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Chapter 14: Sherman's campaign in Georgia.


At the same time when the Army of the Potomac moved from the Rapid Anna toward Richmond, at the beginning of May,
1864.
General William T. Sherman, who had succeeded General Grant in the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, marched southward from the vicinity of Chattanooga,
May 6.
with nearly one hundred thousand men,1 having for his chief objectives, the destruction of the Confederate army under General Joseph E. Johnston, then at Dalton, in Northern Georgia,2 and the capture of the city of Atlanta.

General Sherman received his orders from Lieutenant-General Grant y to advance, on the 30th of April, and he moved on the 6th of May. On that morning the Army of the Cumberland lay at and near Ringgold; that of the Tennessee at Lee and Gordon's Mill,3 on the Chickamauga, and that of the Ohio near Red Clay, on the Georgia line north of Dalton. The Confederate army then lay in and about Dalton. To strike that position in front was impracticable, for between the armies lay a rugged

William T. Sherman.

mountain barrier known as the Rocky Face Ridge. Through it, at an opening called Buzzard's Roost Gap,4 a [375] small stream flowed and the railway and wagon road passed; but it was so thoroughly fortified that no army could safely attempt the passage. Sherman therefore determined to turn the Confederate position at Dalton, and for that purpose he sought a passage of the great hills at Snake Creek Gap, farther south. To mask that movement, General Thomas menaced
May 7, 1864.
Johnston's front; but in so doing, he had quite a severe engagement with the Confederates at Buzzard's Roost Gap. He pushed their cavalry well through the pass, and two divisions (Newton's of Howard's [Fourth] corps, and Geary's, of Hooker's [Twentieth] corps) gained portions of the Ridge. But they were soon driven off with considerable loss. Meanwhile, Schofield, with the Army of the Ohio, came down from the north and pressed heavily on Johnston's right; and McPherson, marching rapidly from the Chickamauga, by way of Ship's Gap and Villanow, passed through Snake Creek Gap, at the southern end of the Chattanooga Mountain, and appeared suddenly before the Confederate works at and near Resaca, on the railway south of Dalton. These works were too formidable to warrant an attack with his force alone, and so McPherson fell back to a strong position in Snake Creek Gap, to await the arrival of the main army.

Sherman was somewhat disappointed by the result of McPherson's movement, but felt that an advantage was gained. On the 10th

May.
he ordered Thomas to send Hooker's corps to the support of McPherson, and to follow with Palmer's (Fourteenth) corps. Schofield was ordered to follow on the same day with his entire force; and on the 11th the whole army, excepting Howard's corps and some cavalry left to menace Johnston's front at Dalton, was marching in the grand turning movement, westward of Rocky Pace Ridge, for Snake Creek Gap and Resaca. This compelled Johnston to abandon Dalton, and fall back, closely pursued by Howard, to the menaced position. That position, by good and direct roads, he reached, and took post behind a line of intrenchments, before

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