Resaca, Georgia; May 8-15, 1864

May 8TH – 15TH, 1864

Resaca, GA., May 8-15, 1864.

Armies of the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio. Resaca is located at the point where the
Western & Atlantic railroad crosses the Oostanaula river and
is about 15 Miles South of Dalton. It is on the West Side of
a peninsula formed by a bend in the Oostanaula and the
Connesauga river, and across this peninsula the Confederates
had constructed a line of rifle-pits with strong earthworks
near the town. The movement against this Place was commenced
on the 8th by McPherson’s demonstration Via Snake Creek Gap.
(See Rocky Face Ridge.) On the 11th and 12th Sherman moved
the main body of his Army West of Rocky Face ridge through
Snake Creek gap and on Friday, the 13th, a general advance was
ordered. McPherson occupied the right, his line extending
from the Oostanaula to the Sugar Valley road , Hooker’s corps
moved forward on that road preceded by Kilpatrick’s Cavalry,
Palmer’s Corps Took A position on Hooker’s left with orders to
proceed in a course parallel to the road as far as the
railroad, and Schofield, with the Army of the Ohio, formed the
Left. Howard’s Corps and McCook’s cavalry had been left to
keep up the demonstration against Dalton and Rocky Face ridge.
At Smith’s Cross-Roads, about 2 Miles from Resaca, Kilpatrick
encountered a considerable force of the enemy’s cavalry and A
Sharp skirmish ensued, in which Kilpatrick was severely
wounded, the command of the division devolving on Col. E. H.
Murray. On reaching the neighborhood of the railroad Palmer’s
skirmishers encountered those of the enemy and kept up A Sharp
skirmish until Dark.

Johnston Learned on the 12th of Sherman’s movement and
that night withdrew all his troops from the vicinity of Dalton
Toward Resaca. Although Sherman had a whole Day’s Start
Johnston’s Shorter Line of march enabled him to reach Resaca
with his entire force before the Federal lines could be drawn
around the town. As the Confederates retreated from Dalton
they were pursued along the railroad by Howard, who succeeded
in capturing A Number of prisoners. During the night of the
13th the enemy strengthened his works and the morning of the
14th found him in position with Hardee on the right, Hood in
the center and Polk on the left. About Noon Schofield and
Palmer advanced against the hills bordering on the railroad,
but met with a stubborn resistance Cox’s division on the left
carried and held the intrenchments in its front Judah’s
division was compelled to advance over uneven ground and being
subjected to an enfilading fire from the right was compelled
to fall back with considerable Loss. Palmer endeavored to
drive the enemy from an elevated position in his front. In
order to do this he had to descend A Hill within point-blank
range of several Confederate batteries, Ford Camp Creek, the
Banks of which were thickly bordered with bushes and vines,
and then ascend the uneven surface of the opposite Hill in the
face of a murderous fire of both artillery and infantry. The
troops charged down the Hill and crossed the creek, where they
became entangled in the dense mass of shrubbery, lost their
formation and were in the end repulsed with heavy loss. The
enemy now attempted to turn Schofield’s left, but Thomas Sent
Newton’s division, which had just arrived from Dalton, to
Cox’s support. The other divisions of Howard’s Corps Took
position on the left of Schofield as fast as they came upon
the field and the Confederates in front of this portion of the
line were finally forced to retire within their works.

That night the Union lines were so readjusted that at
daylight on the 15th Palmer’s Corps joined McPherson’s left,
then came Schofield Howard and Hooker in the order named, with
McCook’s cavalry on the extreme left. Sweeny’s division of
the 16th corps was ordered to Cross the Oostanaula at Lay’s
ferry on a pontoon bridge and threaten Calhoun. Garrard was
instructed to move with his cavalry division from Villanow
Toward Rome, Cross the Oostanaula at some convenient point and
break the railroad between Calhoun and Kingston. About 11
a.m. on the 15th Hooker attacked and carried some hills
occupied by the enemy on the eastern road from Resaca to
Tilton, drove the Confederates back about a mile and a half,
captured a 4-gun battery and about 200 prisoners. McPherson
crossed Camp creek near its mouth and secured a position where
his artillery commanded the railroad bridge. About 3 p.m.
Hood made a determined effort to recover the guns taken by
Hooker, but was repulsed. Hood was again ordered to advance,
but the order was countermanded when Johnston Learned that the
Federals had crossed the Oostanaula in his rear, and that
night the whole Confederate army retreated Toward Calhoun.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 6

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