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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The 2-day Battle of Jonesboro, 1864

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
The Battle of Jonesboro, which began on this date in 1864, lasted from August 31 to September 1. It was the last significant battle of several fought in and around Atlanta in the summer of 1864. The Battle of Jonesboro was Federal William T. Sherman's attempt to cut Confederate Gen. John B. Hood’s railroad supply lines and force him to withdraw his army from Atlanta. My Great Grandfather Nathan R. Oakes served in Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne's Division of Gen. William Hardee's Corps, which had a prominent, albeit disappointing role in this fight.

On today's date in 1864, Hardee was at Hood's headquarters to discuss the recent movements of Sherman's army and to draw up plans for an attack. Hood assigned Hardee command of the entire front from East Point to Jonesboro. He ordered Hardee to coordinate an attack at Jonesboro with Stephen D. Lee's Corps (Hood's old corps). In his absence Hardee had left Gen. Cleburne in command of his corps, who would continue to command Hardee's men throughout the next several days.

The concern for Hood was the appearance on August 30 of a Federal column near Jonesboro. Hood ordered Hardee to assault the Federals at Flint River near the Macon & Western Railroad, which by now were entrenched behind fortifications there. Hardee's orders were to drive the Federals into the river "at all hazards." It was a difficult assignment, and if the attack were not carried, it would result in Hood's army having to evacuate Atlanta.

Overnight, the enemy had crossed the river and was a half-mile west of Jonesboro and the railroad, facing east. Gen. Cleburne, commanding Hardee's Corps, had been ordered to march his troops through the night, south to Jonesboro to meet the threat. It was a slow and difficult march under constant threat of attack. The tired men arrived about sunrise and soon were placed into position in a line west of the railroad. The line now stretched about 1.5 miles from just below Jonesboro to just above the town. Lee, whose corps arrived about 1:30 PM, was placed just west of the railroad to Cleburne's right. At this point there were about 20,000 Confederates along the line.

Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey
The battle plan called for Cleburne to attack the southern flank of the Federal bridgehead in a sweeping movement from south to north. Lee's Corps would follow up Cleburne's attack. Cleburne placed Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey, Great Grandfather Oakes's brigade commander, in charge of his division. Lowrey's division, on the extreme left of the Confederate line west of Jonesboro on the Fayetteville Road, would lead the attack. He would swing Cleburne's Division northward to strike the Federal right flank. Lowrey positioned Hiram Granbury's Brigade on the left. His own brigade, temporarily under the command of Col. John Weir, was placed in the center. Mercer's Brigade, commanded by Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, was placed on the right. Daniel Govan's, in reserve, was in the rear of Granbury's. John C. Brown's Division was to the right of Lowrey's division. "Each man was provided with sixty rounds of ammunition" reported Lowrey, "and all were informed that General Hood expected them to go at the enemy with fixed bayonets, and drive them across the river."

Source: House Divided

Hardee's artillery opened the battle at 3 PM, and by 3:15, Lowrey's brigades moved forward with fixed bayonets. Very soon, his men came under fierce fire from artillery and dismounted cavalry posted behind defenses in an open field about 300 yards from the river. At this point, Col. Weir reported1 that he ordered his (Lowrey's) brigade to charge. The other brigades did the same. They soon routed the Federals, sending them into a retreat to a second line of defenses, before driving them across the river. In their exuberance Granbury's Regiment, followed by Lowrey's and Mercer's, pursued the fleeing Yankees across the river. They gained another line of defensive works; however, they had now exceeded Lowrey's ordersor at least his intention. While successful in this gallant charge, the problem now was that Lowrey's brigades had ignored taking the entrenched Federal infantry on their right (north). Lowrey reported the action on the 31st in this way,
Both artillery and small-arms opened vigorously on my lines, but after a short contest the enemy fled in confusion, and were pursued by my command with great impetuosity. A portion of this force made a slight stand at a second line of works, to hold us in check while the remainder crossed Flint River; but the stand was only slight, and all soon fled in great confusion, leaving in front of Lowrey's brigade 2 pieces of artillery in a deep slough near the creek. Contrary to instructions, Granbury's brigade crossed the river for the purpose of driving a battery from the next hill, which was doing some execution in our lines. Too full of impetuosity, Lowrey's and Mercer's followed the example, and the enemy was driven from another line of works beyond the river. I immediately ordered the brigade commanders to bring their commands back and form their lines on this side of the river. Observing that we were far in advance of the troops on our right, and that the connection on the right was entirely broken, I immediately ordered Brigadier-General Govan to change the direction of his line and unite with the forces on our right, and press the enemy's flank, if a flank could be found, assuring him that I would join him with the other three brigades as soon as possible. Pending the movements and the reformation of the other brigades, I galloped to the right to make observations. I found that the enemy was in good works the right of the flank of which rested on the river, and that Cheatham's division, under command of Brigadier-General Maney, had come in and occupied the ground between my command and the enemy's infantry works. But supposing a charge would be ordered, I was making all haste to get in position to join in the assault, when I received an order from Major-General Cleburne to return to the position from which I started.
Lowrey was now ordered to move his division to the right in support of Lee. However, after shifting about 600 yards in Lee's direction, Hardee ordered him to halt and await further orders. Soon, Lowrey was ordered back to the place from which his attack had started.

By now, it was becoming evident to Cleburne that his planned sweep of the Federal line had fallen apart. Lacking the support of Lowrey's division, Brown's Division with George Maney's behind, lost much of the impact it needed in its attack to the north. Even after Cleburne added 2 other brigades to the attack, Brown's assault unraveled. Lowrey's troops were out of the main action, Brown's men had been repulsed, and Maney's attack was called off. Lee, who mistakenly had preempted Cleburne's attack by an hour, was unable to advance to the enemy's line, and was driven back with heavy losses. Hardee had little choice but to order Cleburne and Lee to cancel their attacks an fall back to their original line along the railroad.

Lowrey, whose men achieved the only real success of the day, reported a loss to his division in this attack to be 28 killed and 147 wounded. Hardee's total loss was at least 2,000. The enemy lost only 172.

In fairness to Hardee's men, his 2 corps were unable to drive portions of 4 Federal corps, personally directed by Sherman. Regardless, Cleburne, who was leading the corps for the first time in battle, was not successful in leading his troops to victory. And Lowrey, for his part, was also unable to clearly communicate with his division the important strategy for his portion of the attack, although in his report he stated that his men acted "in obedience to the order given [and] drove across the river all the enemy that was in their front." He also admitted,
I did not swing as much to the right as I intended to do, for the reason that the enemy was farther to my left than was expected, and to have done so would have left the enemy in works on this side of the river on my left flank and in my rear. My left brigade encountered the strongest force of the enemy and sustained the greatest loss.
That night, Hardee ordered Cleburne to pull back to within a mile of Jonesboro. Hood had recalled Lee's Corps to Atlanta in response to a new threat southwest at the railroad at Rough and Ready—the enemy was destroying the railroad between there and Jonesboro. Hood interpreted the battle at Jonesboro as an attack on Atlanta from the south and began considering an evacuation of the army. At 1:30 AM, Lowrey was ordered to move Cleburne's Division to relieve Lee's departing corps. Still commanding Lowrey's Brigade, Weir posted his men in the center between Granbury on his right and Mercer on his left.

Lowrey now had only a thin line to replace Lee's entire corps. His men were left to form scant defenses with what little material was nearby. Their line was so close to the enemy that several from Mercer's brigade were attacked and captured.

The departure of Lee's Corps will have a direct influence on Cleburne's fight the next day.

On September 1st, Cleburne's corps, now entrenched in a single line around Jonesboro, and under fire from the enemy's sharpshooters and artillery, faced the overwhelming numbers of 6 Federal corps. Throughout the day, the Yankees prepared for an attack on Cleburne's position, which had no natural defenses. Col Weir put his brigade to work improving their defenses, which were subjected to constant fire from Federal sharpshooters and artillery.

Gens. Hardee and Cleburne had decided to use Hardee's outnumbered corps to make a brave stand to hold back the Federal troops, most of the Union army, while providing the time needed for a safe retreat of the Confederate army from Atlanta to Lovejoy Station. But Sherman had a plan to envelope Jonesboro and destroy Hardee's Corps.

By early afternoon, the enemy was seen to be moving to the right Lowrey's position, which was holding the north end of the hooked line that curved back a mile north of Jonesboro. It would be against this northern angle that the main Federal attack would come. Hardee strengthened this part of the line by assigning Lowrey 2 additional brigades, Lewis's and Gist's (command by Col. James McCullough). Lowrey was ordered to select a new line for them to extend the right beyond Govan's Brigade, on the line extending back to the railroad.

Lowrey wrote in his report,
On making a hasty examination of the ground I found it absolutely necessary to change a portion of Govan's line in order to get good ground and the proper direction for the two brigades. Having the line hastily marked out by a small detail from Govan's brigade, I ordered Brigadier-General Govan to place his right regiment on the rear line, prepare new works, and destroy the old work in his front. I urged him to have this work done at once, assuring him that there was no time to lose....
I placed Lewis' brigade in position, with his left connecting with Govan's right, and his right resting on the railroad, and continued the line with Gist's brigade on the east side of the railroad, turning his right back almost parallel with the railroad. These brigades were formed in thick woods, and going vigorously to work soon had temporary works, and the bushes thinned out in their front, forming an inferior abatis. I in person superintended the deployment of a line of skirmishers in front of Gist's brigade, and the pioneers of Cleburne's division soon cut down bushes in their front, forming a good abatis. I also ordered that the skirmishers should be extended 200 or 300 yards to the right of the brigade, and that one man of every four should be advanced 400 or 500 yards, to deceive the enemy and check his advance. This done, I was informed by Lieutenant-General Hardee that another brigade had been ordered to report to me, to continue the extension of the line to the right; but by my request he sent an engineer to select the line, and placed Brigadier-General Lewis in command of his own brigade, Gist's, and the one en route for the right of the line.
At 3 PM, while Lowrey was making final arrangements in his extended line, the Yankees attacked along his whole line. Col. Weir reported that they "made a demonstration along my entire front, but did not drive in my pickets." Instead, the Yankees concentrated their point of attack on the thin line of Govan's Brigade. The Confederates there were soon engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle. Lowrey continues,
Before I had time to give my further attention to the point where the works were to be changed on Govan's line, the enemy was advancing on my whole front. He made a vigorous assault on Govan's line at the angle formed by the change above alluded to, but the assault was repulsed. He then advanced in three separate columns, all converging upon this point, and in the second assault he carried that part of the work. This necessitated the giving up of the whole of the ground occupied by Govan's and Lewis' brigades.
The fighting was fierce. Men on both sides were clubbed and bayonetted to death in the struggle. Picking up here with Lowrey's report:
Brigadier-General Govan, about 600 of his officers and men, and 8 pieces of artillery here fell into the enemy's hands. Brigadier-General Granbury then threw his line back and began to form a line perpendicular to his original one, but, by my order, he immediately reoccupied his works and held them until after the close of the engagement. Colonel P. V. Green reformed a portion of Govan's brigade, charged, and retook a portion of the works, but could not hold them. Major-General Cleburne threw Vaughan's brigade into the lurch, which, with the assistance of the remaining portions of Govan's and Lewis' brigades, completely checked the advance of the enemy. Heavy demonstrations were made upon my whole front, but no determined assault, except upon Govan's brigade.
The problem for Govan's men, according to Lowrey, was that they hadn't been able to adequately prepare their defenses. Additionally, Lowrey's orders to destroy their previous works now in their front had not been carried out, due at least in part to the heavy Yankee shelling and sharpshooting all day. The result was that the enemy was able to use them for cover during their assault.

The situation for Lowrey's single line was serious. He wrote, "Our whole force being in one rank, and the enemy having this advantage, to hold the work was impossible." Nevertheless, his brave men continued to pour a heavy fire into the massed Yankee columns, "inflicting heavy loss, as the extensive grave-yards of the enemy now show. He could not advance over the temporary works which he had taken, and in his heavy and confused masses could not seriously injure us."

Cleburne's arrival with reinforcements helped the threatened position in Govan's front. He immediately deployed a brigade across the gap that had been created and ordered up additional batteries. Somehow his thin Confederate line held until nightfall, which mercifully ended the struggle. Hardee achieved his objective of delaying the Federal advance.

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
Entrance to the Jonesboro Confederate Cemetery

The Battle of Jonesboro ended with terrible loss. The Confederates lost upwards of 2,700 men to around 1,200 Federals. Lee's Corps alone suffered around 1,300 casualties. Lowrey reported that 55 in his division were killed, 197 wounded, and 659 missing. Weir stated his brigade's losses at 4 killed and 27 wounded. Lowrey's/Cleburne's Division's total loss for the 2-day battle was 1,086.

Surprisingly, the Federals did not follow up their attack. Had they done so, Hardee's entire corps might have been destroyed. In fact, There was no military reason why Sherman didn't continue to pursue Hood's army after Jonesboro.

After 11 PM, the the battle weary Confederates made a cautious withdrawal southward,  to Lovejoy Station, leaving the Federal army in possession of the railroad to Atlanta. Now that the railroad was cut, Hood had no choice but to evacuate Atlanta. Overnight, September 1-2, he destroyed his large supplies of ordnance and ammunition in his withdrawal. The dramatic explosion of more than 80 freight cars announced to all that the desperate defense had ended.

And so Atlanta was lost.2

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
Jonesboro Confederate Cemetery
The cemetery contains between 600 and 1000 soldiers from Hardee's Corps, some of whom
were exhumed from battlefield graves in 1872 and reburied within the cemetery. The head-
stones, which are unmarked, are laid out in the shape of the Confederate battle flag.

1From Col.John Weir's report of Lowrey's Brigade at Jonesboro:
I placed the brigade in position on 31st of August west of the Jonesborough and Fayetteville road, Mercer’s brigade being on my right and Granbury’s on the left, the line of battle moving northeast and southwest, and being about half a mile west of the railroad. At 3 p. m. the line was advanced, and a distance of 400 yards brought me into an open field, where I received the first fire of the enemy, who were posted behind breast-works made of rails about 300 yards in front of my command, supported by two pieces of artillery. I immediately ordered a charge, and the brigade rushed forward and drove the enemy from his position in great confusion. He retreated across Flint River, and the men were so eager in the pursuit that they could not be halted till they had gained a second line of works, about 300 yards west of the river, in which the enemy made no stand, being so hotly perused. I immediately withdrew the brigade to the east side and formed it near the margin of the timber skirting the river bank. The brigade captured 4 pieces of artillery, which were not brought off the field. In compliance with orders I then withdrew to our former position on the Jonesborough and Fayetteville road.
My loss in this affair was 8 killed and 66 wounded.

I will state that the conduct of men and officers was commendable and praiseworthy.

At 3 o’clock on the morning of 1st of September I received orders to follow Mercer to the right. About daylight I got the brigade into position behind some unfinished earth-works three-quarters of a mile north of Jonesborough, Granbury on my right and Mercer on my left. The enemy was strongly posted in my front, and my men were subjected all day to a severe ordeal of sharpshooting and shelling by his batteries. Notwithstanding this, by midday I succeeded in erecting very substantial earth-works with a strong bates in front. At 3 p. m. the enemy made a demonstration along my entire front, but did not drive in my pickets. Later in the evening, having a battery in position to my right rear, my men were very much harassed by his fire, the balls coming from the right obliquely into the rear of my works.
My loss during the day was 4 killed and 27 wounded.

2Although Hardee’s Corps succeeded in gaining a portion of the Federal works, Hood later wrote unkindly that “the general attack, notwithstanding, must have been rather feeble, as the loss incurred was only about fourteen hundred (1400) in killed and wounded—a small number in comparison to the forces engaged… This failure gave the Federal Army the control of the Macon road, and thus necessitated the evacuation of Atlanta at the earliest hour possible.” Hood maintained the callous attitude that way to valor in battle was through high casualty figures.

Sources: Stonewall of the West, Craig L. Symonds; Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; Advance and Retreat, John B. Hood; The Army of Tennessee, Stanley F. Horn; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Decision in the West, Albert Castel; Military Reminiscences of the Civil War, Volume 2 November 1863-June 1865, Jacob. D. Cox; Decision in the West, Albert Castel; Official Records, Vol. 38, Pts. 3, 4, & 5

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Marching to the Battle of Jonesboro

My Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes's regiment, the 32nd Mississippi Infantry, had been for several days on duty with Mark P. Lowrey's Brigade in Patrick Cleburne's Division in the direction of East Point outside of Atlanta. On the evening of the 7th, the brigade took up position near Conley’s Mill, about 2 miles from East Point. There Lowrey ordered his men to construct a strong defensive line.  Gen. Cleburne rode daily along the lines, often accompanied by the commander of the corps, William Hardee.

The brigade remained here behind their works until the 30th. Of those 3 weeks, Lowrey wrote,
The time spent here was remarkably quiet. There was some shelling and slight skirmishing, from which I lost 2 killed and 6 wounded. On the morning of the 30th I moved to the left of East Point, went into position, and employed the day in constructing works, but late in the evening I was ordered farther to the left and halted for a short rest.
At this time, Lt. Gen. William Hardee placed Cleburne in temporary command of his corps. Cleburne then put Lowrey in command of the division, and Lowrey placed Col. John Weir of the 5th Mississippi in command of his brigade. The orders were to move out from East Point to Jonesboro to confront the movement of William T. Sherman's army at Jonesboro.

The brigade with the rest of the corps marched overnight, arriving at Jonesboro just before dawn on the 31st. Within hours, Cleburne's men will be in the midst of a 2-day battle against Sherman's army, which will take a heavy toll and ultimately result in the fall of Atlanta.

Sources: Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell and Elizabeth Howell; Official Records, Vol. 38

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Great Grandfather Oakes turns 19

On today's date, a Sunday in 1864, my great grandfather, Nathan R. Oakes, a private in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, turned 19 years of age. Having enlisted in March 1862, Pvt. Oakes served in the 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment, in Mark P. Lowrey's Brigade, in Patrick R. Cleburne's Division. To date he has seen action at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap, and through all but the final days of the Atlanta Campaign.

Today, Great Grandfather Oakes is stationed with his regiment near East Point, along the Atlanta & LaGrange / West Point Railroad, southwest of Atlanta, which is currently under siege by Sherman's army. It is wet and rainy, and the Confederates are awaiting another attack which will develop into the Battle of Lovejoy's Station on September 2nd.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The First Battle of Lovejoy's Station, 1864

On August 18, 1864, Federal Gen. William T. Sherman sent the "Kill Cavalry," a cavalry raiding force under Brig. Gen, Judson Kilpatrick, to attack Confederate rail supply lines.* After tearing up a small section of tracks on the Atlanta & West Point Railroad, it headed for Lovejoy's Station on the Macon & Western Railroad, 25 miles south of Atlanta. Along the way the next day, the Federals hit the Jonesboro supply depot on the Macon & Western Railroad, burning great quantity of supplies there.

On today's date in 1864, the Federal raiders attacked at Lovejoy's Station, overwhelming its Confederate defenders. Patrick Cleburne's Division, in which Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes was serving, was rushed from East Point. They arrived after sunset and attacked the unsuspecting raiders. Fighting the Federals for nearly 3 hours, then chasing them as they retested, Cleburne's men nearly trapped the raiders. Although the Federals tried to form a defensive line, Cleburne's men overwhelmed them, capturing many many of their rifles and horses.

Although supplies and track at Lovejoy's Station had been destroyed, the railroad line was back in operation 2 days later.

Source: House Divided

Lovejoy's Station is actually the site of 2 battles fought in August of 1864. The next will occur on September 2-3, when Stephen D. Lee’s Corps attempt to drive back a Federal corps and fighting also breaks out nearby along Cleburne's line. Shortly after, Sherman pulled his armies back to the vicinity of Atlanta, while the Confederate army camped around Lovejoy’s Station until mid-September.

At about the same time, Hood unwisely sent 4,500 men of his cavalry under Gen. Joseph Wheeler—almost half of the cavalry force—to tear up Sherman's rail supply lines in North Georgia. Wheeler was largely unsuccessful. His attack on the fort at Dalton on August 14-15, resulted in defeat. The Federals then chased him north before he cut across Tennessee and finally back across the Tennessee River in early September. By then, Hood's railroad to Atlanta was destroyed, and he was forced to withdraw.

Sources: CWSAC Battle Summaries; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Atlanta Will Fall, Stephen Davis; Official Records, Vol. 38, Pt. 2

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Second Battle of Dalton, 1864

On today's date in 1864, the Second Battle of Dalton,* Georgia, was fought as a Confederate cavalry action between the forces of Joseph Wheeler and a Federal force commanding a garrison there.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler
Wheeler had been sent out by Gen. John B. Hood on a raid through North Georgia to cut up the rail line and disrupt Gen. William T. Sherman's army now besieging Atlanta. On August 14, he demanded the surrender of the fort. The Union colonel refused refused and successfully held out within the fort even though fighting continued until midnight.

On August 15, Wheeler called off the attack. By now, Union forces under the command of Maj. Gen. James B. Stoneman had arrived from Chattanooga and engaged Wheeler's cavalry as they began to retire. Fighting between Wheeler and Steedman continued for 4 hours before the Federals drove off Wheeler's cavalry.

Next, they attacked Tunnel Hill, where Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes had been stationed the previous winter in Patrick Cleburne's Division. However, his attack there was not successful. Despite the damage Wheeler's men inflicted on the North Georgia railroad, the Federals quickly repaired the track and trains were running again in a couple of days.

After tearting up more track south of Chattanooga, Wheeler then led his troops into Eastern Tennessee toward Knoxville. Rounding Knoxville on August 25th, he proceeded west across the state causing minor interruptions to the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. He then turned south and continued on through Franklin until he recrossed the Tennessee River at Tuscumbia.

By September 1st, Sherman's armies had cut off Hood's southern railroad supply line in the Battle of Jonesboro, now making Wheeler's raid largely irrelevant. In early October, Wheeler rendezvoused with Hood's army after destroying the railroad bridge at Resaca.

The First Battle of Dalton (not to be confused with the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge near Dalton) was fought between February 22 and 27, 1864. In a Third Battle of Dalton, the Federal garrison here will be attacked again and taken by Hood's army in October 13th.

Source: Official Records, Vol. 38, Pt. 1

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Battle of Utoy Creek, 1864

The Battle of Utoy Creek was fought from August 5-7, 1864. While it did not involve Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne's Division, posted at East Point, it was an important battle for holding Gen. John B. Hood's vital supply line to his Army of Tennessee.

Union Gen. William T. Sherman so far had been successful at besieging Hood's army behind its fortifications encircling Atlanta. Although a series of battles and skirmishes had already been fought, Sherman was intent on weakening Hood's army by attacking his railroad lines into the city, thereby hastening the end of his long siege.

After failing to cut off Hood's left flank at the Battle of Ezra Church on July 28, a frustrated Sherman planned to make another attempt to extend his right flank in order to take the railroad between East Point and Atlanta. He ordered Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield's army to Utoy Creek to join Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer's corps in assaulting the Confederate position there.

On the morning of today's date in 1864, Schofield crossed his forces over the creek. However, due to Confederate resistance, the maneuver took the entire day. The delay gave the Rebels time to strengthen their defenses before the main attack on the 6th.

The Federals crossed the Sandtown Road and moved through rough terrain and up a steep incline. There they encountered the well-entrenched positions defended by Kentucky’s famed Orphan Brigade of Maj. Gen, William B. Bate’s Division. The fierce fighting by Bate's men drove the Yankees back with heavy losses. Later that afternoon, 1 of Schofield’s divisions managed to flank Bate out of his position, but the Confederates fell back to a new line of prepared defenses closer to the railroad.

On the 7th, the Union troops moved toward the main Confederate line and entrenched. They remained there until late August.

The Battle of Utoy Creek, finally forced Sherman into abandoning further attempts to outflank the Confederates on his right.

Sources: CWSAC Battle Summaries; Atlanta, Jacob D. Cox; Official Records, Vol. 38

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lowrey's Brigade moves to East Point

Shortly after the Battle of Atlanta, with a depleted army of only about 30,000 effectives, Gen. John B. Hood realized he could not continue to hold his extended line around the city. So he ordered Gen. William Hardee's Corps back into the defenses on the east side of Atlanta.

Then on the evening of today’s date in 1864, my Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes’s brigade, Brig. Gen. Mark Lowrey’s, posted in Hardee's Corps near Gen. John B. Hood's headquarters on Ashby Street, was relieved by a brigade of the Georgia militia. The next morning Lowrey marched his men toward East Point, about 6 miles southwest of Atlanta, and bivouacked there for 2 days. On the evening of the 6th, he was ordered to move again, farther in the direction of East Point, where on the morning of the 7th, they took position near Conley’s Mill, about 2 miles from East Point. At this point, his brigade with Patrick Cleburne's Division was on the extreme left of the Confederate line near the Sandtown Road.

Gen. Lowrey ordered his troops to construct a strong line of defensive works where they remained until the evening of the 29th. Lowrey reported, “The time spent here was remarkably quiet. There was some shelling and slight skirmishing, from which I lost 2 killed and 6 wounded.”

Essentially for the rest of August, Cleburne's Division will be ordered to move almost constantly, entrenching in front of Federal Gen. William T. Sherman's army as he sought a way around the Confederates near East Point. During this period, Cleburne's men were the subject of nighttime shelling, so they were compelled to sleep in their trenches. Their trench works extended to the rear through which they carried supplies along with the wounded and dead.

Sources: Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; Stonewall of the West, Craig L. Symonds; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Official Records, Vol 38, Pt. 3