Sherman had avoided frontal atacks during his Atlanta campaign, but the Confederates were theatening his supply line by holding the railroad north of Atlanta. He decided to dislodge Johnston’s army, which had developed stout earthworks and breastworks all along their lines.
While Sherman feigned an attack on Big Kennesaw, on the Confederates’ right flank, he ordered attacks south of Little Kennesaw. The attacks targeted salients along the Confederate line.
The assaults at a place that became known as the “Dead Angle” were desperate uphill attacksby Union forces against the well fortified rebel positions. Despite the heat, and a blizzard of shot and shell, Brig. Gen. Daniel McCook lead his men all the way to the rebel works, where he stood and yelled at the “traitors” to surrender, before he was shot down.
To papaphrase Sam Watkins, a soldier from Tennessee: “I heard a roar, felt a flash of fire, and saw my friend, William, grab the muzzle of a Yankee gun, receiving the whole contents in his hand and arm, and mortally wounding him. He died for me. In saving my life, he lost his own. ”
The assaults failed, but a few days later, Johnston moved his army out to check Sherman’s flanking movement north of Big Kennesaw Mountain.
The hill became known as “Cheatham Hill”, after it’s defender, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Cheatham.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
Joseph E. Johnston
5 Command Cards
William T. Sherman
5 command cards
Ward Creek is fordable