Sherman realized the pass could be easily defended, the high ridge on either side of the railroad tracks would be expensive to take. Instead, the Union commander decided to move south, into the rugged hills of present-day Paulding County.
Dallas, Georgia was a small farming community, and although no railroad serviced the community, the crossroads offered many strategic possibilities to threaten Johnston's position. While the move from Chattanooga, Tennnessee to Kingston took 12 days, as Sherman crossed "The Rubicon of Georgia" (his somewhat egotistical name for Georgia's Etowah River), his advance slowed to a crawl.
Johnston, who disappeared into the Allatoona Mountains with his entire army quickly discovered Sherman's movement and extended his line west along an arc of ridges that stretch from Kennasaw Mountain to Dallas. Sherman's XX Corps, under the command of Joseph Hooker, ran headlong into Hood's Corps at New Hope Church during a driving rainstorm. Hood's men stubbornly held their ground. Sherman decided to flank the Hood's Corps to the east with an attack near a small farm settlement (now Picketts Mill State Park)
George Thomas and Oliver Otis Howard scouted the Rebel line and decided to strike the eastern end of Rebel line on May 27th, 1864. The Battle of Pickett's Mill began in the late afternoon and continued to well after dark. Unknown to Sherman, Howard came up against Patrick Cleburne, the tough Arkansasian who had held off Sherman himself during the fighting at Missionary Ridge. Cleburne repulsed the Federal attack.
Sherman was in desperate need of a railroad to feed his men. In the middle of "a hell hole," with his supply lines extended and vulnerable and facing stiffening Rebel resistance, Sherman ordered his men east. Each mile the Union Army moved east reduced the supply line to the railroad.
Realizing the movement, Johnston ordered Hardee to advance in force on a reconnaissance at the western end of Sherman's line. Heavy Confederate losses resulted from the Battle of Dallas. As Sherman moved east from Dallas to the Western and Atlantic Railroad, General George Stoneman captured Allatoona Pass on June 1.
Georgia History Articles about North Georgia history and the state in general. This section is currently being developed. For more information on Georgia History, please see The Civil War in Georgia The Civil War in Georgia Beginning with the Great Locomotive Chase and the battle of Chickamauga, to the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea