Battles in Bartow County


The Battle of Adairsville

Following the Battle of Resaca, May 13-15, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston' s army retreated southward while Sherman pursued. Failing to find a good defensive position south of Calhoun, Johnston continued to Adairsville while the Rebel cavalry fought a skillful rearguard action. On the 17th, skirmish fire continued throughout the day and into the early evening. Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard's IV Corps ran into entrenched infantry of Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee' s corps, while advancing, about two miles north of Adairsville. The 44th Illinois and 24th Wisconsin (under the command of Maj. Arthur MacArthur, father of Douglas) attacked Cheatham's Division at Robert Saxon (the Octagon House) and incurred heavy losses. Three Union divisions prepared for battle, but Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas halted them due to the approach of darkness. Sherman then concentrated his men in the Adairsville area to attack Johnston the next day. Johnston had originally expected to find a valley at Adairsville of suitable width to deploy his men and anchor his line with the flanks on hills. The valley, however, was too wide, so Johnston disengaged and withdrew.

Result(s): Confederate delaying action (Allowed Johnston to bait a trap at Cassville.)

Location: Bartow County and Gordon County

Campaign: Atlanta Campaign (1864)

Date(s): May 17, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman [US]; Gen. Joseph E. Johnston [CS]

Forces Engaged: Military Division of the Mississippi [US]; Army of Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 200; CS unknown


The Battle of Kingston

A 45-minute delay here doomed the Union espionage attempt remembered as "The Great Locomotive Chase." The first Confederate "Wayside Home," or hospital, was here. Many followed eventually serving more than 100,000 soldiers. The Confederate Cemetery, containing gravesites of 250 unknown Confederate and two Union soldiers, is the site of the oldest continuous Confederate Memorial Day. From Kingston, requested and received permission from Gen. Grant to execute "The March to the Sea." Kingston (city history) witnessed the last surrender of Confederate troops east of the Mississippi by Gen. William T. Wofford on May 12, 1865. Historical Museum is open weekends, 1-4 PM. 770-336-5540.



The Battle of Cassville

 Johnston was too canny to sit idly and wait to be trapped by a superior army, and had shifted his other two corps under Polk and Hood to Cassville, five miles (eight kilometers) to the east in hopes of springing an ambush. Hardee's "rearguard" action was actually nothing of the sort. He was on his own and stringing the Yankees along towards Kingston, encouraging them to believe that they were really hot on the trail of the entire Confederate Army of the Tennessee.

Johnston had been looking for the opportunity for a counterthrust for the last several days, encouraged by news from the west that Forrest would begin his hoped-for raid into middle Tennessee within a few days. The landscape that Johnston had been marching through after his withdrawal from Resaca was open and not well suited to defense, but he correctly decided that Sherman would split up his forces.

Cassville looked like it had possibilities. From there, Johnston could fall on Schofield's army and chew it up badly before help could arrive. Then, if Johnston moved quickly, he could attack the other two columns in turn and maul them as well. If Forrest also managed to cut the Yankee supply lines, Sherman would be forced to withdraw, and Johnston would have handed the Union a stinging, even decisive, defeat. Everything was in preparation for springing the trap on the morning of 19 May, and the rebels were confident and excited. One soldier related: "We were going to whip and rout the Yankees."

In his secret messages to Richmond, Hood had been incessantly sniping at Johnston's lack of aggressiveness, but now that he had been let off the leash, Hood suddenly turned timid, advancing only about a mile and then digging in, saying that the Yankees were in a position to fall on his flanks and cut him off. In reality, the only Federals in the area were members of a small cavalry detachment that had become separated from the main line of march. Johnston was forced to pull back to a ridge south of Cassville, where Hardee and his corps linked up with the rest of the army.

The assault didn't come off. Schofield quickly discovered there were two Confederate corps threatening him, eliminating any possibility of surprise. However, Johnston found the position his troops had fallen back to was very strong, dominated by a tall, steep, long ridge. Sherman was obviously feeling aggressive, and with luck the Federals might perform a rash attack on rebel defenses that would result in a lopsided Union defeat. By the evening of 19 May, the guns of the two sides were firing shots at each other in an obvious prelude to a major Federal assault come the dawn. Johnston was looking forward to it. The only problem was that Hood and Polk were not and went to him that night, insisting that a further retreat was necessary to save the army. Johnston didn't believe it. He consulted with Hardee, who didn't believe it either.

Johnston could not hope for success if two of his three corps commanders had such a defeatist attitude and ordered another withdrawal, undoubtedly sympathizing with Braxton Bragg's troubles. One of Johnston's staff officers wrote in his diary about Hood: "One lieutenant general talks about attack and not giving ground, publicly, and quietly urges retreat." After the war the fiasco at Cassville would figure prominently in a running feud between Johnston and Hood, with Hood insisting that he had actually pushed for an assault.



The Battle of Allatoona Pass

Description: After the fall of Atlanta, Hood moved northward to threaten the Western & Atlantic Railroad, Sherman's supply line. He attacked a number of minor garrisons and damaged track during October 2-4. Sherman sent reinforcements John M. Corse's brigade to Allatoona just before the Rebels attacked there. Maj. Gen. Samuel G. French's Confederate division arrived near Allatoona at sunrise on the 5th. After demanding a surrender and receiving a negative reply, French attacked. The Union outer line survived a sustained two and a half hour attack, but then fell back and regrouped in an earthen ?Star? fort of Allatoona Pass. French repeatedly attacked, but the fort held. The Rebels began to run out of ammunition, and reports of arriving Union reinforcements influenced them to move off and rejoin Hood's force.  

Other Names: None

Location: Bartow County

Campaign: Franklin-Nashville Campaign (1864)

Date(s): October 5, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. John M. Corse [US]; Maj. Gen. Samuel G. French [CS]

Forces Engaged: One brigade (1,944 men) [US]; one division (approx. 2,000 men) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,505 total (US 706; CS 799)

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