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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.
 
At 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.   



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Cheatham Hill scene of some of the worst fighting.


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Union troops tried to dig a tunnel under enemy line. Sadly it didn't work.


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Stuck for six days.




Confederate Cannon at Cheatham Hill
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These cannon were camoflauged and opened fire on unsuspecting Union troops at short range.

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With my dad at the Texas Monument on the Battlefield

Confederate Works On Cheatham Hill
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The trees were not there during the battle.

Cheatham Hill from the "Dead Angle" looking down
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Union soldiers tried a frontal assualt up this hill. It was a bloody failure.

With Dad at works built by Texas soldiers
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These cannon could enfilade (fire across) Union lines. The protected Confederate works.

Next time we go to Atlanta I will add more photos of the battlefield.