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The Battles of Dalton–Chapter 1 of the 1864 Georgia Campaign Itinerary

A 2019 BGES Civil War Field University Program

March 14-17, 2019

For many years, the pivotal Atlanta Campaign has been presented in the shadow of the great eastern showdown between Grant and Lee, yet the capture of Atlanta is widely regarded as the final nail in the Confederacy’s coffin. It provided the national morale lift needed to propel Lincoln to be the first president to be reelected since Andrew Jackson. Several notable historians have undertaken campaign studies, but none has shown more fresh scholarship than Dalton attorney Robert Jenkins.

The opening of the campaign sets the tone for the four months that follow. The terrain is daunting and the challenges each commander faced were real and thought-provoking, demanding dramatic and decisive action to maintain the relative security of their forces. This may prove one of the most important and enjoyable studies in this multi-year program.

Itinerary

Thursday, March 14, 2019

6 PM. We will meet at the headquarters hotel to pick up our reading books and to meet and greet your fellow students at a reception with adult beverages. Bob will follow with an opening discussion overviewing the Georgia Campaign, the strategies of each side, the significance of the campaign, and the challenges faced by army commanders William Sherman and Joe Johnston.

Friday, March 15, 2019

8:30 AM. We will start this morning in Johnston’s head, and our stops will include his monument in Dalton and his headquarters at the Huff House. We will then move to Sherman’s army and his headquarters at the Clisby Austin House. As Sherman gets active, we will move to his field headquarters at Blue Mountain.

Following a BBQ lunch in a period house at Rocky Face, we will head to Mill Creek, setting up and fighting the battle of Dug Gap on May 8, 1864. This afternoon will involve perhaps three hours walking as opposed to just standing at interpretative stops Lunch is included, but dinner is on your own.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

8:30 AM. Another great day coming with our departure at 0830. This morning we will set up and fight the battle of Buzzard’s Roost. You will meet Gibson’s Louisiana Brigade, the Kentucky Orphan Brigade, Oliver’s Eufaula Battery, and Fenner’s Battery. We will move to the often-overlooked sites in Crow Valley, starting with Stanford’s Mississippi Battery before lunch in Dalton. After lunch, we will discuss the winter of 1863–1864 at the Hamilton House, Grant’s Farm, Cummings Georgia Brigade, Mercer’s Brigade, and Van den Corput’s Battery near Poplar Springs Baptist Church. We will end the day visiting sites along Potato Hill and Battleline Drive with Waltham’s Mississippi Brigade. As with Friday, you will get a chance to walk off your lunch, as we will be walking extensive lines with detailed interpretation for at least three hours. Lunch is included and dinner is on your own.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

8:30 AM. Although only half a day, today may be the best of the three. We start off by heading for the crest of Rocky Face Ridge. Climbing the ridge by four-wheel drive, we will hike the spine of the ridge as we study the multiple and various types of Confederate earthworks, trenches, rock walls, batteries, and signal stations. It is hard to believe, but this was the scene of a battle as well on May 9, as the Federals ascended the ridge and attacked Pettus’ Alabamians. We will follow their footsteps along the ridge, with our tour coming to a close at 2 PM.

About the Faculty

Bob Jenkins is a practicing attorney in Dalton, Georgia. An active preservationist, he has played a significant role in expanding the story of the prelims of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign, which you will see on this program. He has completed two outstanding books on the campaign: The Battle of Peachtree Creek: Hood’s First Sortie, July 20, 1864 (2014) and To the Gates of Atlanta: From Kennesaw Mountain to Peachtree Creek, 1–19 July 1864 (2015). Bob is an animated and detailed interpreter, and you will be regaled with new and thought-provoking information and stunning vistas.

Hotel Information

This program will be based in Dalton, Georgia, and the hotel will be announced on this site. A block of rooms will be established.

Transportation

The servicing airport is Chattanooga (CHA). Atlanta (ATL) is perhaps 85 miles south. Nashville (BNA) is also a possibility. Both have excellent airfares. In every instance, you would need a rental car. For people driving in, the hotel will be convenient to I-75.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with a reading book and maps upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. Amazon.com has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.

Albert Castel: Decision in the West, The Atlanta Campaign 1864
Jacob D. Cox: Atlanta
Bob Jenkins: The Battle of Peachtree Creek, Hood’s First Sortie, July 20, 1864
Bob Jenkins: To the Gates of Atlanta: From Kennesaw Mountain to Peachtree Creek 1–19 July 1864
Joseph E. Johnston: Narrative of Military Operations during the Civil War
Jim Miles: Fields of Glory: A History and Tour Guide of the War in the West, the Atlanta Campaign, 1864
Lawrence K. Peterson: Decisions of the Atlanta Campaign: The Twenty-one Critical Decisions that Defined the Operation

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