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Ringold Gap, Rocky Face Ridge and Dalton
New Hope Church and Pickett's Mill
Kennesaw Mountain
Last Updated March 1, 2016

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          n the summer of 1864 things did not look good for Abraham Lincoln. On August 28th, he wrote, "This morning, as for some days Abraham Lincolnpast, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be reelected." Lt. General U. S. Grant was stalled in front of Petersburg, after several months of horrific fighting with Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. And Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston had managed to delay Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's aspirations for the conquest of Atlanta by the western Federal armies. It looked as if the Democratic candidate, Gen.W. T. Sherman George B. McClellan, would replace Lincoln and sue for peace, and the Confederacy would actually achieve its long sought for independence from the United States of America. But just a week later, on September 3rd, Sherman wired Washington, "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won." The end of the war was in sight and the Northern people took heart. Lincoln was reelected and Grant and Sherman worked together to bring the war to a close seven months later.
          But none of this was clear to anyone in late November of 1863 when Grant's forces in Chattanooga beat back Confederate Gen. Braxton BraggBraxton Bragg's besiegers from Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Bragg's army, defeated but still powerful, retreated to previously prepared fortifications near Dalton, Georgia, where he was soon replaced in command by Gen. Joseph Johnston, one of the Confederacy's most respected military leaders. Grant was called to Washington to take command of the combined Federal armies, leavingU. S. Grant Sherman in command of the Western armies at Chattanooga. Now Grant, Meade and Sherman began to think about ways the efforts of the eastern and western armies could be coordinated so that Lee could not lend resources to Johnston as he had done with devastating effect prior to the battle of Chickamauga. Grant instructed Sherman to make Johnston's army his objective, while Grant and Meade launched an aggressive campaign to engage the Army of Northern Virginia in the Wilderness.
          In May of 1864, Sherman's massive 110,000 man force, comprised Joe Johnstonof the Army of the Cumberland, under Gen. George "Pap" Thomas, the Army of the Tennessee, under Gen. James Birdseye McPherson, and the Army of the Ohio, under Gen. John McAllister Schofield, began its march south from Chattanooga into Georgia. Its objective was Johnston's Army of the Tennessee, dug in on Rocky Face Ridge, west of Dalton.

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