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 19th, 1864

June 19th, 1864

The Confederates are entrenched on the Kennesaw Mountain line and have multiple artillery pieces to the top of Little Kennesaw and Big Kennesaw.  It took 100 soldiers to move each cannon up the mountain.  Skirmishing continues all along the line, Federal and Confederate Artillery Batteries begin dueling back and forth.  General Sherman has ordered General Schofield’s Army of The Ohio to move from Lost Mountain, via the Sandtown Road, thus swinging the Federal right over Mud Creek and toward the south western portion of Kennesaw Mountain.  On the evening of the 19th, Schofield reaches Nose’s Creek, about half way between Mud Creek and Kennesaw Mountain.

Video:  Artillery Demonstration at the top of Big Kennesaw Mountain during the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
A cannon now sitting silently atop Big Kennesaw Mountain in the original earthworks.  The park service has protected the artillery pieces and earthworks here with a split rail fence.
Remnant of the period road that soldiers used to drag the cannons up to the top of Kennesaw Mountain.  It took 100 soldiers to drag each cannon to the top.
An artillery piece sits atop Little Kennesaw Mountain in what is called “Fort McBride”.
Earthworks and cannon at Fort McBride, Little Kennesaw Mountain.
Looking down the barrel of a big gun.  Ft. McBride, Little Kennesaw Mountain.
Part of Kennesaw Mountains extensive trail system snake behind the parapets and cannons where Confederate soldiers once fought bitterly against the attacking Union Army.