Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (June 27, 1864)

Updated: May 17, 2011

In late November 1863, Union forces commanded by Major General Ulysses S. Grant successfully lifted Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Union victories at Lookout Mountain (November 24) and Missionary Ridge (November 25) forced Johnston to withdraw thirty miles south to near Dalton, Georgia.

In late November 1863, Union forces commanded by Major General Ulysses S. Grant successfully lifted Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Union victories at Lookout Mountain (November 24) and Missionary Ridge (November 25) forced Johnston to withdraw thirty miles south to near Dalton, Georgia.

After the Federal breakout from Chattanooga, Grant was promoted to the special rank of Lieutenant General and placed in command of all Union armies. Grant moved his headquarters to Washington, DC,  leaving his trusted subordinate, Major General William T. Sherman, in command of Federal operations in the Western Theater. Grant's primary military strategy was a coordinated effort to attack and defeat the two main Confederate armies in the field, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in the east, and Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee in the west. On May 5, 1864, Grant launched his Overland Campaign against Lee in Virginia. Two days later, Sherman led three armies, the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Major General James B. McPherson; the Army of the Ohio, commanded by Major General John M. Schofield; and the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Major General George H. Thomas, out of Tennessee in pursuit of Johnston's army in northern Georgia.

Throughout the summer of 1864, the Confederate and Union armies engaged in a series of battles between Dalton and Atlanta in northern Georgia. Most of the fighting occurred at places on or near the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which connected Chattanooga and Atlanta. Both sides depended on the railway for supplies throughout the campaign. In a pattern that was often repeated, Sherman employed flanking movements that threatened the railway to Johnston's rear, forcing the Confederate commander to retreat south in order to protect his supply lines.

By June 19, 1864, Johnston had withdrawn the Army of Tennessee to a defensive position astride Kennesaw Mountain near Marietta, Georgia. Initially, Sherman decided that Johnston's new line was too strong to risk a frontal attack. Instead, he attempted to extend the Union line west and turn Johnston's left flank. Anticipating Sherman's plan, Johnston countered by sending reinforcements to bolster his left flank. On June 22, Sherman's troops defeated the Rebel defenders at the Battle of Kolb's Farm, but they were unsuccessful in achieving their objective of turning the Confederate flank.

After the Battle of Kolb's Farm, Sherman was convinced that Johnston's center was vulnerable, believing that the Confederate commander had stretched his line too thin by committing too many soldiers to protect his left flank. Thus, Sherman ordered a major frontal assault on Johnston's army on June 27. Following an artillery barrage, the Army of the Tennessee attacked Johnston's right flank while the Army of the Cumberland attacked the center and the Army of the Ohio attacked the left. All of the attacks against the well-entrenched Confederates proved futile and resulted in heavy Yankee losses.

Ohio units that participated in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain included:

Infantry units:

1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

5th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

7th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

9th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

13th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

15th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

19th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

20th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

21st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

27th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

29th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

30th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

33rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

32nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

37th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

39th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

40th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

41st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

43rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

45th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

46th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

47th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

49th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

50th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

51st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

52nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

53rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

54th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

55th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

57th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

59th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

63rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

64th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

66th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

68th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

70th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

71st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

73rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

74th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

76th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

78th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

79th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

81st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

82nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

90th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

93rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

94th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

97th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

98th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

99th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

100th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

101st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

103rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

104th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

108th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

111th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

113th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

118th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

121st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

124th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

125th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Artillery units:

Battery A, 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment

Battery C, 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment

Battery D, 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment

Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment

3rd Ohio Artillery Battery

4th Ohio Light Artillery Battery

6th Ohio Light Artillery Battery

10th Ohio Light Artillery Battery

14th Ohio Light Artillery Battery

15th Ohio Light Artillery Battery

19th Ohio Light Artillery Battery

Cavalry units:

1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

4th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was a resounding Confederate tactical victory. Sherman's armies suffered about 3,000 casualties (killed, wounded, and captured/missing), compared to just 1,000 for the Confederates. Strategically, however, Sherman still maintained the upper hand. Schofield's attack exposed weaknesses on the left flank of the Confederate line. Faced with the prospect of being out-maneuvered once more, Johnston withdrew farther south to the outskirts of Atlanta. 

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"Battle of Kennesaw Mountain," Ohio Civil War Central, 2017, Ohio Civil War Central. 27 May 2017 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=457>

APA Style

"Battle of Kennesaw Mountain." (2017) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved May 27, 2017, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=457

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