Atlanta Campaign

Atlanta Campaign

In the summer of 1864, during the U.S. Johnston and John B. Hood in a series of battles in northern Georgia. Sherman’s goal was to destroy the Army of the Tennessee, capture Atlanta and cut off vital Confederate supply lines. While Sherman failed to destroy his enemy, he was able to force the surrender of Atlanta in September 1864,boosting Northern morale and greatly improving President Abraham Lincoln’s re-election bid. With Atlantaunder Union control, Sherman embarked on his March to the Sea, which laid waste to the countryside and hastened the Confederacy’s defeat.

William T. Sherman and Atlanta Campaign: Background

William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-91) was an Ohio native who attended West Point and served in the U.S. Army before becoming a banker and then president of a military school in Louisiana. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Sherman joined the Union Army and eventually commanded large numbers of troops, under General Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85), at the battles of Shiloh (1862), Vicksburg (1863) and Chattanooga (1863). In the spring of 1864, Sherman became supreme commander of the armies in the West and was ordered by Grant to take the city of Atlanta, then a key military supply center and railroad hub for the Confederates.

1864 Atlanta Campaign

Sherman’s Atlanta campaign began in early May 1864, and in the first few months his troops engaged in several fierce battles with Confederate soldiers on the outskirts of the city, including the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, which the Union forces lost. However, on September 1, Confederate forces under John Hood (1831-79) pulled out of Atlanta and the city, a symbol of Confederate pride and strength, was surrendered the next day. Sherman’s men continued to defend it through mid-November.

Before he set off on his famous March to the Sea on November 15, Sherman ordered that Atlanta’s military resources, including munitions factories, clothing mills and railway yards, be burned. The fire got out of control and left Atlanta in ruins.

March to the Sea

After leaving Atlanta, Sherman and some 60,000 of his soldiers headed toward Savannah, Georgia. The purpose of this March to the Sea was to frighten Georgia’s civilian population into abandoning the Confederate cause. Sherman’s troops did not destroy any of the towns in their path, but they stole food and livestock and burned the houses and barns of people who tried to fight back.

Sherman’s troops arrived in Savannah on December 21, 1864. The city was undefended when they got there. (The 10,000 Confederates who were supposed to be guarding it had already fled.) Sherman presented the city of Savannah to President Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) as a Christmas gift.

Early in 1865, Sherman and his men left Savannah and pillaged and burned their way through the Carolinas. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, when the Confederate commander in chief, Robert E. Lee (1807-70), surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Atlanta: After the Civil War

After the war, Sherman succeeded Grant as commander in chief of the U.S. Army, serving from 1869 to 1883. Sherman, who is credited with the phrase “war is hell,” died in 1891 at age 71, in New York City. The city of Atlanta swiftly recovered from the war and became the capital of Georgia in 1868, first on a temporary basis and then permanently by popular vote in 1877.


Elevated view of commercial area of the city, taken after General Sherman marched through Atlanta. Most of the buildings appear to be intact, but one of the buildings in the foreground is badly damaged. View the original source document: WHI 78961

An empty battlefield near Atlanta, Georgia, with posts sticking out from an earthworks in the foreground. View the original source document: WHI 78975

Date(s): May 7- September 2, 1864

Other name(s): Individual battles during this campaign included Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, and Atlanta

Campaign: Atlanta Campaign (May-September 1864)

Summary

Atlanta, Georgia, was the center of Confederate industry and transportation. By seizing it the Union crippled the Confederacy's ability to wage war.

The Atlanta Campaign began on May 7, 1864, and lasted until Union forces took possession of the city on September 2. Over the course of the summer more than 66,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured, with losses roughly equal on each side.

Confederate troops abandoned Atlanta on September 2, 1864. For the next two months Union forces shipped everything valuable out of the city. In early November they burned all its factories, warehouses, and railroad depots, as well as many of its private homes and businesses. With Atlanta destroyed, the Confederacy was unable to manufacture weapons and ammunition or ship food and supplies to win the war.

Wisconsin's Role

Twenty Wisconsin regiments fought in and around Atlanta during the summer of 1864. Major battles in which Wisconsin troops participated were Resaca (May 13&ndash15), Dallas (May 25 &ndash June 1), Kennesaw Mountain (June 27), Peach Tree Creek (July 20), and Atlanta (July 22).

Links to Learn More
The Wisconsin Regiments in the Atlanta Campaign
Read a 15-page Account of the Atlanta Campaign
View Original Documents
View Battle Maps
View Related Images

[Source: Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields (Washington, 1993) Estabrook, C. Records and Sketches of Military Organizations (Madison, 1914) Love, W. Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion (Madison, 1866).]


Atlanta Campaign

In the spring of 1864, while Grant was in The Wilderness, William T. Sherman and 90,000 Union soldiers moved southward from Chattanooga toward Atlanta. A smaller Confederate force, about 60,000 men, was under the command of Joseph E. Johnston. Their role was to slow the Union advance and to try to disrupt the lines of supply as Sherman went farther into Southern territory. Southern leaders were acutely aware of war weariness in the North. Their hope was to prolong the conflict into the fall and hope that Abraham Lincoln would be defeated in the Election of 1864. Anyone, it was thought, would offer more hope to the South than Lincoln. Johnston and Sherman engaged one another in a series of minor battles with the Confederates always managing to escape the full force of the Union army. The most significant battle occurred at Kennesaw Mountain in June 1864, a Confederate victory. Nevertheless, Jefferson Davis concluded that Johnston was too cautious and replaced him with John B. Hood. Hood’s more aggressive efforts were not successful and the Confederate force retreated into the city of Atlanta. Sherman continued his campaign and prepared a siege, and sped matters along by cutting off railroad traffic into the city. Sherman's artillery devastated Atlanta, which suffered further losses from raging fires. Hood evacuated Atlanta On September 1, 1864 Sherman occupied it the following day, on September 2, 1864. The fall of Atlanta was an event widely reported in the North and it played prominently in the reelection of Lincoln later that fall. The victory in Atlanta gave Sherman the opening he needed for his famous "March to the Sea," during which he destroyed much of the Confederacy's agricultural resources. Southern resentment towards Sherman's campaign remained a source of bitterness for decades.


Turning Point.

The Civil War is the decisive turning point in American history. A nation divided against itself before—half enslaved, half free—was reunited. Experience the Civil War through the eyes of soldiers and civilians. Learn about their harrowing stories through photographs, dioramas, videos, and over 1,500 original Union and Confederate artifacts.

Importantly, the Atlanta Campaign of 1864 was the turning point in the Civil War. Atlanta was a critical city in the South – transportation hub, industrial center, and warehouse for food, ammunition, supplies, uniforms, and other military material crucial to Confederate Armies. The battles for Atlanta and the surrender of the city to General William T. Sherman assured the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln and ultimately secured freedom for 4 million enslaved people.

One of the nation’s largest Civil War exhibitions, Turning Point: The American Civil War tells the national story of the war from beginning to end. Through original artifacts, including cannons, uniforms, swords, and other materials, visitors can better understand Civil War life. Between the horrors of battle—including medical procedures for the wounded and maimed—the life of the soldier was often tedious, waiting on fighting and facing the very real threat of death.


Atlanta Campaign

This is the sixth portion of E.B. Quiner’s history of the 15th Wisconsin, which fought in the Federal (Union) Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). This portion covers the time period May, 1864, to September, 1864. Information within brackets [ ] has been added to the original text by the webmaster to correct errors or to help modern readers understand what Mr. Quiner rightfully assumed mid-19th century readers would automatically know. Alternative spellings of 15th soldiers’ names have also been added within brackets by the webmaster, using spelling from the 15th’s official muster rolls. Finally, hot links have been added that will take you to on-line transcriptions of official documents and soldiers’ letters, and to profiles of soldiers, which contain additional information about the 15th or its soldiers. Enjoy!

Source: Quiner, E.B., The Military History of Wisconsin: Civil and Military Patriotism of the State, in the War for the Union. Chicago, Illinois: Clarke & Company, Publishers, 1866. Chapter XXIII, pages 627-631.
[Assault up Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia]

“On the 3d day of May, 1864, the regiment, under command of Major Geo. Wilson, moved with the brigade from McDonald Station, Tenn., to Tunnel Hill, near Dalton, [Georgia,] entering upon the celebrated Atlanta Campaign, arriving and taking position at the foot of Rocky Face Ridge on the 7th of May. On the 8th, four companies of the Fifteenth advanced as skirmishers under a heavy fire of the enemy strongly posted on the crest of the ridge. After a severe skirmish, the left carried the crest, and the regiment ascended to the summit of the Ridge, and held it until relieved by orders from General Newton. The enemy occupied a portion of the ridge in front of the right of the regiment, which they held, it being impossible, from the nature of the position, to carry it by assault. The regiment remained on the northern slope of the ridge, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until the afternoon of the 11th, when it moved with the brigade to the left, to check a reported movement of the enemy. Hans Christenson, of Company C [should be Company F], and Hans Senvig [Hans P. Lenvig] of Company E, were reported as killed in the attack on Rocky Face Ridge [Lenvig was killed on May 11th in the 15th’s official rosters published in 1886 by the State of Wisconsin, Christenson is listed as killed May 27th, New Hope Church, Georgia.]
[Battle of Resaca, Georgia]

On the night of [May] the 12th, the enemy evacuated the position, and passed through Dalton southward to Resaca. Pursuit was immediately made, and the brigade joined the army in front of Resaca on the afternoon of the 13th. At 4 P.M. the regiment advanced to a position which was exposed to a heavy enfilading fire from the artillery, but was partly covered by the enemy’s first line of works which had been taken by the Twenty-third Corps. Here they were hotly engaged for about two hours, when, their ammunition being exhausted, they were relieved for the night. Next morning, they moved to the frontline, and being partly covered by barricades, they succeeded in silencing a two gun battery in their front, and so commanded the enemy’s works that they could not show themselves with safety above them. A desperate charge of the enemy in the afternoon was successfully repulsed, and they were very badly punished. Next morning, the rebels disappeared, and their works were entered by the skirmishers of the Fifteenth.

The [15th’s] casualties at Resaca were:

KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS. — Company B — Private Andrew Appheim [Andrew Asperheim, killed May 14th]. Company G — Private George Johnson [killed May 14th]. Company H — Corporal William Johnson [died of his wounds June 27th, Nashville, Tennessee]. Company I — Corporal Peter Haarstad [Peter O. Harstad, who died of his wounds June 8th, at Resaca] and Private Loren Johnson [Soren Johnson, killed May 15th] — 5 [Total].

WOUNDED. — Company A — Private Knud Oleson [Knud Olson]. Company C — Corporal W. E. Wheeler [Edwin W. Wheeler] and Private Peter Stangeland. Company D — Private Martin Halvorson [Martin Halvorsen]. Company E — Private Simon Jorgenson [Simon Jorgensen]. Company F — Privates Ever Anderson [Einar Andersen] and Michael Larson [Michael Larsen]. Company G — Privates Henry Thompson and Rier Thorson [Reier Thorsen]. Company I — Private Andrew Torgerson [Andrew Torkildson]. Company K — Privates John Johnson and Ole Evenson — 12 [Total].

Joining in the pursuit, the regiment proceeded with the brigade through Adairsville and Kingston, to the neighborhood of Cassville. Here General Sherman determined to turn the enemy’s position at Allatoona Pass, it being considered impossible to carry it. Twenty days rations were loaded into wagons and the army was put in motion for Dallas [Georgia].
[Battle of Dallas/Pickett’s Mill, Georgia]

On [May] the 25th, the Fourth Corps crossed Pumpkin Vine Creek, in the vicinity of Dallas, and on [May] the 26th, took a position and entrenched themselves on a ridge within 250 yards of the enemy’s [breast]works, the skirmishers driving in the enemy. On [May] the 27th, the division was sent about four miles to the left for the purpose of developing the enemy, and arrived at a point which was supposed to be the right flank of the rebel lines. About 4 P.M., Hazen’s brigade made an attack and was repulsed. The first line of [General] Willet’s brigade went forward closely followed by the Fifteenth Wisconsin crossing a ravine, was enfiladled by the enemy’s battery. Charging with a yell over the Second brigade, the regiment was so near the enemy’s breastworks that some of them were killed within ten feet of them. It being impossible to dislodge them, the Fifteenth lay down within fifteen yards of the works, and kept up an effectual musketry fire. The position was held until 9 P.M., when the regiment under orders fell back [at dusk]. In attempting to carry off the wounded, the enemy charged and took several of the men prisoners, including most of the wounded. The regiment moved about 300 yards to the right, on a ridge 200 yards from the enemy’s works and fortified themselves. This position was occupied, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until he evacuated the position on the night of June 5th.

The casualties in this battle, as reported, were:

KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS [all of the following are listed in the 15th’s muster rolls as killed May 27th, New Hope Church, Georgia]. — Company B — Private Osten Knudson. Company E — Sergeant Ole Lovig [Ole Lenvig], Corporals Edward Holby [Edwin Hadley] and Gulbrand Locke [Gilbrand Lokke], Privates Iver Anderson [Iver Andersen], Ole Erikson [Ole Ericksen 1st] and Ole Erikson 2d [Ole Ericksen 2nd]. Company G — Private Erick Larson [ Erick Larsen]. Company K — Privates John Johnson and Lars Lutson [Lars Leufson] — 10 [total].

WOUNDED. — Company A — Sergeant Ole K. Hanson and Private John Lungren. Company B — Sergeant Brown Siverson [Brown Syvertson, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds June 22, 1864, Chattanooga, Tennessee], Corporal Erick Larson [Erick Larsen, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds July 6, 1864, Chattanooga, Tennessee], Privates Peter Peterson, Jens Gilbertson [John Gilbertson], Ole Knudson [shown in the 15th’s muster rolls as killed May 27, 1864], Levert Leverson [Syvert Syvertson], and Knud Erickson. Company D — Corporals John Hogan [John Heyer] and Christian Helverson [Christian Helverson], Privates [Martin Halvorsen], Halvor Olson [Halvor Olsen], Jacob L. Jacobson [Jacob L. Jacobsen] and Simon Peterson. Company E — Privates Mads Rossum and Petrie Johnson [Peter Johnson 1st]. Company F — Private Reinert Baur [Reinert Bower]. Company G — Lieutenant C. B. Nelson [Charles B. Nelson], Corporals Iver O. Myher [Iver O. Myhre], Hans Larson [Hans Larsen] and Hans Hanson [Hans Hansen], Privates John Bonum and Lewis Anderson [Lars Anderson]. Company H — Privates Andrew D. Gerder [Andrew P. Gjerde], Ole A. Hamarss [Ole S. Hougness, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds January 18, 1865, Andersonville Prison, Georgia], Ole L. Fosse, Ole Halvorson [Ole Halvorsen] and Torbger Larson [Torger Larson]. Company I — Privates Nels Stonson [Nils Stenerson], Amos Johnson, John J. Ramack [John J. Rambeck], Knud Oleson [Knud Olson, shown in 15th muster rolls as killed May 27, 1864, New Hope Church, Georgia], Ole E. Trony [Ole E. Troan] and Peter Myhre. Company K — Privates Gulbran Olson [Gulbrand Olson], Albert E. Rice, Charles Olson, Ole Christenson, and Christ. Johnson [Christopher Johnson] — 39 [total].

[To see a list of soldiers captured at Pickett’s Mill, click HERE.]
[Fighting near Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia]

The regiment took up position near New Hope Church, from which they moved on the 6th of June, to a position in front of Pine Mountain, within 300 yards of the enemy’s works, where they remained until [June] the 14th, when they moved 200 yards to the left and front, and formed on a ridge, within the enemy’s works 200 yards in their front. On [June] the 15th, the rebels had disappeared from their front. From this time till the 3d of July, the regiment with the brigade, was constantly occupied in advancing, skirmishing, and driving the enemy from one line of [breast]works to another, on Pine Mountain, Lost Mountain and Kenesaw, losing up to the 3d of July, four men killed, as follows:

KILLED — Company B — Private Lewis Nelson [listed in 15th muster rolls as killed June 28, 1864, Bald Knob, Georgia]. Company D [should be Company I] — Private Daniel Peterson [listed in 15th muster rolls as “accidentally killed” June 23, 1864]. Company E — First Lieutenant T. P. Sloan [1st Sergeant Thor P. Sloan, listed in 15th muster rolls as wounded Kenesaw Mountain and died of his wounds June 28, 1864, Big Shanty, Georgia]. Company F — Private [Corporal] Andrew Thompson [listed in 15th muster rolls as killed June 27, 1864, Bald Knob, Georgia] — 4 [total].
[Siege and Capture of Atlanta, Georgia]

The enemy evacuated Kenesaw Mountain on the 3d of July, and the regiment accompanied the movements of the Fourth Corps towards the Chattahoochie River, occupying a position on the extreme left of the army. On [June] the 12th, the corps crossed the river on a pontoon bridge, and next day the division proceeded down the river to Pace’s Ferry, and drove the enemy from that place to enable the Fourteenth Corps to cross. July 18th the command advanced through Buckhorn, towards Atlanta, and on the 19th, found the enemy strongly entrenched on the south bank of Peach Tree Creek. The regiment did not become engaged at this point. On [July] the 21st, the division marched in a southerly direction and passed through the first line of the enemy’s works, and found him in position about a mile from the first line. Taking position within 200 yards of the works, they entrenched themselves. On [July] the 22d, they found that the enemy had abandoned his position, and they moved forward into his second line of works. Here they expected to enter the city without further opposition, but the enemy were found posted behind heavy forts and breastworks. The Fifteenth was put in position within musket range of the city, fortified, and was concerned in skirmishing with the enemy and on fatigue duty, until the 25th of August, when they accompanied the movement of the Fourth Corps to the right to cut off the enemy’s communication to the west and south of Atlanta. Arriving at Jonesboro on [August] the 31st, they participated in the engagement of the lst of September, and joined in pursuit of the enemy to Lovejoy’s Station, having one man wounded [Private Ole T. Westby]. They returned to Atlanta and went into camp four and a half miles south of the city, on the 9th of September.”

[To read excerpts from letters, diaries, and interviews by 15th soldiers about their experiences during the Atlanta Campaign, click HERE]


Atlanta Campaign

This is the sixth portion of E.B. Quiner’s history of the 15th Wisconsin, which fought in the Federal (Union) Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). This portion covers the time period May, 1864, to September, 1864. Information within brackets [ ] has been added to the original text by the webmaster to correct errors or to help modern readers understand what Mr. Quiner rightfully assumed mid-19th century readers would automatically know. Alternative spellings of 15th soldiers’ names have also been added within brackets by the webmaster, using spelling from the 15th’s official muster rolls. Finally, hot links have been added that will take you to on-line transcriptions of official documents and soldiers’ letters, and to profiles of soldiers, which contain additional information about the 15th or its soldiers. Enjoy!

Source: Quiner, E.B., The Military History of Wisconsin: Civil and Military Patriotism of the State, in the War for the Union. Chicago, Illinois: Clarke & Company, Publishers, 1866. Chapter XXIII, pages 627-631.
[Assault up Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia]

“On the 3d day of May, 1864, the regiment, under command of Major Geo. Wilson, moved with the brigade from McDonald Station, Tenn., to Tunnel Hill, near Dalton, [Georgia,] entering upon the celebrated Atlanta Campaign, arriving and taking position at the foot of Rocky Face Ridge on the 7th of May. On the 8th, four companies of the Fifteenth advanced as skirmishers under a heavy fire of the enemy strongly posted on the crest of the ridge. After a severe skirmish, the left carried the crest, and the regiment ascended to the summit of the Ridge, and held it until relieved by orders from General Newton. The enemy occupied a portion of the ridge in front of the right of the regiment, which they held, it being impossible, from the nature of the position, to carry it by assault. The regiment remained on the northern slope of the ridge, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until the afternoon of the 11th, when it moved with the brigade to the left, to check a reported movement of the enemy. Hans Christenson, of Company C [should be Company F], and Hans Senvig [Hans P. Lenvig] of Company E, were reported as killed in the attack on Rocky Face Ridge [Lenvig was killed on May 11th in the 15th’s official rosters published in 1886 by the State of Wisconsin, Christenson is listed as killed May 27th, New Hope Church, Georgia.]
[Battle of Resaca, Georgia]

On the night of [May] the 12th, the enemy evacuated the position, and passed through Dalton southward to Resaca. Pursuit was immediately made, and the brigade joined the army in front of Resaca on the afternoon of the 13th. At 4 P.M. the regiment advanced to a position which was exposed to a heavy enfilading fire from the artillery, but was partly covered by the enemy’s first line of works which had been taken by the Twenty-third Corps. Here they were hotly engaged for about two hours, when, their ammunition being exhausted, they were relieved for the night. Next morning, they moved to the frontline, and being partly covered by barricades, they succeeded in silencing a two gun battery in their front, and so commanded the enemy’s works that they could not show themselves with safety above them. A desperate charge of the enemy in the afternoon was successfully repulsed, and they were very badly punished. Next morning, the rebels disappeared, and their works were entered by the skirmishers of the Fifteenth.

The [15th’s] casualties at Resaca were:

KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS. — Company B — Private Andrew Appheim [Andrew Asperheim, killed May 14th]. Company G — Private George Johnson [killed May 14th]. Company H — Corporal William Johnson [died of his wounds June 27th, Nashville, Tennessee]. Company I — Corporal Peter Haarstad [Peter O. Harstad, who died of his wounds June 8th, at Resaca] and Private Loren Johnson [Soren Johnson, killed May 15th] — 5 [Total].

WOUNDED. — Company A — Private Knud Oleson [Knud Olson]. Company C — Corporal W. E. Wheeler [Edwin W. Wheeler] and Private Peter Stangeland. Company D — Private Martin Halvorson [Martin Halvorsen]. Company E — Private Simon Jorgenson [Simon Jorgensen]. Company F — Privates Ever Anderson [Einar Andersen] and Michael Larson [Michael Larsen]. Company G — Privates Henry Thompson and Rier Thorson [Reier Thorsen]. Company I — Private Andrew Torgerson [Andrew Torkildson]. Company K — Privates John Johnson and Ole Evenson — 12 [Total].

Joining in the pursuit, the regiment proceeded with the brigade through Adairsville and Kingston, to the neighborhood of Cassville. Here General Sherman determined to turn the enemy’s position at Allatoona Pass, it being considered impossible to carry it. Twenty days rations were loaded into wagons and the army was put in motion for Dallas [Georgia].
[Battle of Dallas/Pickett’s Mill, Georgia]

On [May] the 25th, the Fourth Corps crossed Pumpkin Vine Creek, in the vicinity of Dallas, and on [May] the 26th, took a position and entrenched themselves on a ridge within 250 yards of the enemy’s [breast]works, the skirmishers driving in the enemy. On [May] the 27th, the division was sent about four miles to the left for the purpose of developing the enemy, and arrived at a point which was supposed to be the right flank of the rebel lines. About 4 P.M., Hazen’s brigade made an attack and was repulsed. The first line of [General] Willet’s brigade went forward closely followed by the Fifteenth Wisconsin crossing a ravine, was enfiladled by the enemy’s battery. Charging with a yell over the Second brigade, the regiment was so near the enemy’s breastworks that some of them were killed within ten feet of them. It being impossible to dislodge them, the Fifteenth lay down within fifteen yards of the works, and kept up an effectual musketry fire. The position was held until 9 P.M., when the regiment under orders fell back [at dusk]. In attempting to carry off the wounded, the enemy charged and took several of the men prisoners, including most of the wounded. The regiment moved about 300 yards to the right, on a ridge 200 yards from the enemy’s works and fortified themselves. This position was occupied, constantly skirmishing with the enemy, until he evacuated the position on the night of June 5th.

The casualties in this battle, as reported, were:

KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS [all of the following are listed in the 15th’s muster rolls as killed May 27th, New Hope Church, Georgia]. — Company B — Private Osten Knudson. Company E — Sergeant Ole Lovig [Ole Lenvig], Corporals Edward Holby [Edwin Hadley] and Gulbrand Locke [Gilbrand Lokke], Privates Iver Anderson [Iver Andersen], Ole Erikson [Ole Ericksen 1st] and Ole Erikson 2d [Ole Ericksen 2nd]. Company G — Private Erick Larson [ Erick Larsen]. Company K — Privates John Johnson and Lars Lutson [Lars Leufson] — 10 [total].

WOUNDED. — Company A — Sergeant Ole K. Hanson and Private John Lungren. Company B — Sergeant Brown Siverson [Brown Syvertson, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds June 22, 1864, Chattanooga, Tennessee], Corporal Erick Larson [Erick Larsen, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds July 6, 1864, Chattanooga, Tennessee], Privates Peter Peterson, Jens Gilbertson [John Gilbertson], Ole Knudson [shown in the 15th’s muster rolls as killed May 27, 1864], Levert Leverson [Syvert Syvertson], and Knud Erickson. Company D — Corporals John Hogan [John Heyer] and Christian Helverson [Christian Helverson], Privates [Martin Halvorsen], Halvor Olson [Halvor Olsen], Jacob L. Jacobson [Jacob L. Jacobsen] and Simon Peterson. Company E — Privates Mads Rossum and Petrie Johnson [Peter Johnson 1st]. Company F — Private Reinert Baur [Reinert Bower]. Company G — Lieutenant C. B. Nelson [Charles B. Nelson], Corporals Iver O. Myher [Iver O. Myhre], Hans Larson [Hans Larsen] and Hans Hanson [Hans Hansen], Privates John Bonum and Lewis Anderson [Lars Anderson]. Company H — Privates Andrew D. Gerder [Andrew P. Gjerde], Ole A. Hamarss [Ole S. Hougness, shown in 15th muster rolls as died of his wounds January 18, 1865, Andersonville Prison, Georgia], Ole L. Fosse, Ole Halvorson [Ole Halvorsen] and Torbger Larson [Torger Larson]. Company I — Privates Nels Stonson [Nils Stenerson], Amos Johnson, John J. Ramack [John J. Rambeck], Knud Oleson [Knud Olson, shown in 15th muster rolls as killed May 27, 1864, New Hope Church, Georgia], Ole E. Trony [Ole E. Troan] and Peter Myhre. Company K — Privates Gulbran Olson [Gulbrand Olson], Albert E. Rice, Charles Olson, Ole Christenson, and Christ. Johnson [Christopher Johnson] — 39 [total].

[To see a list of soldiers captured at Pickett’s Mill, click HERE.]
[Fighting near Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia]

The regiment took up position near New Hope Church, from which they moved on the 6th of June, to a position in front of Pine Mountain, within 300 yards of the enemy’s works, where they remained until [June] the 14th, when they moved 200 yards to the left and front, and formed on a ridge, within the enemy’s works 200 yards in their front. On [June] the 15th, the rebels had disappeared from their front. From this time till the 3d of July, the regiment with the brigade, was constantly occupied in advancing, skirmishing, and driving the enemy from one line of [breast]works to another, on Pine Mountain, Lost Mountain and Kenesaw, losing up to the 3d of July, four men killed, as follows:

KILLED — Company B — Private Lewis Nelson [listed in 15th muster rolls as killed June 28, 1864, Bald Knob, Georgia]. Company D [should be Company I] — Private Daniel Peterson [listed in 15th muster rolls as “accidentally killed” June 23, 1864]. Company E — First Lieutenant T. P. Sloan [1st Sergeant Thor P. Sloan, listed in 15th muster rolls as wounded Kenesaw Mountain and died of his wounds June 28, 1864, Big Shanty, Georgia]. Company F — Private [Corporal] Andrew Thompson [listed in 15th muster rolls as killed June 27, 1864, Bald Knob, Georgia] — 4 [total].
[Siege and Capture of Atlanta, Georgia]

The enemy evacuated Kenesaw Mountain on the 3d of July, and the regiment accompanied the movements of the Fourth Corps towards the Chattahoochie River, occupying a position on the extreme left of the army. On [June] the 12th, the corps crossed the river on a pontoon bridge, and next day the division proceeded down the river to Pace’s Ferry, and drove the enemy from that place to enable the Fourteenth Corps to cross. July 18th the command advanced through Buckhorn, towards Atlanta, and on the 19th, found the enemy strongly entrenched on the south bank of Peach Tree Creek. The regiment did not become engaged at this point. On [July] the 21st, the division marched in a southerly direction and passed through the first line of the enemy’s works, and found him in position about a mile from the first line. Taking position within 200 yards of the works, they entrenched themselves. On [July] the 22d, they found that the enemy had abandoned his position, and they moved forward into his second line of works. Here they expected to enter the city without further opposition, but the enemy were found posted behind heavy forts and breastworks. The Fifteenth was put in position within musket range of the city, fortified, and was concerned in skirmishing with the enemy and on fatigue duty, until the 25th of August, when they accompanied the movement of the Fourth Corps to the right to cut off the enemy’s communication to the west and south of Atlanta. Arriving at Jonesboro on [August] the 31st, they participated in the engagement of the lst of September, and joined in pursuit of the enemy to Lovejoy’s Station, having one man wounded [Private Ole T. Westby]. They returned to Atlanta and went into camp four and a half miles south of the city, on the 9th of September.”

[To read excerpts from letters, diaries, and interviews by 15th soldiers about their experiences during the Atlanta Campaign, click HERE]


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Rocky Face Ridge to Kennesaw Mountain

Edited by Jay Luvaas and Harold W. Nelson

Following William T. Sherman's capture of Chattanooga, the Union Army initiated a series of battles and operations that took it from the Tennessee border to the outskirts of Atlanta—with bloody confrontations at places such as Resaca and New Hope Church. Grant had ordered Sherman to penetrate the enemy's interior and inflict "all the damage you can against their War resources," and from the first major engagement at Rocky Face Ridge to the bitter standoff at Kennesaw Mountain, Sherman proceeded to do just that.

This latest in the Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles offers a concise and easy-to-use introduction to Sherman's route, focusing on this first and most critical phase of the Atlanta campaign. The Guide to the Atlanta Campaign leads visitors to all of the pertinent sites—Dug Gap, Adairsville, Pickett's Mill, and more—to help them relive the experiences of battle-hardened troops on the ground. Authors Luvaas and Nelson show respect for both sides of the fighting, but especially convey Sherman's special genius in mastering the logistical challenges that confronted him, moving reinforcements and supplies, and directing diverse offensive actions over immense—and immensely hostile—territory.

&ldquoLike previous volumes in the series, this one provides clear directions that will enable readers to easily find locations in north Georgia associated with the campaign. At each stop, they will then find well-selected and well-edited excerpts from primary source documents that give a good sense of what happened in 1864. They will also appreciate the provision of sufficient maps to help them make their way around north Georgia and examine what happened.&rdquo

&mdashBlue & Gray Magazine

&ldquoWell-researched and enlightening, this book facilitates a more personal understanding of the campaign than traditional narratives by taking readers to the ground on which it took place. It also features an impressive compilation of the most valuable primary sources relevant to the campaign. [It] makes a solid addition to the considerable literature available on the subject, and is sure to stand as the definitive guide to the fighting north of Atlanta for years to come.&rdquo

&mdashGeorgia Historical Quarterly

&ldquoThis is a worthwhile addition to the traveler’s library. No other guidebook will provide you with this sort of detail in touring the sites from Rocky Face Ridge to Kennesaw Mountain.&rdquo

&mdashCivil War News

&ldquoExperienced students of the Atlanta Campaign or those looking to travel to the actual campaign sites will benefit from this book. It is a nice change of pace from reading a straightforward campaign study and will serve battlefield stompers well in the rugged terrain of north Georgia.&rdquo

&mdashTOCWOC-A Civil War Blog

&ldquoThese guides bridge the gap between sound military history and battlefield touring literature. They can be enjoyed without ever leaving the easy chair or they can become indispensable companions on tramps over the scenes of the greatest engagements of the Civil War.&rdquo

&mdashWilliam C. Davis, author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour

&ldquoThe most thorough, detailed, and accurate books of their kind. Indeed, they are unique. I have used them to lead guided tours of several battlefields, with great success.&rdquo

&mdashJames M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom

Like previous guides in the series, this volume helps Civil War enthusiasts vividly envision the actual historical setting. It combines official histories and on-the-scene reports, orders, and letters from commanding officers, and it features specially drawn maps that depict the opposing armies and the terrain in which they fought. It also includes easy-to-follow drive-and-stop maps that guide visitors along and just off Interstate 75, with the stops arranged to present the most important phases of the campaign as it developed. And this book supersedes most previous guides by moving beyond battles to more broadly consider the overall campaign.

The guide culminates with the battle of Kennesaw Mountain (urban growth beyond that battlefield precludes a tour), and also provides full coverage of the operational and strategic decisions that led to Sherman's ultimate victory at Atlanta. It will become an essential traveling companion for visitors to these Civil War sites—and an insightful guide for armchair travelers.


Atlanta Campaign - HISTORY

The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 was one of
the most important military movements of the
War Between the States (or Civil War).

By taking Atlanta, Union General William
Tecumseh Sherman shattered Southern
lines of communication and transportation.
The fall of the city opened the door for the
devastating March to the Sea.

The campaign took place during the spring
and summer of 1864. With the combined
strengths of the Army of the Cumberland, the
Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the
Ohio, Sherman had a total force of some
110,000 men and 250 cannon. On April 10,
1864, he outlined to Union commander in
chief General Ulysses S. Grant a plan to take
Atlanta. Grand concurred and Sherman
marched on May 5.

Opposing the Union juggernaut was the
Confederacy's smaller but battle-hardened
Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E.
Johnston. His total force numbered 54,500
men and 154 cannon.

Even though his own army outnumbered
Johnston's by more than 2 to 1, Sherman
held the Confederate commander in high
regard and he knew the deadly capabilities of
the Southern army. Instead of attacking head
on, he launched a campaign of maneuver.

The Atlanta Campaign began with the
Confederate army dug in at Rocky Face
Ridge north of Dalton. Using his Armies of
the Cumberland and the Ohio to hold
Johnston in place, Sherman sent his Army of
the Tennessee in a flanking movement to the
south under Maj. Gen. James McPherson.

The tactic worked. McPherson marched
through Snake Creek Gap and threatened to
break the Western & Atlantic Railroad and cut
Johnston's supply line. The Confederate
general, however, pulled off a maneuver of
his own and pulled his army back to Resaca
during the night of May 12-13, 1864.

The Union forces came up and engaged the
Confederates at the Battle of Resaca while
McPherson once again carried out a flanking
maneuver. The Army of the Tennessee
crossed the Oostanaula River to threaten
Johnston's rear and the Confederates had
no choice but to fall back down the railroad.

Sherman almost made a critical mistake at
this point of the campaign. As he followed
Johnston south to Cassville, he allowed his
three armies to become too separated. The
Confederate general turned to attack on May
19, but changed his mind when a large force
of Union cavalry threatened his movement.

Johnston now retreated across the Etowah
River to Allatoona, but Sherman also crossed
that stream on May 23. Recognizing that
Allatoona was a strong position, Sherman
opted not to attack but instead bypassed the
Confederate army and moved on Dallas,
Georgia.

Johnston now maneuvered west to block the
Union advance. Heavy fighting took place at
the Battle of New Hope Church on May 25
and the Battle of Pickett's Mill on May 27. The
two armies lost more than 4,600 men.

By early June, Johnson had fallen back to the
commanding ridges of Kennesaw Mountain.
Heavy rains bogged down Sherman's larger
force and more than 150,000 men faced
each other in muddy trenches almost within
earshot of Atlanta.

The delays led Sherman to make one of his
few major mistakes of the campaign. On
June 27, 1864, he sent his men forward in a
direct attack on Johnston's army at the Battle
of Kennesaw Mountain.

The Confederates were ready for them. They
hurled back the attacking Federals at points
all along their strongly fortified lines. The
main assault cost Sherman 2,000 men while
only 400 Confederates were lost. Cannon
and musket fire following the main assault
raised casualties for the day to 3,000 for the
Union and 1,000 for the Confederacy.

The disaster at Kennesaw Mountain caused
Sherman to return to his campaign of
maneuver. On July 2-3 he was able to flank
Johnston out of his Kennesaw Mountain line
to a new position south of Marietta. Two days
later the Confederates retreated to the north
bank of the Chattahoochee River, which was
the last natural barrier between Sherman
and Atlanta.

As panic grew across the Confederacy,
Sherman once again bypassed Johnston's
line and crossed the Chattahoochee at
Roswell on July 8, 1864. The Confederates
withdrew the next day into the fortifications of
Atlanta.


American Civil War: Battle of Jonesboro (Jonesborough)

The Battle of Jonesboro was fought August 31-September 1, 1864, during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Armies & Commanders

Confederates

Battle of Jonesboro - Background:

Advancing south from Chattanooga in May 1864, Major General William T. Sherman sought to capture the vital Confederate rail hub at Atlanta, GA. Opposed by Confederate forces, he reached the city in July after a protracted campaign in northern Georgia. Defending Atlanta, General John Bell Hood fought three battles with Sherman late in the month at Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, and Ezra Church, before retiring into the city's fortifications. Unwilling to launch frontal assaults against prepared defenses, Sherman's forces assumed positions west, north, and east of the city and worked to cut it off from resupply.

This perceived inaction, along with Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant being stalled at Petersburg, began to damage Union morale and led some to fear that President Abraham Lincoln could be defeated in the November election. Assessing the situation, Sherman decided to make efforts to sever the sole remaining railroad into Atlanta, the Macon & Western. Departing the city, the Macon & Western Railroad ran south to Eastpoint where the Atlanta & West Point Railroad split off while the main line continued to and through Jonesboro (Jonesborough).

Battle of Jonesboro - The Union Plan:

To accomplish this goal, Sherman directed the majority of his forces to pull out of their positions and move around Atlanta to the west before falling upon the Macon & Western south of the city. Only Major General Henry Slocum's XX Corps was to remain north of Atlanta with orders to guard the railroad bridge over the Chattahoochee River and protect the Union lines of communication. The massive Union movement began on August 25 and saw Major General Oliver O. Howard's Army of the Tennessee march with orders to strike the railroad at Jonesboro (Map).

Battle of Jonesboro - Hood Responds:

As Howard's men moved out, Major General George H. Thomas' Army of the Cumberland and Major General John Schofield's Army of the Ohio were tasked with cutting the railroad farther north. On August 26, Hood was surprised to find the majority of the Union entrenchments around Atlanta empty. Two days later, Union troops reached the Atlanta & West Point and began pulling up the tracks. Initially believing this to be a diversion, Hood disregarded the Union efforts until reports began to reach him of a sizable Union force south of the city.

As Hood sought to clarify the situation, Howard's men reached the Flint River near Jonesboro. Brushing aside a force of Confederate cavalry, they crossed the river and assumed a strong position on heights overlooking the Macon & Western Railroad. Surprised by the speed of his advance, Howard halted his command to consolidate and allow his men to rest. Receiving reports of the Howard's position, Hood immediately ordered Lieutenant General William Hardee to take his corps and that of Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee south to Jonesboro to dislodge the Union troops and protect the railroad.

Battle of Jonesboro - The Fighting Begins:

Arriving through the night of August 31, Union interference along the railroad prevented Hardee from being ready to attack until around 3:30 PM. Opposing the Confederate commander were Major General John Logan's XV Corps which faced east and Major General Thomas Ransom's XVI Corps which angled back from the Union right. Due to the delays in the Confederate advance, both Union corps had time to fortify their positions. For the assault, Hardee directed Lee to attack Logan's line while Major General Patrick Cleburne led his corps against Ransom.

Pressing forward, Cleburne's force advanced on Ransom but the attack began to stall when his lead division came under fire from Union cavalry led by Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick. Regaining some momentum, Cleburne had some success and captured two Union guns before being forced to halt. To the north, Lee's Corps moved forward against Logan's earthworks. While some units attacked and took heavy losses before being repulsed, others, knowing the near-futility of assaulting fortifications directly, failed to fully join in the effort.

Battle of Jonesboro - The Confederate Defeat:

Forced to pull back, Hardee's command suffered around 2,200 casualties while Union losses numbered only 172. As Hardee was being repulsed at Jonesboro, the Union XXIII, IV, and XIV Corps reached the railroad north of Jonesboro and south of Rough and Ready. As they severed the railroad and telegraph wires, Hood realized his only remaining option was to evacuate Atlanta. Planning to depart after dark on September 1, Hood ordered Lee's Corps to return to the city to protect against a Union attack from the south. Left at Jonesboro, Hardee was to hold out and cover the retreat of the army.

Assuming a defensive position near the town, Hardee's line faced west while his right flank bent back toward to the east. On September 1, Sherman directed Major General David Stanley to take IV Corps south along the railroad, unite with Major General Jefferson C. Davis' XIV Corps, and together aid Logan in crushing Hardee. Initially both were to destroy the railroad as they progressed but upon learning that Lee had departed, Sherman directed them to advance as quickly as possible. Arriving on the battlefield, Davis' corps assumed as position on Logan's left. Directing operations, Sherman ordered Davis to attack around 4:00 PM even through Stanley's men were still arriving.

Though an initial attack was turned back, subsequent assaults by Davis' men opened a breach in the Confederate lines. As Sherman did not order Howard's Army of the Tennessee to attack, Hardee was able to shift troops to seal this gap and prevent IV Corps from turning his flank. Desperately holding out until nightfall, Hardee withdrew south towards Lovejoy's Station.

Battle of Jonesboro - Aftermath:

The Battle of Jonesboro cost Confederate forces around 3,000 casualties while Union losses numbered around 1,149. As Hood had evacuated the city during the night, Slocum's XX Corps was able to enter Atlanta on September 2. Pursuing Hardee south to Lovejoy's, Sherman learned of the city's fall the next day. Unwilling to attack the strong position that Hardee had prepared, Union troops returned to Atlanta. Telegraphing Washington, Sherman stated, "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won."

The fall of Atlanta provided a massive boost to Northern morale and played a key role in ensuring the reelection of Abraham Lincoln. Beaten, Hood embarked on a campaign into Tennessee that fall which saw his army effectively destroyed at the Battles of Franklin and Nashville. Having secured Atlanta, Sherman embarked upon his March to the Sea which saw him capture Savannah on December 21.


A Hinge of Modern World History?: The Atlanta Campaign, 1864

The Ponder House: the Ephraim Ponder House after the Battle of Atlanta in 1864. Before Union troops destroyed it, the house was used by Confederate sharpshooters.

When Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign in the spring of 1864, his goal was to drive deep into the South and, in accordance with Union general Ulysses Grant’s instructions, engage Confederate general Joseph Johnston’s army. Grant’s orders were “to break it up and to get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.”

Atlanta was not the immediate objective, though as the campaign proceeded, it evolved into one. According to New Georgia Encyclopedia author Stephen Davis, the city was “a substantial manufacturing and mercantile base” with “four major railroads connecting the city with all points of the South.”

In the meantime, Lincoln’s presidency hung by a thread. The North was war weary, originally expecting that a few battles in 1861 would decide the outcome. No one imagined the human carnage. The South was a staunch and inventive opponent, fighting on its own ground, and led by superior generalship for the most part, making the North’s war effort expensive, deadly, and grindingly slow. A peace movement broke out in the Northern states and spread rapidly through the Union.

Atlanta in ruins: Atlanta streetscape, showing the damage done by Sherman’s troops during the Battle of Atlanta.

When the Democratic Party convened in Chicago in August 1864, it adopted a plan to sue for peace immediately after the presidential inauguration—if they won, that is. The Democrats nominated one of President Lincoln’s former generals (whom Lincoln had fired), George B. McClellan of New Jersey, as its candidate for the presidency.

McClellan was always popular among his troops during his command, and with a war-hero air that reminded his admirers of Napoleon, seemed like a shoe-in. When the delegates left the convention for home in late August, they had every reason to believe they were destined to win the presidency.

In fact, that summer, Lincoln, already convinced that his “failing presidency” would be his downfall in November, secured a pledge from his cabinet heads to stay on until the bitter end of his presidency, doing everything they could to win the war.

Through July and August 1864, the Atlanta Campaign ground on with skirmishes, assaults, and bombardments. On September 2, Union soldiers entered the city and concluded the campaign as the victor. As Sherman laid plans for his March to the Sea, the Northern press slowly absorbed the full significance of what had occurred. With the fall of Atlanta, many in the North now were saying, the war, at last, had turned. With that uplift of spirit, Lincoln’s reelection was assured, though this was undoubtedly aided by Lincoln’s giving Union field troops an opportunity to vote.

Was Atlanta the key to the collapse of the Confederacy’s house of cards? Northern public opinion believed so. Lincoln defeated McClellan at the polls in November and his re-election ensured the war would continue to the end. A complete reversal in Lincoln’s fortune had taken place.

Adolph Hitler, in 1928. If the Civil War had turned out differently, would a divided USA have produced a military power strong enough to stop him?

What if there had been no Atlanta Campaign in ’64? Or if storms or other chance interventions had delayed Sherman’s arrival in the Atlanta environs a few more weeks? Lincoln might have gone down a failed president, and the South might have held out until the March inauguration, after which peace talks could begin.

Two nations—the CSA and the USA—was certainly a possible outcome. Slavery could have continued in the South into the early twentieth century. The industrialization of the North that took off with extraordinary results after the war would have been stalled, for lack of resources, with a Southern stalemate. A newly divided USA would not have become the world’s greatest industrial power in the twentieth century, meaning the outcome of both twentieth-century world wars could have been different. Would Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan have ruled the twentieth century?

The lore of the Battle of Atlanta revolves around Sherman’s destructive March to the Sea campaign, leaving in its wake chaos and, of course, a city that was now “gone with the wind.” In retrospect, we can see, the stakes may have been higher. It is not inconceivable that the Atlanta Campaign and its outcome became one of the hinges of modern world history.


Watch the video: The American Civil War: Every Day