After replacing Joseph Johnston at the head of the Army of Tennessee, it did not take John Bell Hood long to strike a blow. On July 19th he received news that the Union army was split in two, with Thomas' Army of the Cumberland heading directly for Atlanta, while the Army of the Ohio and the Army of the Tennessee moved to the east, heading towards the railroad supply lines. Hood planned to attack Thomas while he was crossing Peachtree Creek, thus neutralizing the superior numbers of the Yankees. This was a plan that Johnston had been developing before he was removed from command.
The Confederates attacked on July 20th, 150 years ago today. Hood committed two corps to the attack, Hardee's and Stewart's, while Cheatham's stood in place before the other Union army. The plan was to strike at 1 pm, but it took too long to keep the three corps aligned in position. The rebels finally attacked by 4 pm, but by that time Thomas had not long crossed the creek, but the men had thrown up significant defensive works. Hardee's attack was badly executed and repulsed by the Federals without much danger. Stewart's blow struck harder. In his attack two Federal brigades were driven back, and nearly an entire regiment captured. But Thomas' men counterattacked, and with the help of their artillery stopped the Confederate advance. Before Hardee could throw in his reserve he received an order from Hood to send them to reinforce Cheatham, and thus the battle ended for the day. About 1,900 Federals and 2,500 Confederates fell.
|Graves after the battle|