Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign

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Overview

While fighting his way toward Atlanta, William T. Sherman encountered his biggest roadblock at Kennesaw Mountain, where Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee held a heavily fortified position. The opposing armies confronted each other from June 19 to July 3, 1864, and Sherman initially tried to outflank the Confederates. His men endured heavy rains, artillery duels, sniping, and a fierce battle at Kolb's Farm before Sherman decided to directly attack Johnston's position on June 27. Kennesaw Mountain tells the ...

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Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign

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Overview

While fighting his way toward Atlanta, William T. Sherman encountered his biggest roadblock at Kennesaw Mountain, where Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee held a heavily fortified position. The opposing armies confronted each other from June 19 to July 3, 1864, and Sherman initially tried to outflank the Confederates. His men endured heavy rains, artillery duels, sniping, and a fierce battle at Kolb's Farm before Sherman decided to directly attack Johnston's position on June 27. Kennesaw Mountain tells the story of an important phase of the Atlanta campaign. Historian Earl J. Hess explains how this battle, with its combination of maneuver and combat, severely tried the patience and endurance of the common soldier and why Johnston's strategy might have been the Confederates' best chance to halt the Federal drive toward Atlanta. He gives special attention to the engagement at Kolb's Farm on June 22 and Sherman's assault on June 27. A final section explores the Confederate earthworks preserved within the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hess (The Civil War in the West) relates in exacting detail a grueling stop along General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War. The book focuses on the Kennesaw Mountain area, beginning with a battle at Kolb’s Farm, through a harrowing day of fighting on June 27, 1864, and on to a flanking maneuver that finally convinced Sherman and General Johnston, the Rebel commander, to step back from what seemed like a two-week-long stalemate. Hess supports his assertion that the earthworks of Johnston’s Rebel forces were instrumental in slowing Sherman down, and while it couldn’t be called a victory for either side (the Union counted 3,000 “killed, wounded, and missing,” and the Confederates tallied 700 casualties), the superior works of the Rebels were impressive—even Union commanders acknowledged it. The Kennesaw engagement can be seen as a textbook example of the importance of earthworks, and Hess describes the whole scenario in enough detail that it’s easy to see why they were so vital. With plenty of maps and primary sources—including diaries, letters, and dispatches—readers will be engrossed by the personal story of these soldiers. Civil War buffs and those interested in military history will take to this gripping account. 25 illus., 21 maps, 1 table. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A superbly researched account of the specifics of the battle that will appeal to scholars and general readers alike."—McCormick Messenger

"Readers will be engrossed by the personal story of these soldiers. . . . [A] gripping account."—Publishers Weekly

"Kennesaw Mountain maintains the excellence of Hess' previous work. It is highly recommended to any student of the Civil War's military operations."—Army History

From The Critics
"Readers will be engrossed by the personal story of these soldiers. . . . [A] gripping account."
-Publishers Weekly

"The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain is one of the most important as yet unexamined subjects in Civil War military history. Earl Hess's thoroughness, precision, and clear and insightful analysis assure that this will be the definitive account of the battle."—Steven E. Woodworth, Texas Christian University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469602110
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/22/2013
  • Series: Civil War America Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 352,664
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Earl J. Hess is Stewart W. McClelland Chair in history at Lincoln Memorial University and has written many books, including The Civil War in the West: Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding analysis of this battle. Analyses by using the strat

    Outstanding analysis of this battle. Analyses by using the strategy used in this battle in which I had a gr-gr-grandfather wounded.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    In 1864, the United States launched two major efforts to end the

    In 1864, the United States launched two major efforts to end the Civil War.
    The Overland Campaign quickly became a brutal slugfest. The Army of Northern Virginia was determined to fight for every inch of land and the Army of the Potomac was just as determined to advance. Even after 3 years of war, the causality list shocked the public. Most of the public’s attention focused on Lee and Grant in Virginia.
    The Army of the Cumberland under George Thomas, the Army of the Tennessee under James B. McPherson and the Army of the Ohio under John Schofield reported to William Sherman. They were to march into Georgia with two objectives: keep the Confederacy from reinforcing Lee with troops from Johnston and capture Atlanta. Northern Georgia has room to maneuver and Sherman had the resources to do so. Johnston would take a strong position. Sherman would confront him with part of his force while using the rest to flank Johnston forcing him to fall back. This was a campaign of marching and skirmishing with few battles.
    Kennesaw Mountain is the largest and bloodiest battle of the campaign. Johnston took a very strong position that was not easily flanked. For a variety of reasons, Sherman elects to assault Johnston.
    The author provides enough background and campaigning to set the stage without losing sight of the book’s object. Once at Kennesaw, the gears shift from fast overview to a detailed look at the battle. The result is a comprehensive history that never sacrifices readability for details. This is not just “front & flanks”, although they are not ignored. This is political considerations, competition within Sherman’s armies, care of the wounded and treatment of the POWs. All of this is presented as it happens with almost no “would a, should a or could a”. This style of presentation helps us understand the real situation as it was understood at the time.
    Earl J. Hess is one of our best authors. He writes very readable, informative histories that never fail to inform and entertain. UNC Press is a premium publisher that refuses cut corners by skimping on maps, endnotes and all the things that we expect in a serious history.

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