|Source: House Divided|
As if to complicate matters for the Confederates, their commander, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was removed from command on the 17th and replaced by Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood. While inheriting the largest Confederate army at that time, which may have numbered nearly 63,000, Hood faced a superior force totaling 100,000 men, anxious to take Atlanta as its prize.
|Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010|
Cleburne was to hold his 3 brigades in readiness to reinforce and exploit the anticipated breakthrough. Cleburne deployed his brigades behind Maj. Gen. William H.T. Walker’s Division, moving his artillery to the front where it could fire over the heads of the attackers and into the Federal lines.
|Peachtree Creek Battlefield, 1864|
From the Matthew Brady Collection
Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010A section of the picturesque Peachtree Creek today, near where the fighting
occurred. During the battle, it was a difficult muddy and marshy channel to cross.
Early in the afternoon I followed the remainder of [Cleburne's] division in the trenches about one mile to the right, relieved a line of skirmishers in front of the position where I halted, and then, with the remainder of the division, moved back to our original position. The enemy having crossed Peach Tree Creek in force and advanced his lines some distance toward our works, and Granbury’s brigade having changed position and formed on my left, I advanced with the balance of the division in support of Walker’s division. My brigade was immediately in rear of Stevens’ brigade, which attacked the enemy in his works and was repulsed. After a little skirmishing with the enemy, in which I lost 2 killed, 39 wounded, and 4 captured (total 45), I was relieved by Mercer’s brigade, and again returned to my original position.
As ordered, Cleburne marched his division away from the battle, south through Atlanta, traveling along the Decatur Road. About midnight, he rested his men for a couple of hours on the edge of town along the railroad before continuing on to reinforce Wheeler's dismounted cavalry about 2 miles outside of Atlanta. They took up position outside the outer defenses in a line up the slope of Bald Hill.