previous next

[302] was at once directed to the south. In that direction I found Snake Creek Gap, affording me a good practicable way to reach Resaca, a point on the enemy's railroad line of communication, eighteen (18) miles below Dalton. Accordingly, I ordered General McPherson to move rapidly from his position at Gordon's Mill, via Ship's Gap, Villanow and Snake Creek Gap, directly on Resaca, or the railroad at any point below Dalton, and to make a bold attack. After breaking the railroad well, he was ordered to fall-back to a strong defensive position near Snake Creek, and stand ready to fall upon the enemy's flank when he retreated as I judged he would. During the movement, General Thomas was to make a strong feint of attack in front, while General Schofield pressed down from the north.

General Thomas moved from Ringgold on the seventh, occupying Tunnel Hill, facing the Buzzard-Roost Gap, meeting with little opposition and pushing the enemy's cavalry well through the Gap; General McPherson reached Snake Creek Gap on the eighth, completely surprising a brigade of cavalry which was coming to watch and hold it, and on the ninth General Schofield pushed down close on Dalton, from the north, while General Thomas renewed his demonstration against Buzzard Roost and Rocky-Face Ridge, pushing it almost to a battle. One division, General Newton's, of the Fourth corps, General Howard's, carried the ridge, and turning south toward Dalton, found the crest too narrow and too well protected by rock epaulments, to enable him to reach the gorge or pass. Another division, General Geary's, of the Twentieth corps, General Hooker's, also made a bold push for the summit, to the south of the pass, but the narrow road as it approached the summit was too strongly held by the enemy to be carried. This, however, was only designed as a demonstration, and worked well, for General McPherson was thereby enabled to march within a mile of Resaca almost unopposed. He found Resaca too strong to be carried by assault, and although there were many good roads leading from north to south, endangering his left flank from the direction of Dalton, he could find no road by which he could rapidly cross over to the railroad, and accordingly he fell back and took strong position near the west end of Snake Creek Gap. I was somewhat disappointed at the result, still appreciated the advantage gained, and on the tenth ordered General Thomas to send General Hooker's corps to Snake Creek Gap in support of General McPherson, and to follow with another corps, the Fourteenth, General Palmer's, leaving General Howard with the Fourth corps to continue to threaten Dalton in front, while the rest of the army moved rapidly through Snake Creek Gap. On the same day General Schofield was ordered to follow by the same route, and on the eleventh the whole army, excepting General Howard's corps, and some cavalry left to watch Dalton, was in motion on the west side of Rocky-Face Ridge for Snake Creek Gap and Resaca. The next day we moved against Resaca, General McPherson on the direct road, preceeded by General Kilpatrick's cavalry; General Thomas to come up on his left and General Schofield on his. General Kilpatrick met and drove the enemy's cavalry from a cross-road within two miles of Resaca, but received a wound which disabled him and gave the command of his brigade to Colonel Murray, who, according to his orders, wheeled out of the road, leaving General Me Pherson to pass. General McPherson struck the enemy's infantry pickets near Resaca, and drove them within their fortified lines and occupied a ridge of “bald” hills, his right on the Oostanaula, about two miles below the railroad bridge, and his left abreast the town. General Thomas came up on his left, facing Camp Creek, and General Schofield broke his way through the dense forest to General Thomas' left. Johnston had left Dalton, and General Howard entered it and pressed his rear. Nothing saved Johnston's army at Resaca but the impracticable nature of the country, which made the passage of troops across the valley almost impossible. This fact enabled his army to reach Resaca from Dalton along the comparatively good roads constructed beforehand, partly from the topographical nature of the country, and partly from the foresight of the rebel chief. At all events, on the fourteenth of May, we found the rebel army in a strong position behind Camp creek, occupying the forts of Resaca, and his right on some high chestnut hills to the north of the town. I at once ordered a pontoon bridge to be laid across the Oostanaula at Lay's ferry, in the direction of Calhoun; a division of the Sixteenth corps, commanded by General Sweeny, to cross and threaten Calhoun; also the cavalry division of General Garrard to move from its position at Villanow down toward Rome, to cross the Oostanaula and break the railroad below Calhoun, and above Kingston, if possible, and with the main Army I pressed against Resaca at all points. General McPherson got across Camp creek near its mouth, and made a lodgement close to the enemy's works, on hills that commanded, with short-range artillery, the railroad and trestle bridges; and General Thomas pressing close along Camp creek Valley, threw General Hooker's corps across the head of the creek to the main Dalton road, and down to it close on Resaca.

General Schofield came up close on his left, and a heavy battle ensued during the afternoon and evening of the fifteenth, during which General Hooker drove the enemy from several strong hills, captured a four-gun battery and many prisoners. That night Johnston escaped, retreating south across the Oostanaula, and the next morning we entered the town in time to save the road bridge, but the railroad bridge was burned.

The whole army started in pursuit, General Thomas directly on his heels, General McPherson by Lay's ferry, and General Schofield by obscure roads to the left. We found in Resaca

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George H. Thomas (9)
McPherson (8)
J. M. Schofield (7)
O. O. Howard (4)
Joe Hooker (4)
Joseph E. Johnston (3)
Lay (2)
J. Kilpatrick (2)
Sweeny (1)
Pherson (1)
William J. Palmer (1)
Newton (1)
Murray (1)
James Geary (1)
Garrard (1)
James M. Calhoun (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 14th (1)
15th (1)
9th (1)
8th (1)
7th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: