- Battle of Resaca. The battle ranged in Gordon County, Georgia, and Whitfield County, Georgia, from May 13 to May 15, 1864, and ended inconclusively. On May 13, 1864, Confederate General positioned his forces along a ridge that lay between the Oostanaula River and the Conasauga River just north of the small town of Resaca, Ga. This defensive line protected his supply line to Atlanta, the Western & Atlantic Railroad. On the afternoon of the 13th, Federal Maj. Gen. 's XV Corps arrived west of Resaca to discover that General Johnston had reinforced his army with General 's Army of Mississippi, which became the third Corps of the Army of Tennessee. The morning of the 14th, Federal General ordered an attack at Johnston's center with a division of Federal General John Palmer's XIV Corps. They pushed across Camp Creek valley towards a crest held by Confederate General 's Corps. There they met devastating infantry and artillery fire. General Henry Judah launched an independent attack with his 2nd Division of 's Army of the Ohio accompanied by Baird's 3rd Division. The attack was uncoordinated due to an overlapping of brigades. They met head long into Confederate Joseph Lewis' Kentucky Orphan Brigade and Edward Walthall's Mississippi Brigade. The attack was repulsed by infantry fire and heavy artillery from Maj. Thomas Hotchkiss's battalion. On the Federal left, General Johnston ordered General to attack the exposed flank of General Howard's IV Corps. General's Carter Stevenson and Alex Stewart were ordered to "wheel" against them. General Stevenson's Division hit directly upon the exposed flank of David Stanley's Federal Division. General Stewart's division ran into and was stalled by the effective fire of Peter Simonson's 5th Indiana Battery. The attack was still moving somewhat successfully until the timely arrival of Col. James Robinson's 3rd Brigade of ' 1st Division of Hooker's XX corps which helped restore the Federal line. The only Federal success of the day was when several brigades of Logan's XV Corps managed to push back Polk's troops on the Confederate left. There the Federals dug in on the recently acquired high ground as Polk's troops withdrew to a new position closer to town. Sherman ordered Sweeny's Division of the XVI Corps to move several miles south to Lay's Ferry. Late on the afternoon of the 14th, Sweeny pushed back a small compliment of Confederate Calvary and crossed two regiments, in pontoon boats, to the Oostanaula's southern shore. Confederate General William Walker's Division was sent to intercept. Upon learning of Walker's Division being en route, Sweeny pulled back across the river. When Walker arrived and found no enemy, he drew back to the east and left the ferry unguarded. Sherman ordered Sweeny back across the river on the 15th and Sweeny crossed with his whole division. Sherman then shifted Hooker's XX Corps and at 11:30 on the 15th, the attack on the Confederate right was renewed. Hooker's three divisions, with Gen. William Ward's Brigade, over ran Captain Maxillian Van den Corput's Cherokee Georgia Battery, but the attack stalled in front of Brown's, Cumming's and Reynold's Brigades' deadly musketry. General Johnston, more than satisfied with Hood's previous attack on the Federal left the day before, had again ordered General Hood to attack. General Stevenson was already engaged with Hooker's XX Corps and could not attack. General Stewart moved out in the same half wheel manner. General Johnston attempted to call off the attack when he learned of Sweeny's crossing again at Lay's Ferry, but Stewart was already heavily engaged. Over a thousand men were lost before Stewart could return to his works. Despite carrying both days, Sweeny had gained a foothold and threatened the Army of Tennessee's supply line. General Johnston informed his senior officers that the Army of Tennessee had no choice but to fall back from Resaca or be cut off from Atlanta. Under the cover of darkness, the Army of Tennessee fell back and crossed the Oostanaula River toward Calhoun and Adairsville. In the early morning hours of May 16th, the Confederates set fire to the railroad span crossing the Oostanaula and a nearby wagon bridge to prevent it from falling into Federal hands. By early afternoon of the 16th, the Federals had repaired the damaged bridges and Howard's IV corps was in pursuit of the Confederates. Thus ended the first major battle of the Atlanta Campaign. The fight at Resaca involved for the Federals, 110,123 men and 254 guns as of April 30, 1864, and for the Confederates, 54,500 men and 144 guns as of April 30, 1864. The Battle of Resaca was one of the largest engagements and is estimated to have cost the Federals some 4,000 causalities and the Confederates nearly 3,000 men. Some estimates are even higher.
- Battle of Chaplin Hills (Perryville). A Confederate campaign to "free" Kentucky was launched in 1862 under the direction of General . Bragg, commander of the Confederate Army of Mississippi, moved his army from Tupelo in northeast Mississippi to Chattanooga, Tennessee. There, after conferring with Confederate General , Bragg and Smith launched their two-pronged "invasion" of Kentucky. The Confederate commanders hoped to attract thousands of Kentuckians to the colors, and draw Federal forces out of Tennessee. Smith led 12,000 troops northward and by the end of August controlled the central part of Kentucky. Bragg then moved his army with the intention of linking forces with Smith's, thereby gaining control of the entire state. Union forces in Kentucky under Maj. Gen. , raced toward Louisville to save the major Union supply base from capture. By late September 1862, Buell, Bragg and Smith were all in northern Kentucky. Bragg, who had been disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm demonstrated by Kentuckians to the Confederate presence, installed a Confederate governor in Frankfort, the state capital. Meanwhile Buell, spurred on by the threat of being removed from command, started his army forward from Louisville in search of Bragg. Distracted by a Federal diversion, Bragg paid little attention to the approach of Buell's 60,000-man army towards Perryville and the 16,000 Confederate forces commanded by General . On October 7, as Buell's forces drew closer to Perryville, CS Colonel 's cavalry skirmished with them. U.S. Maj. Gen. 's III Corps was on the Springfield Pike, U.S. Maj. Gen. 's I Corps was on the Mackville Pike, and U.S. Maj. Gen. 's II Corps was on the Lebanon Pike. CS Maj. Gen. called up three brigades from CS Maj. Gen. 's Division. CS Brig. Gen. Sterling A. M. Wood moved to the north of town, with CS Brig. Gen. to his right east of the Chaplin River near the Harrodsburg Pike; CS Brig. Gen. St. John R. Liddell's Arkansas Brigade formed on the crest of a hill just east of Bull Run, north of the Springfield Pike, in anticipation of the soldiers' need for water, with one regiment thrown forward onto Peters Hill. The first shots of the battle were fired in the early morning darkness of October 8 when Gilbert's skirmishers went forward to get water and encountered Liddell's pickets on Peters Hill. Near the Turpin house, U.S. Colonel Daniel McCook's brigade of U.S. Brig. Gen. 's division pushed the 7th Arkansas back to Liddell's main line. The fighting along the Springfield Pike escalated as Sheridanwho had just earned his first starpushed ahead and across Bull Run, only to be recalled to Peters Hill to assume a defensive stance by the faint-hearted Gilbert. By 9:30 a.m. the fighting had subsided. Sheridan positioned his men and made his headquarters at the Turpin house. Buell knew little about the action because he could not hear the fighting from his headquarters at the Dorsey house on the Springfield Pike, more than two miles west of Peters Hill. Bragg had ordered Polk to Perryville to "attack the enemy immediately, rout him, and then move rapidly to join Major General [Kirby] Smith" near Versailles. The Confederates were in Perryville by 10:00 a.m., where Bragg made his headquarters at the Crawford house on the Harrodsburg Pike. He ordered Polk's right wing into position. CS Maj. Gen. 's Division was redeployed from the high ground west of Perryville to the Confederate right, south of Walker's Bend of the Chaplin River. Buckner's Division occupied the center, with CS Brig. Gen. 's Division on the left. CS Colonel John A. Wharton's cavalry reported that the Union left was farther north than expected. Cheatham's Division moved into Walker's Bend, crossed the Chaplin River, and attacked at about 2:00 p.m. The Confederate attack did not envelop the Union left flank as planned, but slammed into the front of McCook's 13,000-man corps. The fighting escalated as Buckner's and Anderson's Divisions became involved. As more Confederates joined the advance and the fighting raged, McCook's men slowly withdrew. U.S. Brig. Gen.s James S. Jackson and William R. Terrill were mortally wounded in the action. Cheatham's Tennesseans and Georgians, crushing Terrill's brigade, closed on U.S. Brig. Gen. John Starkweather's soldiers from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, supported by two batteries posted along the Benton Road. The fighting was savage as the Federals blunted the Confederate surge before pulling back to higher ground. Some of the heaviest fighting was near the H. P. Bottom house on Doctor's Creek. As Johnson's men advanced over the creek, they came under heavy fire and took cover behind a stone fence. While Sheridan was hobbled by Gilbert's orders, CS Brigadier Generals and Daniel W. Adams advanced in bitter fighting and drove two Union brigades from the high ground commanding the Mackville Road crossing of Doctor's Creek. Next, the Confederates encountered U.S. Colonel George P. Webster's brigade of Jackson's division and pushed it back to the Russell house. Webster was mortally wounded while attempting to rally his men. The bitter resistance the Confederates encountered from Union regiments from three brigades and the eight cannons along the Russell house ridge bought time. It was 6:00 p.m. before the Confederates prevailed. Buell finally realized that McCook's corps faced disaster and sent reinforcements from Gilbert's corps to shore up the Federal left. U.S. Colonel Michael Gooding's brigade and six cannons were positioned to defend the vital intersection of the Benton and Mackville Roads as the Confederates called up reinforcements. First Wood's and then Liddell's Brigades hammered Gooding's men. In the interval between Wood's and Liddell's onslaughts, with daylight fading, CS General Polk narrowly escaped death or capture when he rode up to troops in battle line and ordered them to stop firing into a brigade of fellow Confederates. He discovered to his horror that the troops were in fact soldiers of the 22nd Indiana. Their colonel, however, did not think as quickly as Polk had earlier in the day when he took prisoner a Union officer who confused the portly and distinguished bishop-general with one of McCook's officers. Polk bluffed his way through and regained the Confederate lines. At about 4:10 p.m. south of the old Springfield Road, the divisions of Sheridan and U.S. Brig. Gen. Robert B. Mitchell repulsed the attack of CS Colonel Samuel Powell's Brigade. In a counterattack, U.S. Colonel William P. Carlin's brigade chased Powell's men through the streets of Perryville and across the Chaplin River. As darkness came, Liddell drove Gooding from the key intersection, but time had run out for the Confederates along McCook's front. Although they had gained ground, captured eleven cannons, and mauled five of McCook's brigades, night and the arrival of Union reinforcements stayed the Confederate tide. The battle ended at dark, with the Federals having taken the worst of it: 4,211 casualties to 3,396 in losses for the Confederates. Although Bragg's army suffered less than Buell's, the Confederate commander realized he faced the entire Army of the Ohio, and ordered an immediate retreat. In spite of telegrams from Washington urging him to follow Bragg and attack, Buell would not fight while living off the land. When Buell decided to return to Nashville to re-establish an offensive base again there, President Lincoln gave his command to U.S. Maj. Gen. and redesignated it the Army of the Cumberland. In the end, neither side gained much at the Battle of Perryville. "If it had been two men wrestling it could have been called a 'dog fall,'" one Confederate wrote later, "Both sides claiming the victoryboth whipped." One Union general described the action as "the bloodiest battle of modern times." Some historians believe that this battle, because it marked a fatal loss of initiative for the South, was as decisive as any other during the entire four-year conflict. The failure of the Confederates to advance further into Kentucky following Perryville, along with the Rebel defeat at Antietam (Sharpsburg, Md.) in September, also dashed Southern diplomatic hopes for recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation by Great Britain.
A review of Confederaphobia: An American Epidemic by Paul C
- The Dahlgren Affair was an incident involving a failed Union raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia on March 2, 1864. According to mysterious papers found on the body of the raid's commanding officer, colonel Ulric Dahlgren, one of their mission objectives was to assassinate Confederate President and his cabinet. Ulric Dahlgren was killed outside of Richmond on March 2 during a bungled raid on the confederate capital, ostensibly to free union prisoners. Late that evening thirteen year old William Littlepage discovered Dahlgren's body and searched its pockets for a pocketwatch. Instead he found a pocketbook and two folded papers, which he promptly turned over to his teacher Edward W. Halbach, a captain in the Confederate Home Guard. Halbach examined the papers the next morning, discovering that they contained signed orders on Union army stationary for a plot to assassinate Davis. According to one of the papers: "The men must keep together and well in hand, and once in the city it must be destroyed and Jeff. Davis and Cabinet killed." Halbach immediately contacted his commander, Captain Richard H. Bagby, and informed him of the discovery. At 2 p.m. on March 3 Bagby transferred the papers to Lieutenant James Pollard with instructions to deliver them to his commander Colonel James Beale. Beale instructed that they be delivered to the Confederate command in Richmond immediately. Pollard arrived in Richmond at noon on March 4 and delivered the papers to General Fitzhugh Lee. Lee, astonished at their contents, immediately took the papers to President Davis and Secretary of State . Davis quietly read through the documents in Lee's presence and paused when he reached the assassination order, remarking "That means you, Mr. Benjamin." Lee was then instructed to take the papers to the War Department where they were received by Secretary of War James A. Seddon. Seddon decided to release the documents publicly and sought Davis' approval to do so. The Richmond newspapers were contacted for a conference at the War Department and given copies of the orders, which were published the next morning on March 5. In coming months the papers were widely circulated in the Confederacy and in Europe as evidence of Union barbarism. Dahlgren was likened to Atilla the Hun and several union leaders were accused of participation in the plot up to and including President . In the North, the papers were denounced as a forgery designed to weaken the Union's war effort. Dahlgren Paper authenticity: For many years a debate has waged over the authenticity of the Dahlgren Papers. Part of the mystery stems from the fact that the papers have not survived and appear to have been intentionally destroyed by Union Secretary of War in 1865. The papers were among a collection of important Confederate documents transferred to Washington after the surrender of 's Army of Northern Virginia. Stanton ordered Francis Lieber to remove the Dahlgren Papers from the Confederate files and deliver them to him personally. He then presumably destroyed them as they have not been seen since. Surviving records include transcripts of the documents, which were published in several newspapers, photographs of them that were provided by Lee to union general for investigation, and a lithograph based on the photographs that was made in Europe where Confederate agents circulated the document to stir up sympathy for their cause. Unfortunately the destruction of the records by Stanton has prevented their examination in modern times and restricted historical knowledge of them to the surviving copies and examinations conducted between March 5, 1864 and November 1865 when Stanton seized the papers. A leading proponent of the forgery allegation was Admiral John A. Dahlgren, Ulric's father, who spent the rest of his life trying to clear his son's name. The senior Dahlgren based his argument against their authenticity on a European lithograph of the orders in which his son's name was misspelled "Dalhgren." The source of this error was discovered after the admiral's death by former Confederate general , who discovered the source of the error while studying the photographs. The lithographer, working from the photographs, mistook the "l" for an "h" and transposed the two due to ink marks that bled through from the other side of the paper. After the controversy surrounding the documents developed, Union Brig. Gen. , who authorized the Dahlgren raid, was questioned by General Meade about the photographs sent by Lee. Kilpatrick indicated to Meade that the papers were indeed authentic as he had seen them when conferring with Dahlgren, but claimed that the confederates had altered them to include the assassination order. Meade officially replied to Lee that "neither the United States Government, myself, nor General Kilpatrick authorized, sanctioned, or approved the burning of the city of Richmond and the killing of Mr. Davis and cabinet," placing the blame solely on Dahlgren. Privately however, Meade confided to his wife that "Kilpatrick's reputation, and collateral evidence in my possession, rather go against this theory" that Dahlgren alone devised the conspiracy. In addition to Meade's private beliefs, the papers' authenticity is corroborated by statements from Bureau of Military Information officers John McEntee, who accompanied Dahlgren on the raid and thus saw the papers, and John Babcock. It is further noted that the custody of the papers from their discovery by Littlepage on March 2 to their delivery to Davis on March 4 is well documented. The short period of time between their transfer from Littlepage to Davis reduces the time in which a skilled forgerer could be found. Though the papers have long been disputed, recent scholarship by historians including Stephen W. Sears and Edward Steers, Jr. has tended to favor their authenticity, though few who believe in their authenticity contend they were written by anyone other than Dahlgren himself. One theory about the Lincoln Assassination holds that the Dahlgren Papers' discovery instigated the chain of events ending in 's murder of Abraham Lincoln the next year. Steers, in his history of the assassination , traces the assassination conspiracy's origins to this event. Though they offer a different theory of the assassination that is bitterly at odds with Steers' interpretation, Ray Neff and Leonard Guttridge also agree on the Dahlgren affair's role. Sears summarizes the relationship between Dahlgren and Booth as follows: "Judson Kilpatrick, Ulric Dahlgren, and their probable patron Edwin Stanton set out to engineer the death of the Confederacy's president; the legacy spawned out of the utter failure of their effort may have included the death of their own president".