|Saving enemy wounded from the fire. A nice thing to do.
On June 10, Sherman decided to leave the railroad. Weeks of rain delayed his march, giving the Confederates time to make
fortifications on Kennasaw Mountain. The Confederate engineers had built fortifications around Kennesaw Mountain and the ravines
that would allow the Union to advance on to Atlanta. Sherman extended his lines to the South to try to flank the Confederate
army. Johnston countered with 11,000 men under Gen. John Bell Hood. The first battle at Kennesaw Mountain was at Kolb's Farm
on June 22, 1864. Hood attacked but was unable to drive the Union army off. (Today this part of the battlefield is virtually
covered with shopping centers) With no victory and unable to move because of muddy roads, Sherman feld that the COnfederate
works were very strong, but because of their low numbers they could not be heavily covered with men. Sherman thought
he could use his advantage of numbers to break through with one large thrust and destroy the Southern army. He planned
a diversion against the Confederate left, while the real attack would be against the center of the Confederate lines. On June
27, Sherman sent two attacks against the Confederates. Both were bloody failures. One of the things I learned while visiting
is that during this time Confederate soldiers pushed their cannons up Kennesaw Mountain by hand. The cannon weighed almost
1,200 pounds and because of the terrain and weather they could not use the roads, so axemen cleared paths and soldiers pushed
and pulled the cannon to points where they could be used. Meanwhile 8,000 Union troops attacked General Cleburne and
General Cheatam's defenses near what is now called Dallas Highway (then it was Dallas Road). MAny Union troops were
shot down, but some were successful enough coming up the side of the mountain to take part in minutes of bloody, hand to hand
combat on top of the Confederate earthworks at a place that was called "Dead Angle" by the soldiers that survived.
On the approach to the bloody angle there is an area where Union troops were about 30 years from Confederate troops
but safe from the gun fire because of the way the hill was formed. Some soldiers were stuck there for six days - they could
not move forward as they would be cut down and trying to retreat down the hill would make them open to Confederate fire. Some
soldiers tried to dig a tunnel under the Confederate lines to blow it up. They made it several yards into the side of the
mountain, but were unable to blow it up. This was the last time during the war that Sherman would ever ordeer a frontal
assult on Confederate positions. During the battle the North lost 3,000 men, while the South lost only 800. Ironically the
diversionary attack on the Confederate left captured an important road intersection near the Chattahoochee River. Johnston
and his southern army abandoned their defenses the night of July 2nd and fell back toward Atlanta.
one point in the battle on June 27, not far from the "Dead Angle" the Union frontal assualt had failed leaving hundreds
of dead and wounded Union soliders between the Confederate works and the Union lines. The woods and brush between the two
armies caught fire because of the gun fire and artillery. The fire began to creep toward the wounded soldiers. Lt. Colonel
William P. Martin who was commanding the 1st and 15th combined Arkansas Regiments, jumped on the earthworks and ordered his
Confederate soldiers to cease firing. He then waved a white flag of truce yelling to the Union soldiers to "come and
get your wounded, they are burning to death." For a short time the Union and Confederate soldiers helped remove the wounded
and put out the fires. The next day the Union generals presented Martin with two Colt Revolvers as a thank you for his
humanitarian efforts. Later they begain to fire at each other again.
Kennesaw Mountain still has
some of the battlefield preserved, but million dollar houses and commercial buildings are threatening it.