Reenactor friends, sorry for the delay in posting these images, but with the kids getting out of school for the summer and all their activities, I have been swamped. Here is a link to the images: Battle of Resaca, 2015 and below you will find a few of my favorite images.
|On the two images above, if you look close you can see the fire from the vent hole and the above it is a dark blur that is the match.
So, a new project has been born within my current War Was Here project. It is something I can do in parallel and shoot all the images for both projects at the same time. The new mini project is going to be a portrait series. I made a portrait at the Resaca Reenactment that really resonated with me and I have decided to make all the portraits in a similar style. The subject was standing with his back to the wall of a white canvas tent. I was able to “blowout” the white background and ended up with a sort of modern look that seems to work well with the juxtaposition of the period attire. The portraits will all be of reenactors, both military and civilian. I have acquired a portable backdrop and will use it along with my speedlights to recreate these portraits. I will have to travel light since I will be on foot and away from the car at most reenactments. I still don’t have a title for the side project, but I am sure it will come to me in time. Below is the portrait that I made at Resaca. All the rest will be styled after this one. I can not decide which one I like better, but eventually the images will let me know. I usually lean more toward black and white, but for some reason I like the color one. Must be the contrast with the black and white image he is hold in his hands. Or the blue coat.
Yesterday I went to Resaca for the reenactment. It took place at Chitwood Farms, which is actually on the original battlefield. Even with the rain it was a great time. I was also able to visit the new State Park, which encompasses a large part of the battlefield that parallels I-75, and includes Camp Creek Valley. Most of the Confederate positions were destroyed when the interstate was constructed. The Federal positions are still there and are mostly untouched. I was not able to hike any of the trails in the park, but I think some may lead to some earthworks. The terrain here was beautiful. The park is not actually open yet, but they allowed people to enter this weekend due to the reenactment nearby. I can not wait for it to open later this year. The park is mostly complete, but the DOT is doing construction at the exit off of I-75 and this has the entrance to the park blocked. The are also building and new bridge over Camp Creek next to the entrance. I arrived here at 7:00am and made a few images at the entrance, but the gate was closed. I came back around 3:45pm, after I left the reenactment and spent an hour looking around and making images.
I arrived at the reenactment at 8:00am. I was there in time to see the presentation of colors. After that I watched as the soldiers drilled and practiced their movements for the battle in the afternoon. This was a great time to make images, since we were allowed to walk through the battlefield while they were practicing. I also wandered around the encampments. They were separated by Union and Confederate camps and the Artillery units had their own camps as well as the Cavalry units. Everyone was very friendly and love to talk about what they were doing and why they did it. They were quick to offer a cup of coffee and I even had an offer of breakfast. I walked the “Sutlers” area and looked through their tents. I even bought a Haversack. It worked out good to carry some of my gear when it started raining. I also bought some homemade root beer. It was probably the best root beer I have ever had.
While walking through the Confederate Infantry camp I asked around for the 42 Ga. This was the unit that I had four relatives in and one of them, Milton Brownlee, was wounded here at the Battle of Resaca. I found them and introduced myself to them and told them about my relatives. A few of them knew who Milton was and they all became very reverend when discussing my ancestors and told me it was an honor to meet a descendant. They said they were honored to represent the unit and and my ancestors and hoped they made me proud. They did make me proud. Who knows, when this project is over I may even join up with them.
I wandered through some more of the camps and more Sutlers tents and then found the Photographers tent. As it was raining fairly hard he invited me to take shelter under the tent with several others. I was the only spectator in the tent, the rest in the tent were in “character”. We all talked for awhile and discussed photography, history and my War Was Here project. They were all greatly interested in my project. I wish I had meet a lot of these folks before my kickstarter campaign. I got contact information for them and later while walking around, one of them stopped me to introduce me to someone else who is doing a lot of preservation work and thought we may be able to help each other. Did not realize I was going to be networking here, but it worked out pretty good.
I claimed my spot on the hill to watch the battle. I had a great spot. Front row and “50 yard line” so to speak. I was able to catch almost all the action. Good thing I rented the 500mm lens. Anything less would not have been good enough. My gear drew a lot of attention from the spectators around me and they were all asking questions before the battle started. I explained what I was doing and they were all excited. They were soon jotting down my web address. Hope some of you are reading this now. The battle began with cannon fire and a cavalry battle, followed by infantry fighting and continued cannon fire. There were charges and retreats and the lines changes hands back and forth. Men lay on the field acting dead or wounded and the cavalry clashed with sabers drawn and held high. After an hour of raging battle, the pace slowed down and came to a stop, where all on the field bowed their heads and a pair of buglers played “Taps”. The spectators erupted with a thunderous roar and applause and thanked the soldiers for show. I know the soldiers had good time, because they were all smiles. Afterwards, some Union Cavalry came over to the spectator area to talk to the crowd and answer questions. They were representing the U.S. 2nd Cavalry and had driven in from out of state to participate in the event. I had a great time at the reenactment and I will certainly be going back next year. I think I will take the boys with me, they would love it.
My time was running short so I headed out shortly after the battle and made my way back over to the state park. I made my images and spent an hour there. I finally made it home 12 hours after I left. I had spent 9.5 hours making images during the day and rest of the time was drive time. I filled up few 16 gig memory cards and had about 2500 images for the day. Not to bad I guess, now I just have to edit and edit and edit.
May 15th, 1864, the Battle of Resaca rages on and General Sherman attempts to out flank the Confederate Army. Sherman has General McPherson hold the position he gained on the day before at the mouth of Camp Creek at the Oostanaula River. He then orders Sweeny’s 2nd Division, who is reenforced by Kilpatrick’s Cavalry Division, to attempt a crossing of the Oostanaula River further south at Lay’s Ferry. Sherman ordered the units on the west side of Camp Creek to hold their lines and ordered Hooker’s and Howard’s Corps, on the north of Resaca, to attack the Confederate lines.
Along the norther Confederate line, Stevenson Division was in place and Capt. Maxillian Van Den Corput’s battery, the Cherokee Georgia Battery, was in place in advance of the main line in an effort to catch the attacking Federals in enfilading fire. The battery consisted of four 12 pounder Napoleon guns. This became a hotly contested part of the line. On the night of the 14th, General Johnston learned that Sweeny had withdrawn from Lay’s Ferry and was not able to cross the river. He then ordered General Hood to attack the norther part of the Federal line. This was around 4:00pm, General Hood ordered Stevenson and Stewart to attack, but by this time in the afternoon Stevenson was already under attack by Hooker’s Corp. After the attack had begun, General Johnston was informed that Sweeny was attempting to cross at Lay’s Ferry again. Johnston, fearing that railroad near Calhoun would taken by the Federal troops and his supply line compromised, ordered Hood to cancel the attack. It was too late and Stevenson was already heavily engaged and suffered significant losses. One of the major losses was Van Den Corput’s battery, the artillery men were forced from their works back to the main Confederate Line. The area around the battery became a no man’s land. During the night, Union soldiers were able to capture the Confederate cannons by digging through the earth berm in front of them and dismantling them and with the aid of ropes, dragged them back the Union lines.
After learning of Sweeny’s crossing and the threat to his supply line, Johnston ordered a retreat from Resaca.
May 14th, 1864 was the first day of the Battle of Resaca. This was the first large scale battle in the campaign. There were approximately 160,000 troops engaged over a two day period. Union casualties were around 3560 and Confederate casualties numbered around 2600.
General Hood attacks the Federal line north of Resaca and pushes them out of their lines and back about a mile. The 5th Indiana Battery shows up just in time and is able to support the retreating Federals, causing Hood to return to his lines and allowing the Union troops to retake their lines. There was fighting along the entire four mile long front.
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.
Co. Aytch: Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment or A Side Show of the Big Show
By Samuel Rush Watkins
Most of the books I have read are history book and are specific to a time and location or specific to a particular battle with maps, photos, directions, and land marks. I decided to take a departure from that and settled upon the memoirs of a foot soldier in the Army of Tennessee.
This was written about 20 years after the war and you are reminded of it regularly throughout the book. He goes on to say how he is not writing a history of what happened, but is relaying the experiences and thoughts of a Private in the Confederate Army. He does a very good job of this and covers every thing from the daily life to the thrill of battle and the agony of defeat. Samuel paints a very horrific picture of the conditions they lived in and of the aftermath of battle. He served throughout the entire war and saw action in a great number of battles, including the Atlanta Campaign.
I really enjoyed this fairly quick read at only 220 pages. You can find it free online in a pdf format or on your Nook for a dollar. It is full of funny tales and interactions and heartbreaking stories from the battlefield. If you want to know what it was like for the common soldier on the front lines during the Civil War, then this is a must read book. There are a great may personal diaries and memoirs out there and I think I will be reading some more. I really enjoy the personal side of it.
My Dad has been working on our family genealogy for many years. Last week while the boys and I were visiting my parents for spring break, I talked with Dad about our ancestors that fought in the Civil War. Turns out, we have quite a few that participated in the war. My 3rd Great Grandfather, Captain Andrew Kroeg, was the Captain of a Schooner called the “Santee”. He was a blockade runner for the Confederacy. He and his ship were captured near Charleston attempting to bring rice into the city. I also had four 3rd Great Grand Uncles that were in the 42nd Regiment Georgia Volunteers. They were Milton S. Brownlee, who was wounded in the right arm and wrist at the Battle of Resaca, Thomas Brownlee, who died of disease in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Warren Brownlee and John C. Brownlee who fought throughout the war with the 42nd Georgia Volunteers. They were assigned to the Army of Tennessee and fought throughout the Atlanta Campaign. They were involved in some pretty heated battles. I will do another post about the 42nd at a later date. I will also be highlighting some of their battle locations in my book. There was also Robert Mooney, who is a first cousin six times removed, he was in the 43rd Regiment Georgia Volunteers and fought in many of the same battles as the 42nd. He was captured during the fighting around East Atlanta and Decatur on July 21, 1864. He was sent to Camp Chase in Ohio where he died some time later. Another relative was James W. Rutledge, he was in the 155th Georgia Infantry and was captured at Cumberland Gap.
The Battle of Resaca
By Philip L. Secrist
Published by Mercer University Press
This is one of the few, if not the only, book dedicated just to the Battle of Resaca along General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. It is a fairly short book and a fast read with around 100 pages. The maps in the book are very good and show troop locations with modern roads, which really helps you understand the battlefield when you see it. I also like the inclusion of period images. The book is in two parts. The first part is about the battle itself and the second part is about the rediscovery of the battlefield during the construction of I-75. A very interesting book as a whole and I was really interested in the second part and how they were able to identify locations and units on the battlefield based on artifacts uncovered. If you are a Civil War buff and have an interest in the Atlanta Campaign, then this would be a good fast read for you.