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Battle of Atlanta

July 22, 1864

This was a battle fought during the American Civil War, during the nadir of the Confederacy. During this time, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman had command of the Union Armies in the West (as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant had moved to the Army of the Potomac). The main Union force in this battle was the Army of the Tennessee[?], under Major General James B. McPherson[?]. He was one of Gen. Sherman and Gen. Grant's favorite commanders, as he was very quick and aggressive (a quality found in few Union generals), unlike the reliable Maj. Gen. George Thomas[?], who was very sturdy and reliable, but only good at defense. He commanded the Army of the Cumberland[?], which did not partake in this battle. The XV Corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the XVI Corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge[?], and the XVII Corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair Jr.[?].

Opposing these troops was the Army of Tennessee[?], commanded by Gen. John Bell Hood[?]. The sub-unit was commanded by Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee[?], a brilliant commander.

Gen. Hood, with his vastly outnumbered army, was faced with two problems. One, he needed to depend the city of Atlanta, which was a very important city, being a major railhub, for one. Also, the other problem was that his army was small, compared to the enormous armies that Gen. Sherman commanded. He decided to withdraw inwards, enticing the Union troops to come forward. Meanwhile, he took Gen. Hardee's troops on a march around the Union left flank, had Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler's cavalry march near Sherman's supply line, and have Maj. Gen. Joseph Cheatham[?]'s corps attack the Union front. This was a Jackson-esque movement, which may have actually worked. However, it took longer than expected for Hardee to get in position. During the time it took to get in position, Gen. McPherson had correctly deduced a possible threat to his left flank, and sent XVI Corps, his reserve, to help strengthen it. Gen. Hardee's force met this other force, and they fought for awhile. Although the Confederate attack was repulsed, it was still on the Union left flank, which he began to roll up. The Confederate forces tried to keep attacking, but there were not enough of them. Meanwhile, Gen. Cheatham's troops had broken through, but Gen. Sherman massed 20 artillery pieces near his headquarters, and had them shell the Confederate forces, while XV Corps regrouped and repulsed the Confederate troops. The US suffered 3,641 casualties, while the CS suffered 8,499 casualties. This was a devastating loss for the already reduced Confederate Army.



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