Local News

April 19, 2014

Civil War tour group learns about the battle that wasn’t

Nearly 150 years ago, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston stationed his troops where Poplar Springs Baptist Church now sits on the outskirts of Dalton and waited for Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s forces to arrive.

They never came.

Johnston made an educated guess as to where Sherman’s officers would make their attack during the Atlanta Campaign of the War Between the States in the spring of 1864, historian Richard McMurry explained to about 50 people who participated in a Civil War tour sponsored by Dalton State College’s Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia on Saturday.

“‘This is the spot,’ Johnston thought, ‘where Sherman ought to fight ... It’s close to his supply place, and it’s far from my supply place,’” McMurry explained.

What the Confederate leader didn’t know, McMurry said, is that Sherman was forced to change tactics after two cavalry brigades and more than 10,000 foot soldiers he was expecting for the affront encountered problems that left his forces weakened.

“It’s what did not happen here at Dalton that makes this important,” McMurry said.

McMurry and Bandy Center employees led the group on a day-long tour bus trip Saturday that began at Poplar Springs Baptist and stopped at sites along the way to Kennesaw Mountain. The trek follows a trail Union leaders made during the Nearly 150 years ago, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston stationed his troops where Poplar Springs Baptist Church now sits on the outskirts of Dalton and waited for Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s forces to arrive.

They never came.

Johnston made an educated guess as to where Sherman’s officers would make their attack during the Atlanta Campaign of the War Between the States in the spring of 1864, historian Richard McMurry explained to about 50 people who participated in a Civil War tour sponsored by Dalton State College’s Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia on Saturday.

“‘This is the spot,’ Johnston thought, ‘where Sherman ought to fight ... It’s close to his supply place, and it’s far from my supply place,’” McMurry explained.

What the Confederate leader didn’t know, McMurry said, is that Sherman was forced to change tactics after two cavalry brigades and more than 10,000 foot soldiers he was expecting for the affront encountered problems that left his forces weakened.

“It’s what did not happen here at Dalton that makes this important,” McMurry said.

McMurry and Bandy Center employees led the group on a day-long tour bus trip Saturday that began at Poplar Springs Baptist and stopped at sites along the way to Kennesaw Mountain. The trek follows a trail Union leaders made during the war in an effort that eventually saw Atlanta burned by Union forces and contributed to the downfall of the Confederacy.

McMurry said Union troops eventually made their way through Taylor’s Ridge near Ringgold. Had Confederate Cavalry commander Joseph Wheeler had outposts there as he should have, the Confederates would have seen the enemy making their way through, McMurry said. McMurry said Wheeler was a successful leader when he was in charge of small units of a couple thousand men, but he was less adept when it came to commanding larger forces as in this case.

John Fowler of the Bandy Center said Saturday marked the first time the Center has sponsored a bus tour, and there are plans to add more tours.ar in an effort that eventually saw Atlanta burned by Union forces and contributed to the downfall of the Confederacy.

McMurry said Union troops eventually made their way through Taylor’s Ridge near Ringgold. Had Confederate Cavalry commander Joseph Wheeler had outposts there as he should have, the Confederates would have seen the enemy making their way through, McMurry said. McMurry said Wheeler was a successful leader when he was in charge of small units of a couple thousand men, but he was less adept when it came to commanding larger forces as in this case.

John Fowler of the Bandy Center said Saturday marked the first time the Center has sponsored a bus tour, and there are plans to add more tours.

1
Text Only
Local News