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Cobb County and the
Kennesaw Mountain Battles
About North Georgia


Kennesaw Mountain | Park | Battles | Commanders
Trails | Park Tour | Kennesaw Mountain Attractions


Overview

Moving east from Dallas, General William Tecumseh Sherman fought a complicated series of actions against General Joseph E. Johnston across Cobb County, Georgia. at Lost Mountain, Pine Mountain, Gilgal Church, Pine Knob, Mud Creek, Brushy Mountain, Noonday Creek, McAfee's Crossroads, Battle of Kolb's Farm, The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Nickajack Creek and Ruff's Mill. Fighting began on June_9th, 1864 and continued for approximately a month, ending after Joseph E. Johnston withdrew his forces from the Chattahoochee River Line to Atlanta.

Retreat from Dallas

Sherman left his all-weather supply line, the Western and Atlantic Railroad, in Kingston on May_18, 1864 and advanced into the wilderness of William Hardee realized the units in front of him were leaving he struck the "Dallas Line" repeatedly beginning on May 28, 1864, slowing Sherman's withdrawal to the east. On June 1, 1864 Sherman's cavalry drove a small force of Confederates from Allatoona Pass.

West Cobb fighting

From June 1, 1864 until June 9, 1864, Sherman sidled east to protect his supply line and the cavalry holding Allatoona. On June 9th Sherman wrote "Our communications to the rear being secure and supplies ample, we moved forward towards Big Shanty." He began testing Johnston's line, finally deciding to concentrate on the area between Pine Mountain and Kennesaw Mountain.

Summary of Armies

The disposition of almost 100,000-man Union force were James Birdseye McPherson's Army of the Tennessee on the left, guarding the depot a Big Shanty and Allatoona Pass against Confederate cavalry raids, George Thomas Army of the Cumberland between McPherson and Pine Mountain, Joseph 'Fighting Joe' Hooker XX Corps from Pine Mountain west and John Schofield's Army of the Ohio trying to work his way behind Johnston's line.

The line established by the Confederates have various names including:

Lost Mountain Line
Pine Mountain Line
Brushy Mountain Line

Author Steve Davis calls them simply the Mountain Lines. These lines, plus the defenses of Kennesaw Mountain would define the fighting in Cobb County in June, 1864.

Johnston, with 66,000 men, was spread out for 9 miles from Lost Mountain to Brushy Mountain (north of Kennesaw). Hardee's Corps held the left from Lost Mountain to Pine Mountain, Polk's Corps held from east of Pine Mountain and John Bell Hood held the line north of Kennesaw Mountain. The Confederates abandoned Lost Mountain because Hardee could barely cover his line from Gilgal Church, west of Pine Mountain to Mud Creek. Johnston had William Hardee on the left, Bishop Leonidas Polk held the center and Hood covered the right.

Pine Mountain withdrawal

On June_14, 1864 a cannon barrage killed General Leonidas Polk on Pine Mountain. Johnston and Hardee realized that they could not defend Pine Mountain because of the Army of the Cumberland managed to outflank Hardee's position. Late in the day on June 14, Hardee ordered William Bates to abandon Pine Mountain, but kept control of both Gilgal Church and Pine Knob. Johnston appointed W. W. Loring as temporary commander of Polk's Corps to the east.

Gilgal Church

Hardee established his center in the vicinity of Mud Creek. On June 15, 1864, Sherman ordered a general advance because of the Rebel withdrawal from Pine Mountain and found them again in a line anchored by dependable Pat Cleburne at Gilgal Church to Kennesaw Mountain. Sherman ordered Hooker to engage the Rebel left in a general attack while McPherson engaged the Army of Tennessee in the vicinity of Acworth.

Daniel Butterfield, probably most famous for composing "Taps" during the Seven Days Retreat, and a portion of John Geary's Division struck Cleburne from the north while Milo Haskall, a brigadier under Schofield, moved in from the west. After a sharp engagement known as the Battle of Gilgal Church with between 800-1,000 causalities Hardee withdrew Cleburne and formed a line running north and south along Mud Creek on June 17. Sherman moved Hooker to the south to join Schofield in a maneuver designed to potentially outflank Kennesaw Mountain.

Mud Creek Line

Sherman again moved in on June 18, this time with a three regiment advance under Frederick Bartelson exploiting s multi-hour Union artillery crossfire to capture an important part of French's Hill near where the Mud Creek Line joined what remained of the Mountain Line. On the same day Union artillery from the Darby Plantation hammered Cleburne's southern end of the Mud Creek Line, seriously injuring Lucius Polk, the late Bishop's nephew. With the northern end of the Mud Creek Line nearly breached, Howard pressing on the center line and the southern end in jeopardy, Hardee withdrew to Kennesaw Mountain on June 19.

Battle of Kolb's Farm

The following day, June_20, 1864, O. O. Howard's IV Corps advanced to the Wallis Farm on Burnt Hickory Road. To counter Sherman's southern drift, Johnston withdrew John Bell Hood and extended W. W. Loring's line east. Hood moved through Marietta to Powder Springs Road. Coming around the southern end of the mountain Carter Stevenson heard both artillery and small arms fire and advanced on the Union position west of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. With Stevenson advancing, Hood pushed A. P. Stewart and Thomas Hindman forward in support of Stevenson.

Opposing Confederate forces at the southern end of Kennesaw were Joe Hooker's XX Corps and John Schofield's Army of the Ohio. Hooker absorbed most of the attack, driving Stevenson and Hindman back behind Kennesaw Mountain at nightfall. Hooker would later claim that he had the entire Confederate Army in front of him.

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

To the north on June 27, 1864, action during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain concentrated south of Dallas Highway at Cheatham Hill where Oliver Otis Howard's IV Corps and John Palmer's XIV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland struck Confederates under B. F. Cheatham and Patrick Cleburne and at Burnt Hickory Road where Blackjack Logan's XV Corps struck Loring's Corps at Pigeon Hill.

Confederate Withdrawal

The Confederate Army withdrew from Kennesaw on July 2, pulling back to the Smyrna Line and then the Chattahoochee River Line. Union troops under Schofield crossed the Chattahoochee River on July 9, 1864, near the confluence of Sope Creek. On July 10 Kenner Garrard's cavalry crossed the Chattahoochee at Roswell.

More Information

Of these battles only Battle of Kolb's Farm and The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain are protected by Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Although the armies only fought on two days, the battles are part of a complicated strategy that was, in essence, the start of the end game not only for the Atlanta Campaign, but The Civil War as well.

Contributing Editor Wayne Bengston offers "A Needless Waste of Lives", a strategic overview of the battles, then details the Battle of Kolb's Farm on June 22, 1864. Randy Golden offers "The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain," the events of June 27, 1864.

Preservation

While the national park protects the two major engagements field of battle, remnants of the other sites have suffered at the hands of developers. Preservationists have saved significant portions of some of these areas, but some of the original entrenchments are now destroyed. Local historic societies and associations have much work in front of them in the ongoing effort to save these important areas not covered by Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

Kennesaw Mountain | Park | Battles | Commanders
Trails | Park Tour | Kennesaw Mountain Attractions

County: Paulding County
Cobb County

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Article Links
A Needless Waste of Lives
Army of Tennessee
Army of the Cumberland
Army of the Ohio
Army of the Tennessee
Atlanta Campaign
Battle of Gilgal Church
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
Battle of Kolb's Farm
Battles
Chattahoochee River
Chattahoochee River Line
Commanders
General Joseph E. Johnston
General William Tecumseh Sherman
George Thomas
Gilgal Church
James Birdseye McPherson
Joseph 'Fighting Joe' Hooker
Joseph E. Johnston
Kennesaw Mountain
Kennesaw Mountain Attractions
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Leonidas Polk
Park
Park Tour
Patrick Cleburne
The Civil War
Trails
Western and Atlantic Railroad
William Hardee

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