Battle of Buzzard's Roost (May 9, 1864)

Updated: July 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. Union victories at Lookout Mountain (November 24) and Missionary Ridge (November 25) forced Johnston to withdraw 30 miles south 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. Upon arriving in Washington, Grant and Sherman devised a "total war" policy aimed at the Confederate military, transportation systems, and anything else abetting the Rebel cause. 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.

On May 7, 1864, Sherman's forces approached the Army of Tennessee, which was entrenched near Dalton, in rugged, mountainous terrain on and around Rocky Face Ridge. On May 7 and 8, General George Thomas's Army of the Cumberland tested the Rebel defenses with limited gains. Foreseeing little prospect for success through frontal assaults, Sherman sent General James McPherson's Army of the Tennessee southwest, in search of a way around the Confederate defenders. On May 9, elements of Major General George Thomas's Army of the Cumberland attacked Johnston’s main line of defense at a gap in the mountains, known locally as Buzzard's Roost Gap. Meanwhile, McPherson moved his army to an unprotected gap in the mountains farther south at Snake Creek. Leaving Thomas to demonstrate before the main Confederate line, Sherman moved the remainder of his forces south through the Snake Creek Gap, threatening to disable the Western and Atlantic Railroad behind Johnston's lines. In danger of being outflanked and having his supply line severed, Johnston withdrew twelve miles to Resaca, Georgia on the night of May 12-13.

Although the Rebel defenders were able to rebuff Thomas's army at the Battle of Buzzard's Roost, the engagement accomplished Sherman's objective of holding the Confederates in check as he successfully outflanked Johnston's army.

Ohio units that fought in the Battle of Buzzard's Roost Gap 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

10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

13th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

15th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

19th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

21st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

29th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

33rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

40th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

41st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

49th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

51st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

52nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

55th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

59th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

64th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

66th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

71st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

73rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

74th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

79th 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

101st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

108th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

113th 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

Battery C, 1st Ohio Light Artillery

Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery

6th Ohio Light Artillery

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"Battle of Buzzard's Roost," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 16 Feb 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=632>

APA Style

"Battle of Buzzard's Roost." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved February 16, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=632

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