Johnston verse Grant for the West
Part Four of Action Jackson 1862
by David Atwell
By 1864 the American Civil War had entered its third year. Events in the East had been dramatic, to say the least, and had henceforth dominated the headlines of newspapers across both the Union and the Confederacy. But it was not the only theatre of war which was fundamentally important to the conclusion of hostilities. The western theatre, often overlooked, was just as fundamental to the outcome of the war, even if not more so, for it was here that the Union, time and again, gained victory after victory over their Confederate counterparts.
The Confederacy, however, did have the occasional victory itself: the most prominent of which was at Chickamauga in 1863. But it was only one victory in a series of defeats until 1864, where the Confederacy had been defeated in definitive battles such as Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga. And constantly one Union general’s name was linked to all such victories: U. S. Grant. Although it is probably fair to say that Cassville was hardly a victory, which made up for the long list of such defeats, it was the first significant one suffered by Grant. This alone changed the dynamics out west long enough for the Union advance on Atlanta to stall, for a few precious months, making life somewhat easier for the Confederate course out west.
Grant of the West
General U.S. Grant was one of those anomalies in history that come out of insignificance and are then given the chance to change the course of history. However, when the Civil War started, he was not even in the army, but working in the family leather goods store in Galena, Illinois, where his brother was his boss. Yet that all changed once war started. Being a West Point graduate, something very rare in the region, Grant soon found himself in charge of a regiment. And not long after that he kept moving up the ranks to that of a general in charge of an army.
Soon he was winning victories when others around him, who fancied themselves more highly, where suffering heavy defeats. As McClellan was chased away from Richmond, in disastrous fashion, Grant had achieved victories at both Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. When Pope’s Union Army of Virginia was annihilated at Second Manassas, Grant won a bloody struggle at Shiloh. And even though politics saw Grant miss further action, albeit for only a couple of months during the Washington DC debacles and the Battle of Hancock, Lincoln finally refused all advice and returned Grant to army command declaring "I can’t spare this man; he fights!"
Grant, needless to say, did not disappoint. At the same time as US General George Meade achieved his great victory at Gettysburg, Grant likewise achieved more fame by capturing Vicksburg along with all of Pemberton’s Confederate army of about 30 000 troops. Still, even with such a victory, Grant was not given any time to celebrate. Instead there was more work to do out west in the aftermath of the Rebel victory at Chickamauga. Even though Grant would soon gain victory once more, from the Union jaws of defeat at the subsequent Battle of Chattanooga, oddly enough it was not sufficient to see Grant head to command the Eastern Theatre as many had rumoured.
As strange as it may seem Grant, though, was thankful at not having to head to the Eastern Theatre. It was not, however, due to any fear of the legend-like Robert E. Lee, who’s reputation of late had been tarnished somewhat, but it was because Grant had a great dislike of the politics involved by being so close to Washington DC. Having heard stories of McClellan’s experience, not to mention those from Joe Hooker (even if taken with a grain of salt) who had come under Grant’s command at Chattanooga, Grant was decidedly in favour of missing out on such things and simply preferred to be a good soldier. And this is all despite the fact that Meade, by conducting his huge fourth day counterattack at Gettysburg, which had seriously hurt the Army of Northern Virginia, had made enough currency with Lincoln in order to keep him in command in the East for the present.
As said, that was fine with Grant, who had already developed a grand plan anyway, for early 1864, and wanted to see it through personally. He would have an army, at his disposal, numbering at least 100 000 troops. This number was only just bettered by the Army of the Potomac, but unlike Meade, who faced around 55 000 Confederate troops, Grant reckoned he faced only 40 000 Rebels or thereabouts. With all things henceforth taken into account, considering all his commanders were now seasoned veterans with many a victory under their belts, Grant was confident that Atlanta would be in his hands by July 1864. His new Confederate counterpart, however, had different ideas.
The life of the Confederate Army of Tennessee was hardly that of an easy one. Its previous commander, Braxton Bragg, was disliked to say the least and his only significant victory was at Chickamauga. Yet even that victory should be awarded to James Longstreet, who after Gettysburg, found himself out west to remedy a bad situation. Consequentially, when Bragg was defeated by Grant at Chattanooga, even Bragg realised that he could no longer command. Confederate President Jeff Davis had to, thus, appoint someone and that turned out to be Joe Johnston.
Johnston, though, had had a mixed career as a general for the Confederacy and was far from liked by Davis. In fact they both loathed each other. However, by late 1863, Davis had no other choice. Furthermore Robert E Lee had gone as far as recommending Johnston for the job. Johnston took little time in getting to his new headquarters in order to assess the situation. Alas what he soon discovered, about the condition of the Army of Tennessee, was far from heartening. Still Johnston was given five months grace, by Grant, as the Union developed their plans and built up their logistics for the long slog to Atlanta that Grant was sure to come. Johnston did not disappoint.
Grant’s offensive, though, began with more of a whimper than with a bang. Even though the region around Chattanooga had been cleared of Confederate soldiers, south of Missionary Ridge, however, was a different story. Grant, though, enjoyed the advantage of numbers and Johnston was well aware of this. Consequently, when Grant’s army started its first steps south, the forward Confederate units slowly withdrew. Johnston’s plan was essentially to wear Grant’s army group down, possibly catch a part of it somewhat isolated, then pounce upon it doing great damage. This, though, was easier said than done as the one Confederate army faced three major commands: General McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee; Sherman’s Army of the Cumberland; and Schofield’s smaller Army of the Ohio; whilst a large cavalry corps also accompanied Grant’s army.
Even with this advantage against him, Johnston was still eager to conduct battle at Dalton, after McPherson’s army had manoeuvred some 15 miles to the west of the town, meaning the Confederates and the two Union armies baring down on them were roughly equal in numbers. But then, as Grant had planned, McPherson’s army began to swing east in an effort to outflank Johnston’s position. This, thus, forced the Confederates into a hasty retreat back to Resaca, where the Confederates once more tried to made a stand. But with little in the way of geography to stop McPherson, the Union general once more attempted another outflanking manoeuvre, meaning Johnston was given little choice but to once more withdraw or risk being surrounded and annihilated.
Needless to say, by 16 May, Grant’s army group had travelled almost half way to Atlanta, with little more than skirmishing and a few rearguard actions with the withdrawing Confederates. Meanwhile, on the Confederate side, alarm bells starting ringing even to the point where even Johnston admitted that something had to be done soon. As it was, some favourable ground was finally reached on 18 May, in the vicinity of Cassville, were the ability to outflank this position was minimal, although not impossible. Still Johnston decided to make his stand here. And Grant would be in for one huge shock the next morning.
Battle of Cassville
The Battle of Cassville came as complete surprise for the Union Army group where Grant had taken the somewhat risky option of placing Schofield’s smaller army, in truth the size of a large corps, on his left. His decision for doing so was to use this smaller force to feel out the Confederate positions, then pin them in place, until Sherman could come along and heavily attack them, whilst McPherson would be given the opportunity to get around behind the Confederates in an effort to envelop them.
So far the tactic had worked reasonably well and success had been achieved at both Dalton and Resaca. This had, though, all been based on the assumption that Johnston would fight a defensive campaign, a strategy which he was renowned for, and not go on the attack himself. Still, Grant believed, even if Schofield’s smaller command had to fight off such an attack, Sherman would be nearby to ensure no disaster would take place through offering massive support.
What Grant did not realise, however, that by Cassville, Johnston had gained reinforcements, in the form of Forrest’s Cavalry Corps and Polk’s Infantry Corps, which Johnston thought adequate in order to plan a sudden and violent attack. Furthermore Grant was not aware of the restrictive terrain, in the surrounding region of Cassville, and presumed that McPherson would once again swing around as he had previously. Thus an air of overconfidence hung over the Grant’s Union Army group, on the evening of 18 May, unaware of what was about to happen.
Day One (Cassville) - 19 May
The 19 May 1864 started out as any other so far in May with the Union army breaking camp and marching off south in their columns. As Schofield’s Army passed through Adairsville, nothing was seen of any Confederates. Slightly to the west, in the centre of the overall Union line, divided by a ridge, Sherman’s large Army marched in parallel to Schofield, whilst further west again, as previously, marched McPherson’s Army. Grant was with Sherman as they discussed plans for the day ahead. By 10 AM, however, all those plans had rapidly changed.
Out of nowhere, or so it seemed to Schofield and his soldiers, thousands of Rebels came charging out of hiding as they passed a large hill to their east. This happened at the worst of times, for the Union, as Sherman’s Army was out of visual contact with a large ridge line separating the two commands. Still, dispatch riders were immediately sent to get help, as the Union battleline formed up, but conducting a successful defence was easier said than done.
The first stage, thus, of Johnston’s plan had hence begun, although it was nearly called off at the last moment due to reports of a Union cavalry division somewhere to the east of Hood’s Corps. But Johnston was determined to attack, regardless, even though he did send off a cavalry division, under the command of Wheeler, in order to keep their Union counterparts away from Hood’s right flank. This having been done, Hood unleashed his Corps onto the unexpected Schofield.
It was not, though, as if Grant and Sherman had not heard the opening shots of the Battle of Cassville. On the contrary they both did, as did many in Sherman’s Army. Thus, as they had done previously, Sherman’s soldiers changed their heading, from towards the south, and marched east to assist Schofield just as dispatch riders arrived to inform Grant and Sherman of the situation. Both were surprised, as to the sudden surprise attack, yet responded with all haste. Not only was the double quick ordered, to rush along Sherman’s troops, but riders were sent to McPherson to arrive as soon as possible.
Being the veterans that they were, in the Army of the Cumberland, they were soon responding and organised their battlelines as they rushed east towards their comrades in trouble. At the same time, however, both Polk’s and Hardee’s Corps were moving orderly into line, to the west of Hood’s Corps, and ran straight into Sherman’s Army coming across from the west. Thus Sherman’s troops would never get to assist Scofield’s Army, which was soon on its own, as a second full-on battle now raged around Kingston located to the west of Cassville.
As a result of this, Scofield’s Army was soon forced, by sheer weight of numbers and firepower, into head long retreat. With Hood’s Corps right after them, Union troops were dropping like flies once order broke down. Scofield, though, near the end of his column, managed to organise a defence line around Adairsville, where Union survivors of Hood’s charge began to rally. This was somewhat effective, insofar as a potential rout was thus stopped, but what really saved the 7 000 or so Union survivors was the arrival of the leading elements of McPherson’s Army.
Like Sherman, McPherson wasted little time in heading east as per his orders which had already been prepared and carried out previously. However, even McPherson was not ready for the sight before him, when he reached the rear of Sherman’s command stalemated around Kingston, against the effective Rebel defence. In fact the combined Corps of both Polk and Hardee had even began to push the Union battleline backwards causing a large number of Union casualties in the process. Johnston, though, at this moment upon seeing McPherson’s columns marching towards him, now feared that he could be outflanked, in his current position, so he immediately ordered Hood to withdraw. Hood was not overly keen on the idea, having achieved so much in just over an hour or so, but understood the danger involved. Thus Schofield, even with much of his command destroyed, survived the battle along with some 7 000 of his soldiers.
Hood’s job, though, was far from over, for Johnston’s plan was still running along albeit the schedule had been rapidly moved up. Fore as Hood’s Corps withdrew, they immediately took up new positions at Allatoona Pass, just to the south of the Etawah River. Then, once in position, Polk’s Corps disengaged from Sherman’s battleline, followed by Hardee’s Corps, which acted as rearguard. Sherman’s Army was so badly mauled, having lost close to 7 000 troops, it could hardly pursue, whilst McPherson could only sit frustratingly where he was, as Sherman’s battleline blocked his path forward and the Etawah River, to the south, ensured it would take some time before any outflanking manoeuvrer could be attempted.
Although Wheeler’s Cavalry Division would be involved in combat, with its Union counterpart, for the rest of the day, little other fighting took place. Basically it was over by 2 PM. All the exhausted Union troops could do was simply watch as their Confederate counterparts, from all three Corps, deployed along the ridges around Allatoona Pass fearing all too well what tomorrow may bring. Grant, though, knew he had the fresh army of McPherson to use and saw no reason why it could not cross the Etawah River, somewhere up stream, whilst Sherman’s battered and bruised army would keep the Confederates in place. He was, however, annoyed at himself in having Schofield’s command more or less destroyed with the loss of 10 000 troops, not to mention Sherman’s casualties, for some 4 000 Confederate casualties overall. Yet he still did not know that Forrest’s Cavalry Corps was around somewhere and just as fresh as McPherson’s Army.
Day Two (Allatoona Pass) - 20 May
McPherson’s Army moved out at first light. Its initial objective was to take the bridge, still standing, south of Kingston spanning the Etawah River. This was achieved relatively quickly, with little resistance offered except for a Confederate cavalry company which had no chance of stopping the 38 000 or so Union troops heading their way. It seemed to Grant that Johnston had, in the hustle and bustle of the previous day’s fighting, forgotten about the bridge and the potential for another outflanking manoeuvre.
Soon, one division, then a second, had crossed the river and were lining up to defend a bridgehead, so that the rest of McPherson’s Army could follow. Johnston, however, had indeed planned a response, but in an error of judgement, decided to only defend the bridge with Forrest’s Corps. He could have overnight, though, moved one of the main infantry corps, to reinforce Forrest, yet was hoping that Sherman would attack Allatoona Pass instead. Still that mattered little to Forrest who relished the opportunity given to his small command of roughly 6 000 troops. Although outnumbered, Forrest would fight.
Thus, not long after dawn, just as the Union was establishing their bridgehead, the artillery in Forrest’s command opened fire on the Union troops who had crossed the river. This caused some concern, for these troops, although Grant was half expecting some resistance at some point considering he knew only too well that Johnston still occupied Allatoona Pass. But if Johnston thought that Grant was going to attack there en masse he was wrong. Having said that, Sherman was given the task of demonstrating, in front of the pass, in an effort to convince Johnston that an attack may indeed take place. And it was one such illusion which happened to fool Johnston for a couple of hours.
McPherson, though, was grateful for Johnston being distracted, otherwise his solders could have been slaughtered. Union guns were soon rushed up to the northern river banks and started to engage with their Southern counterparts attacking the beachhead. Needless to say, this caused Forrest’s guns to commence a duel, with their Northern counterparts, and, due to weight of numbers, the Confederates were beginning to lose this battle. Unfortunately for the Union, the two infantry divisions, thinking it was time to charge the Southern guns, advanced quickly towards them unawares that the rest of Forrest’s Corps waited for them.
Consequentially, when the Union front ranks got within range of Confederate musketry, some 6 000 Rebels arose and let loose a most dreadful salvo right into a similar number of Union troops. The Union line staggered, took a breath, and tried to advanced again. Yet, once again, the Confederates let lose another salvo, which did much damage to the Union line. These Union troops, by now, had also begun to return musket fire, but the Confederate losses were minimal in comparison. Soon the initial Union advance turned into a retreat as some 4 000 survivors rushed back to the river seeking shelter along the river banks. Here the Union artillery gave much support, but it mean that vital pressure was taken off their Southern counterparts who, now without having to conduct a duel with the Union guns, began a methodical bombardment of the Union batteries.
This situation so concerned Grant, that he ordered Schofield to gather his very weak command, still at Adairsville, and lead them south to lend their fire support to McPherson’s efforts. Having said that, McPherson had continued to send troops across the river, even when the initial attack had been rebuffed, to ensure that he could bring as much of his firepower to bare upon Forrest’s Corps. Thus by 9 AM, some four divisions of Union troops, including the two badly mauled ones, once more tried to advance forward and break Forrest’s battleline. Combined with support, coming from Schofield’s artillery and 7 000 troops, Forrest was seriously outnumbered and it soon began to tell.
Johnston, at this point, realised his error and knew that Forrest could not hold his line for much longer. Johnston at first, though, contemplated moving Hardee’s Corps down from Allatoona Pass, to reinforce Forrest, but thought time was nevertheless against him. Consequentially orders were issued to commence a full withdrawal. Hardee’s Corps would leave first, followed by Hood’s Corps. Finally Polk’s Corps would look after the rearguard duties.
Yet before Hood’s Corps could leave, Sherman noticed that the Rebels were deserting Allatoona Pass. In a rushed effort to get into the fight, before the Confederates could get away once more, Sherman ignored his original orders of conducting a mere demonstration and, instead, rushed two divisions straight at the Pass itself. Needless to say, even if the defenders had been weakened by one third, 1 500 of Sherman’s troops were gunned down within twenty minutes. An angry Grant could do nothing else but simply watch on as the futile attack was repulsed.
Having said all that, Sherman’s impromptu attack almost succeeded in pinning both Hood’s and Polk’s Corps in place as McPherson slowly pushed ahead against Forrest’s stubborn defence. And just as the Confederate cavalry were remounting, in order to withdraw themselves out of the battle, first Hood, then Polk, were able to rush south of Allatoona Pass just in the nick of time, as the Union cavalry, which had waited impatiently behind McPherson, were now unleased in an attempt to get behind the Confederates defending the Pass. Instead they lashed out at open air.
Forrest, meanwhile, dashed away to the west towards Rome, which also meant to say that the few fresh units of McPherson’s Army headed in the wrong direction when they mistakenly pursed Forrest instead of chasing after the main Confederate Army. This, though, did not worry Forrest overly much, as he was soon able to leave his Union pursuers behind, made it to Rome, where his Corps brushed aside a small body of Union cavalry, then headed north to fulfil his next lot of orders. And as Grant was about to discover, Forrest’s orders were to now cause as much chaos, behind the front lines, as he could achieve. Needless to say it would turn out to be quite a lot.
Grant’s army group had been serious hurt after two days of heavy fighting. Not only had the Union suffered 17 000 casualties, on the first day of the bloody struggle, but a further 5 000 had become casualties on the second day, with McPherson suffering 3 500 in loses and Sherman the rest. The Confederates by far had the best of it with a combined loss of just over 5 000 for the two days of fighting. Grant knew, albeit reluctantly, that his army needed reinforcements, supplies, and a few days recuperation.
Consequentially, 20 000 Union troops were soon sent to Chattanooga from the eastern theatre as reinforcements, at Grant’s request. These, though, would never reach Grant as Forrest, only a day or two after the dramatic Battle of Cassville, commenced his raids all along Grant’s supply lines stretching from Chattanooga. These raids caused a tremendous amount of damage, especially to the railway, and thousands of Union troops, including the 20 000 reinforcements, were busy chasing after Forrest in a fruitless attempt at stopping him. Sherman declared that Forrest be killed at all costs, "even if it bankrupts the Treasury", so effective was Forrest’s 5 000 cavalry men.
What was worse, though, for Grant, was that his once quick advance south now became a full on crawl. It took some two weeks, for his once proud army, to move from Allatoona Pass to Dallas and New Hope Church. Here the Union 70 000 or so survivors encamped whilst some 35 000 Union troops chased after Forrest. Consequentially, no reinforcements came Grant’s way, whilst this was going on, and Grant’s supplies were cut in half. Although no one starved, it ensured that the march on Atlanta could not go ahead either anytime soon.
Meanwhile Johnston, now free of the continuous pressure coming from Grant, could sit down and plan accordingly. Although Atlanta was only 30 miles away, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee had done well. What it needed to do, though, was ensure that their Union counterparts suffered another large defeat somewhere before Atlanta. Jeff Davis, the Confederate President, more or less demanded it and wanted to know Johnston’s plans. In a telegram exchange Johnston informed his President that Kennesaw Mountain would be were the next stand would take place. In fact Johnston was so confident that this would be the site of the next major battle, the region had been occupied at the same time as the Union had occupied Dallas. And here Johnston was prepared to sit and wait for Grant’s next move.
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
By mid June, after waiting at Dallas for almost three weeks, Grant decided he had had enough of doing nothing. Although he still had not received any reinforcements, during this time, supplies of ammunition and food had reached the point where he was confident he could resume his march. Consequentially, even with Forrest on the loose to the north, on 24 June Grant sent his 6 000 strong Cavalry Corps out to locate Johnston’s position as the Union had pretty much lost track of their counterparts movements not long after arriving at Dallas.
Whilst that was taking place, Grant decided to reorganise his battered army. Both Sherman and McPherson were to lose a division each to Schofield’s badly mauled Army of the Ohio. Although it would still be called that, in truth now it was only a corps of 14 000 troops. This meant that McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee was reduced to just over 30 000 troops and Sherman’s Army of the Cumberland was down to 20 000 troops. Thus Grant’s original structure of having three main commands was repeated, albeit they were down in numbers. Furthermore Grant was wanting to return to his outflanking manoeuvres, which proved to be highly successful at first, rather than get involved in another slogging match.
Johnston, on the other hand, wanted another slogging match as the ground he had chosen to fight on at Kennesaw Mountain was very good defensive ground. He was, though, concerned that he could be outflanked to the south, forcing him to withdraw, but the numbers superiority was no longer as large as previously. Johnston, thus, was prepared to place his largest corps, that being Hardee, in a position to the south of Kennesaw Mountain, whilst establishing both Hood and Polk along the ridge line itself. Union cavalry discovered this, in somewhat hazardous fashion, on 25 June, whereupon they established their own tenuous line, albeit at a respectable distance, and sent dispatch riders to inform Grant of their discovery.
Grant wasted little time in marching his army group to Kennesaw Mountain. With Scofield on the left, and Sherman in the centre, once more Grant wanted Scofield to probe the Confederate defences first with Sherman in full support. Thus on 27 June, Scofield conducted a skilful, yet cautious approach, coming in from the north, with his line linked with Sherman’s Army towards the west. McPherson was held back at this point, in reserve, with orders to swing around to the south once the location of the Confederate army was known.
Johnston, though, was waiting for the Union army and was ready. By Midday Scofield’s force had relieved the Union Cavalry of their positions and was slowly advancing towards the Rebel’s right flank. The Union Cavalry, though, hang around on Scofield’s open flank to ensure that no surprise attack would take place as had happened at Cassville. At this point Sherman’s troops likewise advanced in order to feel out the Rebel positions, but then it all went wrong. Sherman’s troops, demanding revenge for their losses at the Battle of Cassville, got carried away and charged straight into the waiting Confederate defences. Grant could not believe it and ordered Sherman, who was beside him at the time discussing tactics for the forthcoming battle, to get his troops back under control. But it was too late as the cannons on both sides opened up announcing that the battle had started in earnest.
Alas for McPherson, as far as he knew, this was the signal to swing to the south. Thinking that the path was clear, as no scout report had suggested the contrary, McPherson’s Army moved as fast as possible. Yet, just as Sherman’s troops were getting cut down on the mountain slopes, the leading elements of McPherson’s Army ran head long into the waiting Corps of Hardee. Although McPherson’s soldiers quickly deployed into their battlelines, the Confederates poured cannon and gunfire into them as fast as they could. Soon McPherson’s Army was back peddling and it appeared to be breaking. It was at this moment when McPherson, in a sign of gallant courage, joined the front ranks to steady his troops.
The Confederates, though, seeing the Union line waver, lost discipline and charged thinking they could rout the Union soldiers thus winning a grand victory all on their own. This took place just as McPherson had personally steaded his troops and were thus ready for the Confederate charge. And even though the Union had lost something like 4 000 casualties, at this point, they still had a numbers advantage over their Rebel counterparts.
The fighting which followed, which last for over an hour, was amongst the most savage to be seen on a Civil War battlefield. And considering the Western Theatre was often much worse, than the Eastern Theatre, that is saying something for the violence involved in the melee. Much of it was spaced only a few yards apart and hand-to-hand fighting was as common as musketry. In the middle of this vortex of battle, McPherson was shot and killed after some 45 minutes of constant combat. Yet, so angered were his soldiers, at the death of their brave general, the tide of battle began to turn and soon the Confederates were forced to withdraw.
Johnston, who had feared that his position at Kennesaw Mountain was now about to be outflanked, gave orders for first Hood then Polk to withdraw. This was far from an easy to do, especially in the case of Polk, who half expected Sherman’s Army to suddenly attack again as it had just after Midday. Furthermore, even though that attack proved to be futile, Polk did not know that it was in fact a mistake. Sherman, now back in command, firmly halted all advances of his Army and settled them down only to watch on as Polk, finally convinced that no further attack would occur, withdrew after Hood.
Finally Hardee, who’s Corps had had by far the worst of it, likewise withdrew and acted as rearguard. Hardee’s Corps, though, would continue to get it hard as the Union Cavalry Corps, supported by Schofield, continued to harass it as the Confederate Army withdrew to the southern banks of the Chattachoochee River.
The next day, the bulk of Grant’s army arrived on the northern side of the Chattachoochee River but it was in no shape to cross the river in the face of the Confederates. Grant had lost a further 10 000 troops, at Kennesaw Mountain, thanks to Sherman’s troops getting out of control, wherein 2 500 were casualties, and McPherson’s Army losing 7 500 troops including their commanding general. Meanwhile the Confederates lost some 5 000 troops, mostly from Hardee’s Corps.
Consequentially, on the 4 July 1864, there were few celebrations in the Union camp overlooking the Chattachoochee River. Grant’s Army had pretty much bleed itself white. It was now a spent force with little chance of making it to Atlanta any time soon. Furthermore Forrest was still creating chaos, with about 5 000 cavalry, up and down the supply lines linking Chattanooga with Grant, whilst some 35 000 Union troops were tied up in fruitless efforts to catch and defeat him.
Grant, though, desperately needed those 35 000 troops if he were to continue his march on Atlanta. He even, which was rather rare, sent a telegram to Washington requesting reinforcements. But there were none to give him as General Meade, in charge of military operations in the Eastern Theatre, needed every soldier he could get his hands on in his efforts to defeat Confederate General Robert E. Lee in his own efforts to march on Richmond. As a result, Grant had to wait. And wait he would, even if it meant waiting until 1865 in order to defeat Johnston and take the conqueror’s prize of Atlanta.
To be continued…
Arnold, J. R. Chickamauga 1963, London, 1992.
Glatthaar, J. T. The American Civil War: The war in the west 1863-65, Oxford, 2001.
Krick, R. K. The American Civil War: The war in the east 1863-65, Oxford, 2001.
Smith, D. Sherman’s March to the Sea 1864, Oxford, 2007
Ward, G. C. Burns, R. & Burns, K. The Civil War, London, 1991.
Atlanta Campaign, Sherman leaves his lifeline, http://ngeorgia.com/history/atlantacampaign3.html
Union Corps Histories,http://www.civilwararchive.com/CORPS/uncorps.htm
And to everyone involved in the Battle of Cassville discussion at AH.Com including Anaxagoras, Max Sinister, Smaug, & robertp6165.