General Johnston’s Army of Tennessee now occupies the River Line and they have the Chattahoochee River to their back and the Federals to their front. General Sherman is looking for another route across the river that would allow him to turn Johnston’s Flank and force him from the River Line. The images below are from the southern half of the river line.
In the early morning hours, General Johnston and the Army of Tennessee, retreat from the Smyrna Line and fell back to the last line of previously prepared fortifications before the Chattahoochee River. Known as the River Line, it was conceived and constructed by Brigadier General Francis Asbury Shoup, Chief of Artillery for the Army of Tennessee. The River Line had a new style of fortification in the line, they were called a Shoupade. They were diamond shaped forts built with two of the angles sticking out ahead of the line. The Shoupades were placed anywhere from 60 to 175 yards apart depending on the terrain and were connected by earthworks that intersected the Shoupade roughly in the center. The angled section in front of the line from two adjoining Shoupades, allowed for a crossfire on an advancing enemy. Each Shoupade could hold 80 soldiers shoulder to shoulder. They were also constructed to withstand an extended artillery barrage. The Confederates occupied this line until the night of July the 9th, when the retreated across the river.
These images are from the northern half of the river line. Tomorrow I will post images from the southern half of the river line.
During the attack on Kennesaw Mountain the Federals set an artillery battery containing 24 guns in total. It was located on a low rise near the base of Big Kennesaw Mountain. These images are from the 24 gun battery which is protected by the National Park.
With so many locations in connection with the battlefield at Kennesaw Mountain, I am going to make several more post over the next few days with more images. There were just too many to include in yesterdays post. Today’s images will focus on Pigeon Hill.
On the morning of June 27th, Federals under the command of General McPherson attacked the Confederate line in the area of Pigeon Hill and Little Kennesaw north east of Cheatham’s Hill. The Federals quickly overran some Confederate pickets and rifle pits located ahead of the main line, but were quickly stalled by the well entrenched Confederates of French’s Division, which held Little Kennesaw and Pigeon Hill. The Confederates well entrenched with plenty of large boulders and rocks used as cover in their earthworks. At one point the Confederates were even rolling boulders and large down on the attacking Federals. French’s Division also held the advantage of the higher ground thus forcing the Federals to attack up steep inclines that had been heavily covered with entanglements by the men of French’s Division. The attacking Federals were repulsed and forced to retreat to low valley between Little Kennesaw and Pigeon Hill where they were trapped by musket and cannon fire for hours. They were finally able to retreat back to their lines after darkness fell upon the battlefield.
The battle of Kennesaw Mountain was really an extended operation that lasted for several days before and after the 27th. Troops were under small arms and cannon fire daily, the 27th was day of the main Federal Assault at Cheatham’s Hill, also known as the Dead Angle, as well as the area of Pigeon Hill and the remainder of the Federal left. After days of a stalemate, General Sherman was frustrated and ordered a frontal assault on the Confederate Lines. The attack was to begin at 8:00am on the 27th, but was delayed for nearly an hour. Their goal was to break the Confederate line at what they thought was the weakest point. They chose Cheatham’s Hill due the salient in the line. General Sherman ordered General McPherson to use his Army of the Tennessee to attack the right of the Confederate line as a diversion to the main assault. McPherson’s diversionary attack was carried out against Big Kennesaw, Little Kennesaw, and Pigeon Hill. General Schofield, who was still positioned astride the Powder Springs Road near Kolb’s Farm, was ordered to keep extending the Federal right flank in an attempt to reach the end of the Confederate lines and turn their flank. General Thomas and his Army of the Cumberland were positioned in the center of the Federal lines.
The main Federal assault was carried out by elements of Palmer’s XIV Corps and Howard’s IV Corps. They were attacking the salient angle that was manned by Cheatham and Cleburne of Hardee’s Corps. The Confederates were outnumbered, but were behind a strong line of works. The Federal troops took a beating and at one point on the hill, there was a dead spot. The Southern soldiers could not fire upon this spot due to the position of their works and the angle of the hill. The Union troops in this spot began to dig in with their bayonets, tin cups and dinner plates. They were only about 25 to 30 yards from their objective. During the night, shovels and picks were brought up to facilitate easier digging and an attempt to tunnel into the hill and under the Confederate works was made. The plan was to pack it with powder and blow up the works, but the tunnel was abandoned after only making it about half way to the Confederate line.
Federal losses were just over 3,000 and the Confederate losses were about 1000. This was a tactical defeat for the Federal Army, but Schofield eventually made it to the end of the Confederate line and began moving to flank General Johnston. This forced Johnston to withdraw from his lines at Kennesaw Mountain and towards the Chattahoochee. There are many stories of Gallantry, Bravery, and Humanitarian acts during the battle. The stories and accounts from the diaries of the men who fought and died here make for excellent reading and paint an vivid picture of what happened here.
With this battlefield being pretty well preserved I have a significant number of images to share. This post will contain images from the area of Cheatham’s Hill and tomorrow I will post a few images from Pigeon Hill.
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.
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.