August 28th, 1864

August 28th, 1864:

Around midday on the 28th, the Federal XV and XVII Corps reach the Westpoint railroad in  Fairburn and then, later in the afternoon, the Federal IV and XIV Corps reach the Westpoint railroad in Red Oak.  Sherman orders his troops to destroy as much of the railroad as possible so as to make it unusable and to burn the cross ties and bend the tracks so that no piece can be reused.  They are to begin immediately and continue to work all through the next day.

General Hood is starting to realize the threat is on the Western and Atlantic railroad near Jonesboro.  Hood has sent Reynold’s Brigade to Jonesboro by train and they will be followed by Lewis’s Kentuckians.  Brown moves to Rough and Ready with part of Bate’s Division to protect it from possible raids coming from Red Oak or Fairburn.
Looking south along the railroad at Red oak, in the direction of Shadnor Church and Fairburn.  Federal forces destroyed the railroad from here to Fairburn and labored for several days to do as much damage as possible.
 The Old Red Oak Post Office stood here along the tracks of the Atlanta – West Point Railroad.  Federals spent the 28th and 29th of August here destroying the railroad.
Shadnor Church, located in present day Union City, was a military landmark for the movement of Federal troops against the Atlanta – West Point Railroad and their later march to Jonesboro.  The Church was used at various times by both side as a hospital and as it was unoccupied at the time the railroad was destroyed, Sherman ordered the original log church be burned.  This is the third or fourth structure of this church on this site.
Looking north along the Atlanta – West Point Railroad in the direction of Red Oak.  Notice the Shadnor Church Cemetery to the right of the tracks.  These were destroyed by the Federal Army on the 28th and 29th of August 1864.
Looking south from Shadnor Church towards Fairburn.
The Atlanta – West Point Railroad in Fairburn.  Looking north towards Shadnor Church and Red Oak.  These tracks were destroyed and repaired several times during the Atlanta Campaign, but on the August the 28th and 29th, much more damage was done and miles of track were destroyed.

Retreat from Kennesaw Mountain

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.

July 1st, 1864

July 1st, 1864:

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.

Battle of Gilgal Church

June 15th, 1864:

In the mid afternoon of June 15th, Federal troops of the XX Corps under the command of General Hooker, attacked the Confederates of Cleburne’s Division.  The attack came from the north as the Federals moved down both sides of the Sandtown Road.  Cleburne’s Division was well entrenched and was backed up by artillery.  They were able to repel the Federal advance and eventually the Federals withdrew as they began to run low on ammunition.
The angle logs were to keep the “head log” from being blown into the trench as well as to keep other debris that may fall from an artillery bombardment.
Remnant of Confederate earthworks at Gilgal Church.
 Stone monument at the site of the Battle of Gilgal Church.  The monument sits next to the existing remnants of Confederate trenches.


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.


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.
The base of Brushy Mountain is no longer war torn, the only fighting that happens here is over sale items on Black Friday.  The ridge behind these stores still contains several thousand feet of intact earthworks.
View of Brushy Mountain from Kennesaw Due West Road near Hwy. 41.  Earthworks, as well as a large fortification with an ammo bunker still remain on the ridge.
From left to right, the low ridge is Brushy Mountain, followed by Kennesaw Mountain and then Little Kennesaw Mountain.  This high ground formed a strong line against the approaching Federals and repulsed multiple attacks.  It was later abandoned after the Confederates were out flanked.
Pine Mountain as seen from Kennesaw Mountain.  The mountain is now covered with houses and two large water tanks.  There are still remnants of earthworks that home owners have protected on their private property as well as the memorial to General Polk.
Lost Mountain as seen from Little Kennesaw Mountain.  This formed the western anchor of the Brushy Mountain line with Brushy Mountain forming the eastern anchor.  Pine Mountain was a detached salient point near the center of the line.
South side of Lost Mountain as seen from Lost Mountain park in Cobb County.  The mountain is now covered with home that start in the high $500,000.00 range.  I was not able to gain access to any of the mountain, but I have been told that there are still some visible earthworks on the mountain. 

June 9th,1864

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 6th, 1864

June 6th, 1864

General McPherson, with his Army of the Tennessee, established a line just south of Acworth at Proctors Creek.  General Sherman joins him there.  It has been one month since the start of the campaign.  Massive amounts of men and material have been moved a great many miles over the last month.  The Union Army now controls the railroad from Acworth on up to Chattanooga and beyond.  As soon as the bridge over the Etowah is repaired, the flow of desperately needed supplies will resume.