By June 1864, Northern officials were preparing for political conventions and elections. The Union party, composed of Republicans and War Democrats, would meet at Baltimore with the intent on re-nominating President Abraham Lincoln. Battlefield victories would probably insure Lincoln’s re-election. However, the conflict’s mounting death and casualty toll had taken effect on the populace. Many “peace” Democrats clamored for a presidential candidate who would end the war. A stalemate or defeat of Union armies would work against Lincoln’s re-election.
The shrinking territory of the Confederacy was making it difficult to sustain the Southern armies in the field. In spite of Robert E. Lee and his valiant soldiers, U. S. Grant’s army was moving closer to Richmond. Down south, the Federals were moving deeper into Georgia than ever before. Governor Joseph E. Brown issued this Proclamation calling for Georgians to rally the defense of the state and read, in part:
“Proclamation To the People of Georgia…All who are able for service, and can be possibly spared from home, to hasten to the field till the great battle is fought…. The destiny of our posterity for ages to come may hang upon the results of the next few days…Rally to the rescue and till the danger is past let the watchword of every patriot be, ‘To Arms, and to the front’; and the vandal hordes will be driven back.”
Following the fighting in the New Hope Church –Dallas area, General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee was clinging close to Sherman’s army groups, ready to confront the Yankee’s next move. Terrain, poor roads and stubborn Rebel defenses forced Sherman to move back toward his supply and rail line running from Chattanooga to Atlanta.
June 1, 1864 was a hot, sultry day when Major General John A. Logan and his Federal XV Corps arrived in rear of the Dallas line. Quickly and quietly Major General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker withdrew his XX Corps and marched six miles to the northeast bivouacking in rear of the Union left near Pickett’s Mill. Logan’s troops then occupied Hooker’s former position.
At 5 p.m., elements of Union cavalry of General George Stoneman’s command reached the deserted village of Allatoona capturing the pass along the Western and Atlantic Railroad thus securing the road between Acworth and Etowah. This made it possible for the Federals to move their railhead closer to the front lines.
Confederate forces under Major General William B. Bate occupied the town of Dallas following the Union evacuation. A writer to the Memphis Appeal noted about two dozen wounded Rebel soldiers were found in makeshift hospitals, “wounds undressed and “crawling with maggots.” Some of the Southern dead are buried, others lying and “rotting on the ground.”
All of Tipton’s infantry soldiers were still serving in the four brigades of Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham’s Division. On Wednesday, June 1, a soldier in the consolidated 51st and 52nd Tennessee Infantry Regiments under Lieutenant Colonel John Gracey Hall (Colonel John C. Carter’s Brigade), noted “pleasant morning, heavy firing in front of our division but our men (are) laying in their ditches; we can hear heavy firing on our right…the artillery…Our boys are very anxious for the enemy to fight.”
Hall’s Adjutant, Covington attorney Green Williamson Smitheal, reported the number of Regiments’ casualties sustained since the crossing of the Etowah River on May 20th as follows: one officer and four enlisted men killed; one officer and 22 enlisted men wounded, total five killed and 23 wounded.
Those identified from Tipton were Daniel M. Witherington, wounded slightly in the leg; G. W. Lock, mortally wounded in the shoulder; J. S. Wright, wounded in the thigh severely; W. A. Pullen, arm, slight; J. A. Campbell, head, slight; and D. A. Davis, hand, slight.
Continued next week.