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, 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

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