In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deployed at Kennesaw

Source: Civil War Maps by Hal Jesperson
During the night of today's date in 1864, the corps in which Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes served, William J. Hardee's, was ordered to move again, this time back toward Kennesaw Mountain. Gen. Joseph Johnston, fearing becoming surrounded, was forming a new Confederate position, an 8-mile long line west along the crest of Kennesaw Mountain, curving southwest to the base of Little Kennesaw, then southward 3 miles across the Dallas Road. There it extended over a hill, now known as Cheatham Hill, and ended north of a fork in Ward Creek. This final 3-mile stretch was assigned to Hardee's Corps. Cheatham's Division was posted on his namesake hill, with Cleburne's Division assigned to his right. Cleburne's line extended to the Dallas Road.

Cleburne ordered Gen. Mark Lowery's Brigade, Great Grandfather's, on the left (south), Gen. Daniel Govan's in the center, and Gen. Hiram Granbury's on the right (north). Cleburne ensured that his men were fortified behind strong breastworks with head logs. However, because of the distance to the Dallas Road, he had but only a single line of soldiers.

Four hundred yards away, with a small ravine between, was the opposing Federal line. In Lowrey's front were open woods and dense undergrowth. Govan's men fronted a field with felled timber scattered on his left. Cleburne's troops further fortified their position by driving logs into the ground with sharpened ends pointing outward, interspersed with rails. It was a formidable position, and although the Federals shelled the line constantly, except for heavy skirmishing, they did not attack.

Here Cleburne's men waited for several days for Sherman's general assault, which would develop on the 27th in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

Sources: Patrick Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; Decision in the West, Albert Castel

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