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, September 28, 2014

Plans for a new campaign

During President Jefferson Davis's visit with the Army of Tennessee at Palmetto, he and Gen. John B. Hood developed a plan for what should occur next. It would start with Hood's destruction of Union Gen. William T. Sherman's supply line to Tennessee.

Hood planned to cross the Chattahoochee River west of Marietta on the road from Powder Springs to Rome, Georgia, where he would seize the Western & Atlantic Railroad. He hoped to draw Sherman away from Atlanta for a fight. Should Hood believe he didn't have hope of success, he would move his army to Gadsden, Alabama, and again entice Sherman into a fight. If Hood had a chance to stop Sherman's continued advance into Georgia, this was it.

On today's date in 1864, Hood's army set out on its march north from Palmetto, the men trudging through a cold rain. On October 1st, Hood crossed his army over the Chattahoochee at Moore's Ferry, south of Campbellton, opening his fall campaign to draw out Sherman.

Source: Wikipedia
An excellent animated map of Hood's invasion of Tennessee is available at
the Civil War Trust website

On October 2nd, my Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes, serving in Patrick Cleburne's Division, marched to Powder Springs, 12 miles southwest of Marietta, with the right column of the army. The army camped near Flint Hill Church. Over the next couple of days, while elements of the army destroyed several miles of railroad north of Kennesaw Mountain, the rest of the army moved to New Hope Church, their formal battleground. The rain and elements had exposed many of the shallow graves of earlier battles, and hundreds of soldiers volunteered to shovel dirt over the exposed bodies.

Hood will soon move northeast to strike the railroad. For the next week, Gen. Alexander Stewart's  Corps will destroy the rail line between the Chattahoochee and Etowah Rivers, capturing Federal garrisons at Big Shanty (Kennesaw) and Acworth. Taking the bait, by October 6th, Sherman had his army mobilized and was marching toward the old battleground at Kennesaw.

Perceiving a threatened invasion of Tennessee, Sherman sent Gen. George Thomas's army to Nashville to take command of the Federal troops there.

Sources: Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Pudue; Stonewall of the West, Craig L. Symonds; Advance and Retreat, John B. Hood; Hood's Campaign for Tennessee, William R. Scaife; Official Records, Vol. 39, Pt. 1

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