June 16th, 1864

June 16th, 1864:

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.

Recreation of what Confederate earthworks may have looked like.
 Remnants of Confederate earthworks at the site of the Battle of Gilgal 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.

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

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


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


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: 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.

150 Years Ago Today: June 17th, 1864

June 17th, 1864,
     Heavy skirmishing continued along the Lost Mountain, Mud Creek, Brushy Mountain Line.  Heavy engagements happened in the area of Latimer’s Farm, now the Marietta Country Club.  Calvary actions were also happening continuously on both flanks.  General Johnston begins planning to move to his next defensive position at Kennesaw Mountain.  General Sherman, who has become frustrated, begins to contemplate a direct assault on the Confederate lines as opposed to a flanking movement.

Photography days 11 and 12 are done.

June 14th was my 11th day of photography for my project.  I spent the day at several events centered around Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk.  I photographed the 5th Indiana Battery where the fatal shot was fired from, as well as the top of Pine Mountain where the General fell.  Later I went to an event at the Kirk House.  The original home is long gone, but a house is built on the original site and is occupied by descendants of the original homes family.  It was used for a Headquarters by Polk until his death.  His body was brought back to the house to lay in state until other arrangements could be made.

Today was day 12.  I went to photography Gilgal Church and the surrounding area, as well as part of the Mud Creek Line.  I will be back out there tomorrow in the same area along the Mud Creek Line.

150 Years Ago Today: June 14th, 1864

June 14th, 1864
     Lt. General Leonidas Polk, the Fighting Bishop, was killed by an artillery round while observing Union positions from atop Pine Mountain.  Polk was the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.  Dearly loved by the soldiers that served in his command, his death was a great loss to the Confederacy. 

150 Years Ago Today: June 11th, 1864

June 11th, 1864
     Both armies have endured nine straight days of rain.  It slows down General Sherman’s advance to a snail like pace as the wagons are mired down in the mud.  General Johnston’s troops are nearly swimming in their trenches. 
     On this day, Sherman’s armies have located the Confederate line about two miles south of Big Shanty.  It stretches from Brushy Mountain on the Confederate right, across the Western & Atlantic Railroad, all the way to Lost Mountain on the Confederate left.  The line is 10 miles long and is stretched pretty thin.  The Confederate Army has also fortified Pine Mountain, which sits in advance of the main line at roughly the center. 
     The railroad bridge over the Etowah River has been repaired and the first train, a railroad repair train, pulls into Big Shanty.  This is welcome news to General Sherman, his supply line is now up and running and he will no longer be so dependent on wagon trains traveling muddy roads for his supplies.

150 Years Ago Today: June 5th, 1864

June 5th, 1864
    The Southern soldiers are settling into their new earthworks along the Lost Mountain Line,  Sherman’s soldiers are continuing toward Acworth and their life line, the railroad.