Artillery Duel - June 27, 1864 - 8:00am

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, GA

"All that has gone before is mere skirmishing--The War now begins..."


These words, uttered by Union Major General Tecumseh Sherman 10 days before the opening of the battle at Kennesaw Mountain, gives soul-stirring insight into the type of campaign that he intended to launch in Georgia in the coming months of 1864. With the Civil War slaughter-grounds the likes of Shiloh, Gaines Mill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg still vivid in the country's memory, anyone who heard these words must have shuddered down to the very fiber of their being.

General Sherman and his 100,000-man army had departed Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 7th, 1864 with the objective of both destroying the opposing Confederate force under General Joseph E. Johnson, and capturing the major southern city and rail hub of Atlanta. The month or so prior to the battle at Kennesaw saw the two armies engage in numerous small actions while Sherman moved inexorably South by performing a series of flanking movements around Johnson, forcing his withdrawal closer and closer to Atlanta itself. By June 15, Sherman's advance had stalled out 15 miles short of Atlanta, however, as Johnson's army took up positions along the steep ridgetop of Kennesaw Mountain and three neighboring peaks known as Little Kennesaw, Pigeon Hill, and Cheatham Hill. Due to the dominating position these peaks offered the Confederates, astride Sherman's intended railroad supply line, the Union army could not afford to simply bypass the Rebel army. Kennesaw Mountain had to be taken.

Sherman's plan was a simple one. His Army of the Cumberland, under Major General George Thomas, would make a general assault on the center of Johnson's line at Pigeon and Cheatham Hills, while the remainder of his force would make strong demonstrations against Johnson's flanks at Kennesaw Mountain and the Kolb Farm preventing Johnson from sending reinforcements to the point he intended to break through. At 8:00am on June 27, 1864, 200 Union cannon opened up along the 8-mile front signaling the start of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain...


Battle Statistics


United States of America

Armies Engaged: Army of the Tennessee, Army of the Ohio, Army of the Cumberland

Commanding Officer: Major General William T. Sherman

Strength: 100,000

Casualties: 3,000 or 3.0% (unknown killed, wounded, or captured/missing)


Confederate States

Armies Engaged: Army of Tennessee

Commanding Officer: General Joseph E. Johnston

Strength: 50,000

Casualties: 1,000 or 2.0% (unknown killed, wounded, or captured/missing)


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