The Battle of Resaca: Atlanta Campaign, 1864

The Battle of Resaca: Atlanta Campaign, 1864

by Philip L. Secrist


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The battle of Resaca in May 1864 represents a series of firsts: the first major battle of the Atlanta Campaign, the first occasion in Georgia in 1864 of Confederate and Federal armies in their entirety facing one another across a field of battle, and the first major encounter between Joseph E. Johnston and William T. Sherman as army field commanders.

The two-day battle of Resaca proved to be an experience for Sherman that would cause him to alter the patterns of his strategy and tactics in the campaign that followed. Disappointed by McPherson's lack of aggressiveness on two occasions, and Hooker's bungled attack on Hood's corps on May 15, Sherman abandoned General Grant's injunction to "go after Johnson's army and break it up." Instead, he reversed the original sequence of the plan by turning to the strategy of maneuver. Rather than risk a decisive battle with Johnston's army, Sherman would gain the capture of Atlanta by flanking movements drawing on his advantage in numbers.

Thus, after Resaca, Sherman switched from the hunt for a decisive military showdown to the focus on what amounted to essentially political objectives. The frustrating Resaca experience reawakened his natural sense of caution. He found the strategy of maneuver more suitable to his nature and to the nature of the Midwestern army he commanded.

The practical result of this switch in strategy would be Atlanta's capture in September-the timing of Atlanta's fall would have a profound political impact on the reelection of an American president and the outcome of the war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881462074
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Publication date: 04/30/2010
Pages: 102
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Illustrations vii

Introduction (Tom Watson Brown) xi

Foreword xiii

Special Acknowledgment xvii

Part I Conduct of Battle

The Plan of Action 5

First Try for Resaca 9

The Battle at the Angle 17

Stopped by the 5th Indiana Battery 33

Polk's Battlefield 39

The Fight for the Four-Gun Battery 47

The Battlefield Abandoned 63

Part II Resaca Rediscovered

The Passing of Time 69

A Century Later-New Interest 77

The Construction of Interstate 75 87

Epilogue 91

Notes 95

Bibliography 99

Index 101

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