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.

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

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