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 threatening our line of communication at Resaca; from the position taken at Resaca to meet that movement, by a similar one on the part of the Federal general toward Calhoun—the second being covered by the river, as the first had been by the mountains. After abandoning Resaca, General Johnston hoped to find a good position near Calhoun; finding none, he fell back to a position about a mile north of Adairsville, where the valley of the Oothcaloga was supposed from the map to be so narrow that his army, formed in line of battle across it, could hold the heights on both flanks. On reaching this point, however, it was found that the valley was so much broader than was supposed, that the army, in line of battle, could not obtain the anticipated advantage of ground. Hence a further retreat to Cassville was ordered, seventeen miles farther south and a few miles to the east of the railroad. Here, supposing that the Federal army would divide, one column following the railroad through Kingston and the other the direct road to the Etowah Railroad Bridge through Cassville, General Johnston hoped that the opportunity would be offered him to engage and defeat one of the enemy's columns before it could receive aid from the other, and, as the distance between them would be greatest at Kingston, he determined to attack at this point. The coming battle was announced in orders to each regiment of the army. The battle, for causes which were the subject of dispute, did not take place as General Johnston had originally announced, and, instead of his attacking the divided columns of the enemy, the united Federal army was preparing to attack him. Here our army occupied a position which General Johnston describes as ‘the best that he saw during the war,’ but owing, as he represents, to an expressed want of confidence on the part of Lieutenant Generals Hood and Polk in their ability to resist the enemy, the army was again (May 19, 1864) ordered to retreat beyond the Etowah. General Hood, in his official report, and in a book written by him since the war, takes a very different view of the position in rear of Cassville, and states that he and General Polk explained that their corps were on ground commanded and enfiladed by the batteries of the enemy, therefore wholly unsuited for defense, and, unless it was proposed to attack, that the position should be abandoned. General Shoup, a scientific and gallant soldier, confirms this opinion of the defects of the position, as does Captain Morris, chief engineer of the Army of Mississippi, and others then on duty there.1
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