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Battle of Resaca - May 14, 1864 - Afternoon

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Battle of Resaca - May 14, 1864 (Afternoon)
Battle of Resaca - May 14, 1864 (Afternoon)

Civil War Trust’s map of the Battle of Resaca

By May 14, Johnston’s Confederate army was positioned north and west of Resaca, stretching four miles, with its left on the Oostanaula River and the right extending to the Conasauga. Camp Creek cut across most of Johnston’s front, creating an additional obstacle for the Federals. As Sherman’s forces marching from Snake Creek Gap paralleled Rebel lines, Sherman ordered attacks to keep the Rebels occupied while Sweeny’s division of the Sixteenth Corps crossed the Oostanaula four miles downstream from Resaca, beyond the Confederates’ left, to threaten the railroad.

Starting around 11:30 a.m. Yankees from the Maj. Gen John Schofield’s Twenty-third and Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s Fourth Corps attacked across rough terrain; Camp Creek, “with quicksand in places, and steep muddy banks,” proved a formidable obstacle indeed. Schofield’s two divisions charged and failed. One brigade of Brig. Gen. Henry Judah’s division never got past Camp Creek. The Fourteenth Corps divisions of Brig. Gen. Absalom Baird’s and Brig. Gen. Richard Johnson also charged, managing to cross the creek before withdrawing under heavy musketry and cannon fire. Brig. Gen. Jacob Cox’s division of Schofield’s corps entered the battle after Judah’s and was also thrown back.

The Federal assault on the Confederate center-right petered out around 3 p.m., having achieved nothing but casualties—at least 1,600 killed and wounded. Following their failed attacks, Thomas and Schofield ordered artillery to shell the Rebel works. After adding casualties from the bombardment, the Confederates probably lost between 400 and 500 men in the Camp Creek fighting on May 14.

Learn More: Battle of Resaca