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Picket Post in front of Atlanta, GA / Photo courtesy of Medford Historical Society & Museum


The Atlanta Campaign Part 3: Crossing the Chattahoochee  followed by Nine Bloody Days of Battle, July 9-28, 1864

March 21-28, 2018

A BGES Critical Civil War Campaign Study

It had taken two months, but Sherman had maneuvered and battled his way to the banks of the Chattahoochee River. In the process, he destroyed what remained of President Jefferson Davis’ confidence in Joseph E. Johnston. The quiet but prickly general had steadily retreated in the wake of expansive turning movements that drew the Union army ever closer to the key transportation hub of Atlanta. With Robert E. Lee having been bloodily beaten back into entrenchments around Petersburg, Davis sent his military advisor, General Braxton Bragg, to Atlanta to ask Johnston’s plans for saving Atlanta. At the same time, he asked Robert E. Lee what he thought of the Corps Commanders now operating under Hood. Leonidas Polk had been killed at Pine Mountain and William Hardee had previously declined promotion to full general and command of the army. This left the young but pugnacious Lieutenant General John Bell Hood. Bell, as he was known to his friends, was relatively new to the theater and had only been promoted to his current rank six months prior. He was but 34 years old and was about to become the youngest four-star general in US military history. This is the story of the defense of Atlanta.

As this series enters its 3rd session, for only the second time in BGES history, each day of our four days in the field is enhanced by an entire book dedicated to the topic of that particular day, and those books are written by the tour guides who will lead us through each of those days (Gordon Rhea was the first guide).


Gary Ecelbarger has developed a reputation for enthusiastic presentation and excellent history. Although he refers to himself as an “amateur historian,” Gary’s books are well researched, well written and extremely well received. Constantly pushing the envelope by asking new questions and finding new answers, he has tackled a wide variety of America’s wars and is highly sought in the touring community. Gary’s fascination with the Atlanta Campaign and key figures such as John Logan has produced a cornucopia of new and exciting scholarship. He is well ensconced in this campaign with another two works planned as his next book publications. We could not bring you a better scholar or educator.

Robert Jenkins, Sr., is a Dalton, Georgia, lawyer whose passion for the Civil War has erupted with the knowledge he had ancestors who fought in the war. He is a passionate preservationist and a moving force in the region for the newly interpreted sites in northern Georgia. His research and two published books are part of a larger Atlanta Campaign series he hopes to do. Both books are excellent reads and highly informative. A veritable fountain of knowledge, he is being increasingly sought out for tours and educational programs.