Today I went to make images in Resaca. I made images at the area off of Chitwood Rd., an area at E. Nance Springs Rd., Rooker Rd., the Confederate Cemetery, several areas along Camp Creek Valley, Snake Creek Gap, Fort Wayne, the Rail Road bridge over the river and Rome Crossroads. I will be headed back up there this weekend to photograph the reenactment on Saturday. It should be pretty cool to have a reenactment on the actual battlefield. They were up there this morning and had started to set things up. Check out there website if you interested in going.
The Battle of Resaca, 2014
May 12th, 1864: General Johnston begins to realize that General Sherman’s Objective is either Resaca or Calhoun. Johnston begins the retrograde movement from Dalton, by ordering the wagon trains to start heading to Resaca. He orders the infantry to move out after dark and has his Cavalry dismount and take their place. The will then cover the retreat and protect the rear of the Confederate Army.
During the morning of the 12th, a large portion of the Union Army begin their flanking movement of Dalton and follow McPherson’s route to Snake Creek Gap. Due to a thunderstorm and heavy rain the night before, the Union Army progresses slowly. The roads are choked with wagons bogged down in the mud and infantry slogging through the quagmire. This slows the Federals and allows the Confederate Army more time to reach Resaca and being digging in. During the afternoon of the 12th, General Sherman arrives at Snake Creek Gap. Upon meeting General McPherson, for the first time since his failure to take Resaca or destroy the railroad around Resaca and cut off the Confederate life line, he says “Well, Mac, you have missed the opportunity of a lifetime”. An officer standing near by said these were spoken “not ungraciously”, but General McPherson realizes it is a deserved comment for his failure.
May 13th, 1864: All the troops are in motion. Union Troops are moving toward Resaca via Snake Creek Gap. Confederate Soldiers have abandoned Dalton and started moving south. Union Soldiers move into Dalton and find it empty and that the railroad is intact. They begin to turn Dalton into a supply base and other Union troops begin to move south in pursuit of the Southerners. Wheeler’s Cavalry fights a rear guard action against Union troops that are in pursuit of the Confederates near Tilton. By the afternoon of the 13th, most of the Confederate Army is massed around Resaca and has dug in. Sherman realizes the he will not be able to get between the Confederate Army and Resaca and orders the Union Army to dig in with a line of works paralleling the Southerners works. Skirmishing takes place at various points along the line. All the pieces are almost in place for the first large scale engagement of the Campaign.
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.
On May 10th, 1864, there was continued skirmishing along Crow Creek Valley and Mill Creek Gap at Buzzards Roost. General McPherson had pulled back form his attempt to take Resaca and was encamped at Snake Creek Gap. On the night of the 9th, McPherson sent a dispatch to General Sherman informing him of his inability to take Resaca. On the morning of the 10th General Sherman received McPherson’s dispatch. Needless to say, Sherman was “pissed off”, and sent a very curt reply to McPherson. I can imagine that a few days later, when they met face to face, it was not a pleasant place to be. After receiving the dispatch for McPherson, Sherman began planning a movement of the Army of the Cumberland to Snake Creek Gap to reenforce McPherson and attack Resaca.
On May 9th, 1864
General McPherson and The Army of the Tennessee, reached Snake Creek Gap on May 9th, thus setting up a flanking movement in an attempt to attack the Confederate rear and stop their retreat from Dalton. General Sherman had hoped that General Johnston would turn the Confederate Army away from Dalton to attack McPherson and if General Geary had successfully taken Dug Gap he would have been in a position to hit General Johnston’s flank and the remainder of the Union Army could attack the Confederate rear. What Sherman wanted and what he got, are two different things. Upon reaching Snake Creek Gap, McPherson was ordered to attack the Confederates holding the town of Resaca.
McPherson sent his skirmishers through the gap and saw a considerable and extensive line of earth works between the gap and Resaca. He also saw Southern troops and over estimated their numbers. He pulled back and did not push the attack. General Sherman was furious at the lost opportunity to decimate the Confederate Army and possibly end the campaign there and push on to Atlanta with out much of a fight. Had McPherson attacked, he would only have found a fairly small number of Confederate troops protecting Resaca, some of which were cadets from the Georgia Military Academy in Marietta. His hesitation allowed enough time for the Confederate Army to send reinforcements to Resaca.
Also on May 9th, General Sherman ordered General Schofield’s, Army of the Ohio, to attack the Confederate line in Crow Creek Valley, just north of Dalton. The Southern soldiers put up a tough fight and repulsed multiple attempts by the Union Army to take their position. Rowan’s Ga. Battery was positioned on Potato Hill and the remnants of the Battery and Infantry works are still visible today. It has been turned into a small park with a trail up the hill to the works. Here is a link for an article about the new parks. Dalton Daily Citizen