After leaving from Fairburn on the 19th, Kilpatrick moved his column towards Jonesboro. He once again met resistance from Ross’s Texas Brigade, first to his rear and then after Ross moved south below Kilpatrick and made it across the Flint River before Kilpatrick, he was then in Kilpatrick’s front. Ross’s Brigade removed the planks on the bridge over the Flint River and formed a line of battle on the high ground on the east side of the river. Kilpatrick had his artillery open open up on the Confederates and then had his Cavalry dismount and cross the bridge on its stringers. They were able to force Ross’s Brigade, which was a smaller force, back towards and eventually through Jonesboro. Kilpatrick reached Jonesboro around 5:00pm on the 19th and began to destroy the tracks and was able to burn the Railroad Station and other structures. Heavy rain prevented the Federals from making fires to heat the railroad tracks for bending so they removed it from the railroad bed and tossed it to the side.
On the 20th, after learning that a Confederate force of unknown strength was approaching, Kilpatrick decided to abandon his efforts in Jonesboro and move towards Love Joy’s Station. As he approached Love Joy’s Station he did not know the strength of the Confederate forces there. They Rebels had hidden themselves in a railroad cut and waited. When the Federal Cavalry dismounted and approached the railroad, the Confederates waited until they were within about 50 yards before making themselves known and opening fire on the Federals. The Federals were quickly repulsed and soon they were attacked from the rear by Ross’s Texans. Kilpatrick had limited options. He quickly decided to fight his way out and formed his units into several tight and compact columns and made a counter attack on the Confederate forces to his rear. Minty’s Brigade lead Kilpatricks column and as they approached the Rebels across an open field, they drew their sabers and charged. They were able to cut their way through and Kilpatrick’s column was able to escape and make for the Federal lines east of Atlanta. They moved north east from Love Joy’s Station toward McDonough and from there they made for the South River, which they crossed and the went through Lithonia and form there to Decatur.
August 18th, 1864: Several days earlier, General Hood dispatched General Wheeler and his Confederate Cavalry to the north in an effort to disrupt Sherman’s supply lines coming from Chattanooga. Sherman, who has quickly become restless during the siege, has started planning the movement of his entire army to the the south of Atlanta to destroy the Confederate supply line coming up from Macon.
Sherman has also learned that Wheeler’s Cavalry has made it to Tennessee and is therefore to far to offer any support to Hood or oppose Kilpatrick and his Cavalry. Sherman decides to delay the movement of his army around Atlanta and instead he orders Kilpatrick to move on the railroad in Jonesboro with his three Brigades and two more attached to him from Garrard’s Cavalry.
On the night of the 18th, Kilpatrick and five Brigades of Federal Cavalry, begin their move towards Jonesboro. They leave from Sandtown and head towards Fairburn. They are opposed by only one Confederate Brigade. Ross’s Texas Brigade spends the night of the 18th harassing and slowing down the Federal Cavalry. These actions slow down the Federal Cavalry considerably and delay the raids time table.
Sherman has sent Kilpatrick’s Cavalry to the south of Atlanta on a reconnaissance mission. On the morning of the 16th, Kilpatrick reaches Fairburn, where he destroys three miles of railroad track and the depot. He has been operating without any real opposition from Jackson’s Cavalry. Sherman begins to think that Kilpatrick, along with a couple Brigades of Garrad’s Cavalry, could swing far south of Atlanta and destroy the railroad without needing to move the entire army. Sherman ask Kilpatrick if he thinks it is possible, to which he replies that it would be possible to damage the tracks bad enough to be out of service and not put his command in any danger.
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. Those guns could 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.
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.
Since General Stoneman decided not to meet up with McCook at Love Joy’s Station, he continued on toward Macon in an attempt to rescue prisoners being held there. On his way into Macon, Stoneman’s Cavalry destroyed several miles of track along with several bridges and depots. He then moved on Macon in an attempt to take the city. He established his headquarters at the Dunlap House, located in what is now Ocmulgee National Monument. He used his two pieces of light artillery to begin shelling the city and was quickly forced to retreat by Confederates guarding the city.
With Stoneman retreating from Macon, Confederate Cavalry under the command of Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson Jr., gave chase. Iverson had been born and raised in the area and his knowledge of the area allowed him to get ahead of Stoneman near Sunshine Church (near Round Oak, Ga.). The Confederates place a cannon in the middle of the road and as soon as Stoneman was in range, the began to fire on him. A sharp skirmish ensued and Iverson was able to deceive Stoneman into thinking he was surrounded. Stoneman surrendered himself and 700 troops to Iverson. They were then imprisoned in the very prisons they were trying to reach in an effort to rescue their comrades.
After the death of General McPherson during the Battle of Atlanta, General Logan assumed command during the battle and retained it for several days while General Sherman decided who should replace McPherson. Sherman, being a graduate of Westpoint, had a certain disdain for political Generals like Logan, and did not trust them to follow orders properly and promptly as they were on the field of battle for political gain. With these thoughts in mind and after consulting with General Thomas of the Army of the Cumberland, Sherman chose General O.O. Howard to command the Army of the Tennessee as McPherson’s successor. General Hooker is so offended and outraged that he was not given command of the Army of the Tennessee, the he resigns his commission and leaves the Army. Howard assumed command on the 27th of July and his order of the day was to shift the Army of the Tennessee from the east side of Atlanta near Decatur, to the west side of Atlanta by moving to the north and around the top of the city. His ultimate objective is to move on Eastpoint and destroy the railroad.
Sherman has Cavalry units dismount and fill the lines of Howard’s army as they began to pull out. He also ordered infantry units along the line to skirmish heavily with the Confederates in the cities defensive lines in hopes of screening Howard’s move. Sherman was attempting to flank Hood out of the city and draw him into a fight or cut off Hood’s supply line from the railroad to Macon and the railroad to Westpoint.
Stoneman’s and McCook’s Cavalry were sent on a raid to destroy the railroads while the Army of the Tennessee was moving into place. Stoneman went south out of Decatur and McCook moved southwest from Turner’s Ferry. McCook and Stoneman were scheduled to meet at Love Joy’s Station on the 28th to destroy the railroad. McCook went southwest along the west bank of the Chattahoochee and crossing on pontoon bridges at Smiths Ferry, about 6 miles south of Campbellton. He moves on toward the east and in Palmetto he destroys several miles of track, burns the depot and then moves towards the east again in the direction of Fayetteville. Along the Fayetteville road the come across a Confederate wagon train. They take about 300 prisoners and burn nearly 500 wagons. They also kill almost 1000 mules with their sabers to keep the sound of gunfire from giving away their location.
By mid to late morning, Hood is aware of the Federals movements. He sends Wheelers Cavalry to intercept and destroy the Union Cavalry. Wheeler surrounds Garrard’s Cavalry at Flat Rock where they skirmish and Garrard falls back towards Lithonia. Hood then learns of McCook’s raid and Wheeler is sent to intercept him. Having detected the movements of Howard’s Army of the Tennesse, Hood sends General Stephen D. Lee’s Corps and A.P. Stewart’s Corps to extend the Confederate left flank out of Atlanta in an attempt to block the Federal move toward East Point. S.D. Lee is now the commander of Hood’s former Corps.
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”.
Heavy fighting took place along the eastern approach to Atlanta. Wheeler’s Cavalry were engaged with Blair’s XVII Corps along area near Moreland Ave. Cleburne was in a desperate fight with Leggett’s 3rd Division of Blair’s XVII Corps, for control of “Bald Hill”. A prominent hill within artillery range of the city. Now located at Moreland and I-20, most of the hill, now called “Leggett’s Hill”, is gone due to the construction of I-20.
After his defeat at the Battle of Peachtree Creek on the 20th, Hood has started shifting his forces further to the east in an effort to engage McPherson and Schofield. In an attempt to attack McPerson’s left flank and his rear, he sends Hardee on a 16 mile long night march heading south and east to link up with Cleburne and assault the Federal flank east of Atlanta. Hardee begins his marches down Peachtree Street near Peachtree and Spring St. He heads south through Five Points and turn in a south easterly direction and moved to a point near the north side of the South River. Here he turned up the Fayetteville Road and the move onward to Bouldercrest Road. As he turned north on Bouldercrest he reached a fork in the road and divided his forces, with Cleburne’s and Maney’s Divisions taking Bouldercrest to Flat Shoals Road and then Walker and Bate’s Divisions moving up the Fayetteville Road.
Two divisions of Wheeler’s Cavalry, after roughly an hours rest from the days intense fighting, are sent way around the Federal left flank in an attempt to reach the Federal rear in Decatur and destroy the McPherson’s wagon trains.