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Once safely across the Etowah River, Johnston moved into an almost impregnable position in Allatoona Pass. Sherman realized that he could never hope to successfully carry such a strong position, so he made plans for a wide flanking movement to the west and south toward Dallas. On May 23, 1864 Sherman's army began crossing the Etowah at several points. McPherson swept far to the west and approached Dallas on May 24th and captured that town on the afternoon of the 25th, but was blocked just east of town when he encountered elements of Hardee's corps. Johnston's cavalry had detected Sherman's movement almost as soon as it had begun and Johnston had immediately sent one of his corps to Dallas, to block the Federals. The next day Johnston pulled the remainder of his army out of Allatoona and sent Hood and Polk to follow Hardee. Thomas and Schofield moved directly south from Kingston, reaching the small crossroads of New Hope Church on the afternoon of the 25th. Hood had arrived just a few hours earlier and his men had hastily taken positions along the ridge and in the cemetery from which they quickly beat back Hooker's tentative, initial probing and then began to entrench. Sherman could not believe Johnston had moved so quickly. Thinking that he was facing only tenacious cavalry, he ordered Hooker to make a determined assault. What followed was a bloodbath, in which the Federals made three unsuccessful and costly attacks on Hood's entrenchments. Hooker lost 1,800 men without effecting much impact on Hood. Since continued attacks at New Hope Church appeared to be pointless, Sherman sought to elongate his lines to try to flank the Confederate right. Schofield's infantry was dispatched to attack the Confederates near Pickett's Mill, southeast of New Hope Church. However, Johnston again anticipated Sherman's intentions, and Cleburne's division with 1,000 dismounted cavalry were in position to receive the attack. Schofield's men swept into a ravine and up the further slope to attack Cleburne's men, who had not yet had an opportunity to entrench. Fortifications were not needed, however, as the Confederate troops were able to catch their attackers in a crossfire and subsequently routed Schofield's troops in a counterattack. Federal losses were substantial, making Pickett's Mill one of the costliest battles of the campaign. Throughout the next ten days, Sherman and Johnston probed and parried, fighting small battles all along the Dallas line as Sherman sought to outflank Johnston to the northeast and Johnston extended his lines and counterattacked Sherman's right flank to prevent it. Schofield finally managed to capture the Dallas-Acworth road on the Confederate extreme right and Johnston fell back to a new line of entrenchments near Brushy Mountain and Pine Mountain.


(10-02) Modern New Hope First Baptist Church. The original church was across the road to the north (behind camera). Atlanta Campaign pavilion is behind the church on the south downslope (waysign just visible at right of this photo)
Panorama (with view of wartime church site)
Confederate fortifications near New Hope Church
Don Worth photo


(10-02) Confederate dead in New Hope Cemetery
Panorama (360 of cemetery)
Don Worth photo


(10-02) Enlarge Unknown Confederate Soldier
Don Worth photo


(10-02) Atlanta Campaign Pavilion behind (south of) modern New Hope Church
Pavilion 1     Pavilion 2     Pavilion 3     Pavilion 4
Pavilion 5     Pavilion 6     Pavilion 7

Don Worth photo


(4-2014) Enlarge Confederate Trenches. New Hope Church Battlefield

Bill Bechman photo

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