Battle of Atlanta (July 22nd, 1864)

William T. Sherman was planning on taking Atlanta one of the south's last major citys. The Confederates knew that Sherman was going to attack the city's defenses so Joseph E. Johnston built stronger defenses which included trenches and he sent in more men. You would think that it was Sherman who attacked first but it was actully John B. Hood who attacked the Union at Peachtree Creek as he knew taking the offensive would be his only hope of saving the city. On July 19, Hood learned that Sherman had split his army so on July 20,1864 Hood left his defenses and charged the Union army at Peachtree Creek. At four o'clock in the afternoon the confederates attacked the Union flank but were repulsed and experiences heavy causilties. On the other flank however the attack was more sucessful. The attack drove out the Union and captured quite a few. The Union however launched a counterattack which drove the Confederates back to their own defenses. At Peachtree Creek Union casulites were 1,710 and Confederate casulites were 4,796. But, The Atlanta Campaign was not yet over.

 

After the unsucessful attack Hood moved his troops to the inner defenses. On July 22, Hood sent William Hardee to hit a unprotected Union rear. He then sent Wheeler's cavalry to attack a Union supply line and Cheatham to attack the Union front line. However Hood miscalculated the timing and the attack failed. Confederate casulites were 8,499 and Union casulites were 3,641 including Gen. McPherson a great General. (There is a monument to General McPherson right in the middle of a neighborhood.)

 

Sherman's troops had not been able to break through anywhere so he attacked from the west at Ezra Church on July 28. The attack broke Hood's last supply line in Atlanta Hood however sent troops to counter attack the Union at Ezra Church. Union troops however were dug in and easily repulsed the attack. Final casulites were 562 for the Union and 3,000 for the Confederates. While an important battle in the campaign, Sherman's troops failed to cut the rail line to Atlanta.

 

In late July, during the cover of night, the Union Army slipped out of their trenches and seemingly disappeared. At first the Confederates were baffled, but then learned Sherman had marched around the city and was advancing on Jonesboro to take the Macon & Western Railroad line about 15 miles South of Atlanta. Hood moved his troops quickly but after several fruitless attacks that resulted in thousands of Confederate soldiers killed and wounded, Hood lost the rail line and Atlanta was doomed. 

 

During the night of September 1, 1864 Hood's army evacuated the city destroying and burning everything that might support the Union army in their continued fight. While Sherman is often blamed for the burning of Atlanta, it was the Confederate army during their retreat from Atlanta that set the city aflame. Total casulites from the campaign were 31,687 Union and 34,687 Confederate. This is the beggining of the end for the Confederacy and the starting point for Sherma's March to the Sea.