Just west of Cascade Springs Nature Preserve.
The battle began when Cox’s Division moved south and Hascall’s Division moved east to press the Confederate flank. The 11th Kentucky Regiment (Federal) of Cox’s Division was at the front of the advancing line and made first contact with the 4th Kentucky (CS), who were posted as skirmishers in front the famed Kentucky Orphan Brigade. This action happened in the area of the waterfall in what is now Cascade Springs Nature Preserve. Cox’s attack was repulsed and he suffered a severe loss. He reformed for another attempt, but was repulsed a second time after which he withdrew from the assault. Hascall was hindered by the South Fork of Utoy Creek and made minimal gains in his assault. He did reach the rear of an artillery battery, which withdrew to the east to another position on high ground from which they still had a commanding view.
The XIV Corps, now commanded by Johnson, has sat idle most of the day and did not make an attempt to attack until late afternoon and he only attacked with one division. He gained no headway and retired before anything larger than a skirmish developed.
The Confederate left flank was manned by Bate’s Division along a ridge line just south of Sandtown Road (Cascade Road). S. D. Lee’s Division connected to Bate’s right at the Sandtown Road east of what is now Beecher road. Bate’s left flank was open and vulnerable to attack and on the night of the 6th, Hood ordered Bate’s Division to withdraw from the area back to the Confederate main defensive line.
The Federal assault cost them approximately 800 lives and numerous wounded, while the Confederates lost only 18 soldiers while defending their heavily entrenched and fortified lines.
The conflict between General’s Sherman, Palmer and Schofield continued throughout the day. Palmer sent multiple letters arguing back and forth with Sherman. Palmer’s final letter said “I will call upon you tomorrow morning and present a formal application to be relieved.” While they bickered back and forth, Federal units were still trying to get in line for the move toward East Point. For the remainder of the day Palmer agrees to relay orders from Schofield to his XIV Corps. Baird’s Division advances south toward Utoy Creek and encounter the Confederate skirmishers. They take about 140 prisoners. They then turn towards the east and encounter an artillery barrage. They decide not to advance and assault the Confederate works as they assume they will be repulsed. Davis brings his division up along side Baird’s and comes to halt as well. Schofield is not happy about the assault coming to a halt. He orders Johnson’s Division of Palmer’s Corps to swing around the right and attack the Confederate left flank. Johnson waits until early evening to begin his movement, which he calls a “reconnaissance”. He moved a short distance and then calls it off since it is too late in the day to do much good. He falls back to the rear of Davis. Schofield and Sherman are both displeased with the performance of Palmer’s XIV Corps. Palmer will resign in the morning and for a time Johnson will command the XIV Corps.
During the night of the 5th, Hood orders the defensive lines extended further south and west to protect the railroad in East Point. The line extended about 1.25 miles from the existing defensive lines, down a ridge line the paralleled the Sandtown Road (Cascade Road), and overlooked the North Fork of Utoy Creek. The far left of the line ended in the area of the current Cascade Springs Nature Preserve.
After an arduous night march of 16 miles, Hardee’s Corps was getting into position on the Federal left flank. The attack that was supposed to begin at dawn, but was delayed due to the distance of the night march and then further delayed when Walker’s and Bate’s Divisions had to work around the swampy terrain at Terry’s Mill Pond. Just after 12:00pm, Hardee ordered Walker and Bate to attack the Federal left flank. Bate’s Division was on the Confederate right, east of Sugar Creek and Walker’s Division was on the west side of Sugar Creek. As Walker’s Division made their way past the mill pond, Walker moved to the front of his lines to see what lay ahead of his column. As he raised his field glasses, a round from a Federal sharpshooter killed him instantly. After the disarray and confusion that followed, Brig. Gen. H. W. Mercer assumed command of the Division and carried out the attack. Walker fell near the intersection of Glenwood Ave. and Wilkinson Dr. A monument dedicated to his memory stands there today.
The Federals that Walker and Bate were attacking were elements of the 2nd and 4th Divisions of Dodge’s XVI Corps. They were entrenched in the area of Memorial Drive and Clay Street. With part of the line extending into what is now Alonzo Crim High School. This was a tactically advantageous position on high ground overlooking Sugar Creek valley. They were also supported by several artillery batteries.
Cleburne’s and Maney’s Divisions had moved up Flat Shoals Road and were heading toward the left flank of the Federals that were entrenched along Flat Shoals in the area between Glenwood and the intersection of I-20 and Moreland (Bald Hill, aka Leggett’s Hill). They attacked the left flank of Blair’s XVII Corps that was held by Smith’s 4th Division. Cleburne’s attack was fast and furious. His troops drove the Federals back to the north to Bald Hill and in the process they captured eight cannons and the entire 16th Iowa Infantry Regiment.
During this time, General McPherson was riding toward Dodge’s Corps to asses the situation and was traveling on a ridge line (McPherson Ave.) trying to find a way to close the gap between Logan and Blair. The Confederates were flooding into the gap in McPherson’s lines, and as McPherson searched for a way to close the gap, he was shot and killed by the attacking Confederates. One of McPherson’s aides was with him, and when the shots rang out, his horse took off and slammed into a tree, thus breaking his watch at 2:02pm, the time of McPherson’s death.
Late in the afternoon, Hood, who was observing the battle from a house adjacent to what is now Oakland Cemetery, ordered his former Corps, now commanded by Cheatham, to attack the Federal front. Cheatham’s Corps left their works and moved east toward the Federal line. The right of Cheatham’s Corps was attacking Bald Hill from the west and Maney’s Division of Hardee’s Corps was attacking from the south west. Even with their combined effort, they were unable to push the Federals off of Bald Hill. On Cheatham’s left, Clayton and Brown’s divisions were more successful. Manigault’s Brigade of Brown’s Division, used the cover of a deep railroad cut in the area of the current Inman Park Marta Station and the CSX railroad. They came under artillery fire, but were able to out flank the battery and capture the guns. This action broke the Federal line and Manigault wheeled to the left and began to “roll up” the Federal line. He captured 8 cannons in the process, four of which were 20 pounder Parrott rifles. Stovall’s Brigade, which was aligned to the left of Manigault, was attacking the Degress Battery (located off of Battery Place) from the front when Manigault hit the flank. As the line broke, soldiers from both Brigades stormed the works and captured the battery. The 42nd Ga. Volunteers, who were part of Stovall’s Brigade, took part in this assault.
General Sherman, who was observing the battle from the Augustus Hurt house at the present day Carter Library, witnessed the Confederate assault that broke part of the lines of Logan’s XV Corps. He personally directed artillery fire from five concentrated batteries, toward the attacking Confederates. He had the artillery rounds falling to their front to prevent them from moving forward and attacking, as well as toward their rear to prevent reinforcements from supporting the assault. This artillery fire and a Federal counter attack of eight Brigades, pushed the Confederates back to their works and restored the Federal line.
Hood had also dispatched General Wheeler and his Cavalry to Decatur to attack McPherson’s wagon train. Wheeler found several regiments of Federal infantry posted south of Decatur. At 1:00pm, Wheeler dismounted two of his divisions and assaulted the Federals. He pushed them north across what is now Agnes Scott College and then across the railroad tracks to the Decatur Square. The wagon train was detoured from Decatur after Wheeler started his assault. Wheeler pushed the Federals through the square and through the old city cemetery. The Federals then formed a new line along what is now North Decatur Road. Before Wheeler could attack the new Federal line, he was recalled back to Atlanta to support the attack on Bald Hill.
The battle was over by the time darkness had fallen, the Confederates had returned to their works and had suffered nearly twice the number of casualties as the Federals. The Federals reformed their lines and will shortly begin the “Siege of Atlanta”.
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 that he could prevent the Federals from capturing Atlanta and destroying the Army of Tennessee. Johnston was very well liked among 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 Tennessee, has crossed the river at Roswell and has been moving south through Dunwoody toward the Augusta Railroad line near 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 Tennessee 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.
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.
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.