Featured Book Reviewer
- Feb 23, 2013
- East Texas
Tour Stop 4 at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield lies in the heart of the park and is the most isolated and evocative part of the battlefield. This was the scene of the most desperate fighting during the Union assault of June 27, 1864 on the Confederate position at Kennesaw.
The Confederate lines here were held by the divisions commanded by Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne and Maj. Gen. Benjamin Cheatham who would give his name to this location. The battery above was constructed by members of Brig. Gen. Hiram Granbury's Texas Brigade of Cleburne's Division of Lt. Gen. William Hardee's Corps.
Nearby, the Texas State Monument stands along the road leading to Cheatham Hill, looking out over the space between the Federal and Confederate lines below.
The marker below commemorates one of the battle's notable legendary events, the truce called by Confederate Colonel William Martin of an Arkansas regiment in Cleburne's Division to allow Union soldiers to rescue their wounded from a fire that had sprung up between the lines, threatening to roast these unfortunates, as depicted in the engraving above by battlefield artist Alfred Waud in Mountain Campaigns in Georgia.
Another relatively new development here at Kennesaw Mountain NBP are the many signs erected by a local Eagle Scout troop showing locations of particular units on the battlefield like these for Lowrey's Brigade of Cleburne's Division above, found along one of the many trails through the park. Below, another one for Charles Harker's brigade of John Newton's division of Oliver Howard's Union Fourth Corps.
Notable commanders along this portion of the lines included from left to right above Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne; leader of the Alabama Brigade in his division, Brig. Gen. Mark Lowrey; and Union Colonel Charles G. Harker who was killed leading his brigade in the attack here on June 27.
The small sign in the center above indicates the approximate location where Harker fell in fighting between his brigade and that of Brig. Gen. Lucius Polk of Cleburne's Division.
Locations of batteries as well as regiments and brigades are indicated by the new signs like that above.
Camouflaged Cannons are an indication of one of the great bugaboos of the war, especially to Union troops: Rebel so-called masked batteries that would suddenly open up unawares, like the one Pat Cleburne had employed so effectively at Ringgold Gap during the retreat from Chattanooga in November, 1863.
The line of Confederate field fortifications extends virtually the entire length of the park property; below, those manned by Vaughn's Brigade of Ben Cheatham's Division as it approached a bend in the line known afterward as The Dead Angle.
Below, the original gravesite of First Sergeant C. H. Coffey, 22d Illinois Vol. Inf. before being moved to the National Cemetery in Marietta.
The Dead Angle at Cheatham Hill
The postwar lithograph by Chicago printers Kurz & Allison is far too neat and orderly but nevertheless indicates the intensity of the struggle here at the Dead Angle; note the Union officer at right center who is probably intended to represent either Col. Harker or Col. McCook urging his men forward.
The Illinois Monument at the Dead Angle looks deceptively peaceful in its setting overlooking the field across which the Federals made their desperate charge, stacked up as they were in an assault formation that was designed to overrun the Confederate defenders but that proved to be a deadly moving target several regiments deep.
Notable participants on this part of the field included above from left to right Union Colonel Daniel "Col. Dan" McCook who was killed at the head of his brigade; Confederate observer and gadfly Sam Watkins whose 1st Tennessee Regiment was posted within the angle formed in the Rebel line; and Maj. Gen. Benjamin "Bluff Ben" Cheatham whose division held this part of the defenses.
The small sign indicates the spot on the Confederate works where the beloved "Colonel Dan" fell urging on his men. Following his death the brigade fell back to the edge of the crest where they sheltered in a swale, unable either to advance or retreat until nightfall. However, they remained in place where they soon began construction of a tunnel beneath the confederate lines, now marked by the tiny arch beside the imposing Illinois State monument below. (The Confederates abandoned the position before any serious mining could be done however.)
Above, the southern face of the Dead Angle where it was assaulted by members of Mitchell's Brigade of Jefferson Davis' Division of John Palmer's Fourteenth Corps during the attack June 27, 1864. The marker below is for Maney's Brigade of Cheatham's Division, the one that included Sam Watkins and the 1st Tennessee Regiment.
Below, the grave of one Union attacker who was somehow missed when the bodies here were exumed postwar for internment in the new Marietta National Cemetery.