Rocky Face Ridge

Rocky Face Ridge Battle Hero
Library of Congress

Rocky Face Ridge

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During early May 1864, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman would successfully outmaneuver the army of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in multiple battles in northwest Georgia. Each time, Johnston would fall back to a new defensive position closer to the strategic Confederate city of Atlanta. By May 7th, Johnston had entrenched his army on the long, high mountain of Rocky Face Ridge and eastward across Crow Valley. As Sherman approached, he decided to demonstrate against the position with two columns to the north while he sent a third column through Snake Creek Gap, to the right, to hit the Western & Atlantic Railroad at Resaca. The two columns engaged the enemy at Buzzard Roost (Mill Creek Gap) and at Dug Gap to the north. In the meantime, the third column, under Maj. Gen. James McPherson, passed through Snake Creek Gap and on the 9th advanced to the outskirts of Resaca where it found Confederates entrenched. Fearing defeat, McPherson pulled his column back to Snake Creek Gap. On the 10th, Sherman decided to take most of his men and join McPherson to take Resaca. The next morning, Sherman’ s army withdrew from in front of Rocky Face Ridge. Discovering Sherman’s movement, Johnston retired south towards Resaca on the 12th. The 5-day-long battle of Rocky Face Ridge was the first battle of the Atlanta Campaign.

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
159,000

Union

99,000

Confederate

60,000
Total Estimated Casualties
1,437

Union

837

Confederate

600