July 6th, 1864: Johnston’s River Line

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.

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Remnants of a large artillery battery at the far south end of the River Line.  General Hood’s forces held the is area which was the left of the Confederate line.
A dead tree spans the remains of Confederate earthworks along the River Line.
Several thousand feet of earthworks, including a Shoupade and large artillery battery are still in great condition and have survived the years of urban sprawl in Metro Atlanta.
The inside of one of the Shoupades in what is known as the River Line Extension.
Looking south on Oakdale road.  They Confederate River Line followed the ridge line that Oakdale Road follows.  In a few spots along the road you can still see remnants of Confederate works on the left as you drive south.
Nickajack Creek and its valley separated the Confederate River Line from the Federal lines to the west.


July 5th, 1864

July 5th, 1864

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.

Looking at the inside of one of the best preserved of the remaining Shoupades.  This one now sits hidden in the woods and covered with English Ivy just a stones through away from a major expressway.


Shoupade Park, Cobb County.  Remnants of one of two Shoupades in the park.  There are also remnants of an artillery battery.
The second Shoupade at Shoupade park fenced off and covered with brush, but you can still see its size and shape.
A child’s tree house now stands guard over the remains of a large Confederate artillery battery located near the northern end of the River Line.
The crossed the Atlanta Road at this point.  Atlanta road, the road passing from the left to right of the image, is a period road that is still in use today.
The Confederates River Line crossed the railroad tracks here along the high ground at this railroad cut.
River Line Park, Cobb County.  The remains of a Shoupade are fenced off and still visible and protected in this park with ball fields and walking trails.

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, 24 Gun Battery

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.

Just in side the tree line of this low rise near the base of Kennesaw Mountain is the Federal 24 gun battery.
Remnants of one of the parapet walls at the 24 gun battery.
The gun notch is still slightly visible in the remnants of this parapet wall.
A view looking down the line of earthworks for the 24 gun battery.  Four separate emplacements are visible along this line.
Looking from the rear of the emplacement in the direction the gun would have faced.

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Pigeon Hill

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.

A monument to fallen Federals stands in a field near starting point of the Federal assault on Pigeon Hill. 
The hiking trail up to Pigeon Hill and Little Kennesaw follows the route that Federal soldiers took during the attack.  Look to where the trail appears to end(but really turns left).  You will the what are the remains of Confederate earthworks just as the attacking Federals would have seen.
Remnants of Confederate Earthworks on Pigeon Hill.  These are some of the first entrenchments that were encountered by the Federal assault.
Remains of Confederate earthworks on Pigeon Hill near the spot where George Barnard made an image of the battlefield in the fall of 1864.
A line of Confederate works on top of Pigeon Hill near the lower portion of Little Kennesaw. Notice the large boulders further down the line and the slope as goes do to the right where the Federals were trapped until nightfall.
More Confederate works with large boulders included into the line.
Looking down the slope the Federals tried to make an attack from.  During the battle the Federals were forced to retreat further down this small valley until the could make it back to their lines under the cover of darkness.
pigeon hill
This is a period image captured by photographer George Barnard in the early fall of 1864 as he traveled to Atlanta to photograph the campaign.
Here is the same location photographed by George Barnard only 150 years later.  Notice the large oddly shaped stone in the foreground of each image.

The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

June 27th, 1864

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.

 Located close to the Confederate lines at Cheatham’s hill are multiple markers for the fallen.
The Illinois monument placed here by veterans of the battle to honor their fallen comrades. 
The Left section of Turner’s Battery located along the lines of Cheatham’s Hill.
Numerous earthworks are located at Cheatham’s Hill, this section is between the parking lot and the Illinois monument. 
There were many accounts of soldiers being wounded and were left untreated on the field for several days during the battle until a truce was reached so that each side could tend the wounded and bury the dead.  This soldier laid here wounded for two day before he passed.
Confederate works along Cheatham’s Hill
Many Federal officers bravely led charges against the Confederate entrenchments, only to fall short mere feet from their goal.
 Coming from the approach of the Federals as they moved towards the salient in Cheatham’s line called the “Dead Angle” you will see the shallow remnants of hastily dug Federal works.  Morgan was a rear element behind McCook and Mitchell.
Just past Morgan’s position we find the starting point McCook’s assault on the Dead Angle.
Federal works of either Kimball’s or Hazen’s Brigade.  They were positioned next to each other with Hazen on the left and Kimball on the right as they attacked the Confederate line a few hundred yards north of the Dead Angle.  They would have been attacking Confederate brigades commanded by Govan, Polk and Granbury.
McCook, along with Mitchell on his right and Harker on his left attacked straight up to the Dead Angle, now home of the Illinois Monument.  Many a man died on this field.
June 27th, 2014:  150 years after the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, a luminary for each lost soul was place on the field of battle before the Illinois Monument to honor sacrifice for their country.
June 27th, 2014:  Reenactors in a Federal impression move among the luminaries like ghost of the men that died on this very ground.  After speaking with their unit, I was introduced to a direct descendant of soldier under McCook’s command that died on this very field 150 years ago


June 18th, 1864

June 18th, 1864

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.

 Remnants of Confederate earthworks that were used during the Battle of Latimer’s Farm.  Now located within the Barrett’s Green Subdivision, they were preserved in the local SCV Camp McDonald in conjunction with the builder.  This area was under a near constant artillery bombardment.
While hard to discern due to the undergrowth, this images shows a line of several Federal artillery positions.  The are called Lunettes.  It is rare to have some so well preserved and these have been protected on private property.  The property is now being developed into a subdivision and the Lunettes are being protected through the work of the local SCV Camp McDonald and the developer.
Remnants of Federal earthworks located on the same property as the Lunettes above. 
Efforts by the local SCV Camp McDonald and the developer to prevent the destruction of the remaining earthworks.
This shallow depression is all that remains of this section of Confederate earthworks in the area of Hardee’s Salient.  They are located on private property that has been farmed for sometime.
The small collection of minie balls found on the property of a farmer who owns the property where the previous image was taken.  He grew up on the family farm and still lives there today and as a teenager he claimed to have found a 55 gallon drums worth of minie balls in the fields which he sold to collectors.  Look close and you may see one with teeth marks…
 Now covered with trees and thick underbrush, these remnants of Confederate earthworks, that were part of Hardee’s Salient, now sit quietly behind a local church.

June 17th, 1864

June 17th, 1864,

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.

 Looking south east along Hwy 120 where it crosses Mud Creek.  The Confederates dug in atop the low rise in the distance in an attempt to stall the Federal advance as it crossed Mud Creek.  Many, if not all, of the earthworks are now gone and are covered my subdivisions and shopping centers.
Confederate earthworks at the far left (west end) of the Brushy Mountain Lost Mountain line.  These works were manned by Jackson’s Calvary.  These works were preserved by the local SCV Camp McDonald in conjunction with the Subdivisions builder and HOA.  They are now preserved as a small park for the subdivision. 
 Earthworks on the extreme right (East side) of the Brushy Mountain Lost Mountain line.  These works are located on Brushy Mountain in a small subdivision.  They are protected as a small park with historical information signs.
“Hoods Fort” on Brushy Mountain stands a large earthwork fortification along with several thousand feet of preserved trenches.  The exact purpose of the large fortification is unknown, but many speculate it was used as a ammunition bunker.  You can get a sense of the scale from this image as you can look down the slope to the base of the fortification. 
 A section of trenches curves its way around the base of the site known as “Hood’s Fort”