Whitfield County Civil War History

Dalton I

February 22-27, 1864


Principal Commanders:

  • Confederate: - Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Army of Tennessee
  • Union: - Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, Army of the Cumberland

Outcome:
Confederate victory, Demonstration on Dalton (1864)


Estimated Casualties:
Undetermined


General Sherman (US) launched a campaign, from Vicksburg, Mississippi, to take the railroad center at Meridian, and to push on to Selma, AL and threaten Mobile. The intent of the campaign was to prevent the shipment of Confederate men and supplies. Major General Ulysses S. Grant (US) ordered Major General George H. Thomas (US) to move his Army of Cumberland to southeast from Chattanooga along the Western & Atlantic Railroad to Dalton, Georgia to evaluate the possibility of success of an attack there on General Joseph E. Johnston (CS) and his Army of Tennessee to stall the departure of reinforcements to Alabama.  As a counter-measure, Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered troops into the area. While these operations unfolded, Thomas was determined to probe Gen. Johnston's army in the hope that Johnston's loss of two divisions,sent to reinforce Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk as he withdrew from Meridian, would make him vulnerable. The skirmishes, that began on February 24th, determined that Rocky Face Ridge and Mill Creek Gap were Well defended. On the 25th, the 39th Indiana Mounted Infantry attacked Dug Gap, just a few miles south of Mill Creek Gap. Also on the 25th at Crow Valley, Union troops almost turned the Rebel right flank, but ultimately it held. On the 26th, Brigadier General Hiram B. Granbury (CS) and his brigade drove the 39th Indiana out.  On the 27th, Thomas's army withdrew, after realizing that Johnston had established a stronghold at Snake Creek Gap and was ready and able to counter any assault. This discovery by Thomas was to be significant in the upcoming Atlanta Campaign the following May


Rocky Face Ridge

May 7-13, 1864


Principal Commanders:

  • Confederate: - Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Army of Tennessee
  • Union: - Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, Military Division of the Mississippi

Outcome:
Union victory, Beginning of the Atlanta Campaign (1864)


Estimated Casualties:
Undetermined


On May 7th Major General William T. Sherman (US), commander of the US Military Division of the Mississippi, had just moved south through Ringgold Gap and established headquarters in the Clisby Austin House in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston had entrenched his army of 54,500 men on the long, high mountain of Rocky Face Ridge and eastward across Crow Valley. As Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman approached, he decided to demonstrate against the position with two columns while he sent a third one through Snake Creek Gap, to the right, to hit the Western & Atlantic Railroad at Resaca. The two columns engaged the enemy at Buzzard Roost (Mill Creek Gap) and at Dug Gap. In the meantime, the third column, under Maj. Gen. James Birdseye McPherson, passed through Snake Creek Gap and on the 9th advanced to the outskirts of Resaca where it found Confederates entrenched. Fearing defeat, McPherson pulled his column back to Snake Creek Gap. On the 10th, Sherman decided to take most of his men and join McPherson to take Resaca. The next morning, Sherman' s army withdrew from in front of Rocky Face Ridge. Discovering Sherman's movement, Johnston retired south towards Resaca on the 12th.


Resaca

May 13 - 15 , 1864


Principal Commanders:

  • Confederate: - Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Lieutenant General John Bell Hood
  • Union: - Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, Maj General John M. Palmer, Maj General John M. Schofield

Outcome:
Inconclusive, Atlanta Campaign (1864)


Estimated Casualties:
2,747 US - 2,800 CS


Sherman left a corps and two cavalry divisions at Dalton and marched on Resaca and anchored the ends on the Oostanaula and Conasauga Rivers. From May 13 to 15 Sherman attacked Johnston's line. On May 13 McPherson drove the Confederates back into Resaca on the right. The next day the attacks by US Major General John M. Palmer's XIV Corps and US Major General John M. Schofield's XXIII Corps in the center were slowed by the thick underbrush and Camp Creek. They were hit by Confederate fire when they moved against a salient angle and were repulsed with heavy losses. Federal artillery supported the attack with devastating effects from across the creek, less than a mile away. Finding the Federal left flank vulnerable, CS Lieutenant General John Bell Hood attacked on the evening of May 14 and again on the morning of the 15th. His first attack was initially successful but was slowed by an Indiana battery and a single brigade (Robinson's) from Hooker's XX Corps before darkness forced him to withdraw. Hood's attack resumed the next morning, but by that time Hooker's corps had arrived in force, and Hood was repulsed. Hooker attacked the Confederates and overran the Cherokee Georgia Artillery Battery but was turned back at the main Confederate line



Civil War 150th Anniversary
Civil War 150th Anniversary



Dalton II

August 14-15, 1864


Principal Commanders:

  • Confederate: - Maj Gen Joseph Wheeler
  • Union: - Maj Gen James B Steedman

Outcome:
Union victory, Atlanta Campaign (1864)


Estimated Casualties: Undetermined


Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler and his cavalry raided into North Georgia to destroy railroad tracks and supplies. They approached Dalton in the late afternoon of August 14 and demanded the surrender of the garrison. The Union commander, Col. Bernard Laibolt, refused to surrender and fighting ensued. Greatly outnumbered, the Union garrison retired to fortifications on a hill outside the town where they successfully held out, although the attack continued until after midnight. Skirmishing continued throughout the night. Around 5:00 am, on the 15th, Wheeler retired and became engaged with relieving infantry and cavalry under Maj. Gen. James B. Steedman’s command. Eventually, Wheeler withdrew. The contending forces’ reports vary greatly in describing the fighting, the casualties, and the amount of track and supplies captured and destroyed. This engagement was inconclusive, but since the Confederates withdrew, it may be termed a Union victory.


Dalton III

October 13 , 1864


Principal Commanders:

  • Confederate: - Gen. John B. Hood
  • Union: - Maj Gen John M. Schofield

Outcome: Confederate victory, Demonstration on Dalton (1864)


Estimated Casualties: Undetermined


In late September following the fall of Atlanta, CS General Hood headed north, striking the Federals' supply line, the Western & Atlantic Railroad, and the small garrisons that guarded it. At Allatoona on October 5 the garrison held out in a fierce contest. Hood bypassed Resaca because its fortifications were too strong and marched on to Dalton. On October 15 US General Schofield barely escaped by rail before the Confederates surrounded the town. CS Major General William Bate's soldiers captured the garrison, 751 men of the U. S. 44th Colored Infantry commanded by US Colonel Lewis Johnson, after they had barricaded themselves in Fort Hill. They paroled the officers and returned some of the African American soldiers to slavery. Hood headed into Alabama to prepare for his march toward Franklin and Nashville. US General Sherman gave US General Thomas the responsibility for stopping Hood in Tennessee. As soon as he obtained US Lieutenant General Grant's approval, Sherman returned to Atlanta to begin his March to the Sea