July 19th, 1864:
It is General Hood’s first full day in command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. He is working to get a grip on the tactical situation and is making plans for a fight near Atlanta. He plans to attack the Federal Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General Thomas, after it crosses Peachtree Creek and before they can entrench. Once the Army of the Cumberland is pushed back to the Chattahoochee River and has surrendered or been crushed, he plans to turn the Confederate Army toward the east and attack the Federals east of Atlanta.
At General Sherman’s urging, General Thomas has sped up his southward movement and has the majority of the army across Peachtree Creek. Sherman has also ordered him to send Howard’s Corps to the east to reinforce Schofield and McPherson should the Confederate Army turn on them.
Unbeknownst to General Hood, McPherson is already in Decatur and has begun to destroy the railroad tracks and occupy the city. Garrard’s Cavalry has been sent as far east as he deems prudent to destroy as much of the railroad towards Augusta as he can. General Schofield an his army of the Tennessee are linking up with McPherson in Decatur.
Nearly continuous skirmishing takes place all along the Federal advance.
July 2nd, 1864:
Realizing that his left flank is threatened, General Johnston begins to fall back from his formidable position at Kennesaw Mountain. As General Schofield continues his movement south, he has now moved behind the Confederate left flank by about 5 miles and is about 10 miles from Kennesaw. His column also threatens the railroad supply line to Johnston, by being only 4 miles away. Schofield also controls the Sandtown Road leading to the Chattahoochee River only 6 miles east. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee is also pushing around the Confederate left and moving toward the Chattahoochee River as well.
With this threat, Johnston has no choice but to fall back. He moves his army to a previously prepared line near the Smyrna Camp Ground. This line is only to be used to delay Sherman’s advance until the Confederate wagon train is safely across the Chattahoochee.
Since the Federal assault on the Kennesaw line on June 27th, General Schofield has continued to push south toward Nickajack Creek. He has pushed past the Confederat right and is being reinforced by General McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee. Schofield is soon far to the rear of Johnstons left flank. Johnston realizes he is vulnerable and will have to retreat from the Kennesaw Line. General Johnston begins to make plans for his retreat from the line and sets a time line to have his troops begin their movement on the next night.
Last Friday was my 16th day of Photography for the War Was Here project. I started the morning at Pigeon Hill and hiked to the top of Little Kennesaw Mountain. Here I photographed Ft. McBride. Not only did I use my regular digital camera, but I actually shot some real film. I used my pinhole camera that takes 120 film and I shot in a 6 by 9 format. The images should be really cool. Got a lot of comments on the camera too and had to explain what it was and how it worked to some people that had never seen one.
Yesterday, I went back out to Kennesaw Mountain and since it was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kolb’s Farm, I made images of that area. Not much of the battlefield is left. The Kolb house is still there and is the only period home on park service property. They use it as a residence for a park employee. From here I photographed the Cheatham Hill area, both from the Federal lines and from the Confederate lines. I then went to the 24 Gun Battery that was part of the Union line.
Today I took the boys with me back to the mountain and we went to the top to make images and enjoy the view. After that we went to the visitor center to the museum to cool off and have a snack. From there we went to photograph some of the historic homes that were used by different Generals as headquarters and are still standing today. Some are well kept, others are unoccupied and are in need of preservation and repair. The one that Union General Schofield used, was in the middle of an apartment complex for senior citizens. They had a small community garden in front of it. Over all, the boys and I had a good time today and I was able to make some good images.
Days 19 and 20 will come this Friday and Saturday while I am out at Kennesaw Mountain for the 150th event. It should be really interesting. There will be lots of living history presentations and of course artillery demonstrations. Hope to see some of you there. If you are coming out there, you should bring a lunch because they do not have any food vendors set up. They will only be selling drinks and packaged snacks.
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.
June 19th, 1864
The Confederates are entrenched on the Kennesaw Mountain line and have multiple artillery pieces to the top of Little Kennesaw and Big Kennesaw. It took 100 soldiers to move each cannon up the mountain. Skirmishing continues all along the line, Federal and Confederate Artillery Batteries begin dueling back and forth. General Sherman has ordered General Schofield’s Army of The Ohio to move from Lost Mountain, via the Sandtown Road, thus swinging the Federal right over Mud Creek and toward the south western portion of Kennesaw Mountain. On the evening of the 19th, Schofield reaches Nose’s Creek, about half way between Mud Creek and Kennesaw Mountain.
After the fighting at Gilgal Church on the 15th and continued fighting on the 16th, the Union Army has figured out that lines in the area form a salient and begin to pour in enfilading fire on the Confederates. Other Union forces move against the thin line of southern soldiers west of Gilgal Church towards Lost Mountain. Schofield’s XXIII Corps is now in a position to turn Johnston’s left flank, Schofield may or may not realize that he is in such an advantageous position, but Johnston does and orders Hardee’s Corp to pull back at dark, to the far side of Mud Creek and establish a new line. During this retrograde movement, a Union artillery shell explodes near Brigadier General Lucius Polk. He is the nephew of Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk and only two days after the death of his Uncle, Lucius Polk is wounded and loses his leg.
June 9th, 1864
General Sherman is informed by Colonel Wright, head of the Railroad Construction and Repair Corps, that the bridge over the Etowah will be completed and operational by June 12. Upon hearing this, Sherman orders Generals McPherson, Thomas, and Schofield to begin moving forward the next morning and begin to find the Confederate positions.
June 3, 1864
General Schofield advances to the crossroads at the Allatoona Church, the current intersection of Hwy 92, Dallas – Acworth Hwy, and Cedarcrest Rd. His lead division moves slowly for fear of Confederate attack and being separated from the main body of the Federal army. They take the entire day to advance and when they reach the crossroads, they discover the Confederates are gone. General Sherman’s route to Acworth and the railroad now stands unopposed.
General Johnston issues orders to the Confederate army to fall back from the main line and move to the newly prepared lines the stretch from the railroad south of Big Shanty, west to Lost Mountain.
Heavy skirmishing continues all along the line and both armies continue to extend their lines toward the east in the direction of the railroad. General Sherman has ordered General Schofield to move the line to Allatoona Creek. As the Union soldiers reach the creek they are met with stiff resistance from entrenched Confederate troops. They attempt to turn the Confederate right flank, but Butterfield, who is assigned to support Schofield, refuses to add his troops to the assault. He states that he was assigned to support the movement east, but not engage in an attack. Schofield entrenches for the night. This turns out to be a good idea, because General Johnston has moved Cleburne’s and Walkers Divisons toward the end of his lines. Schofield would have been open to a severe counter attack if he had attempted to turn the Confederate right.
Meanwhile, Union Cavalry units operating in the area south of the Etowah river, report to General Sherman that the railroad is intact and usable down to Acworth. The railroad is Sherman’s goal and he is inching closer and closer to it each day.