Rocky Face Ridge
Whitfield County, GA | May 7 - 13, 1864
By May 7, 1864, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army group had crossed southward into Georgia and advanced toward Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army defending Atlanta. Johnston had entrenched facing west along Rocky Face Ridge mountain between the Western & Atlantic Railroad and Dalton. As Sherman approached, he chose to demonstrate against the position with the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of the Ohio to the north, while he sent the Army of the Tennessee through Snake Creek Gap to hit the railroad at Resaca, cutting Johnston’s retreat and resupply route. The attacks on the heights and at Buzzard’s Roost (Mill Creek Gap) began on May 8 and continued the next day. In the meantime, Maj. Gen. James McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee advanced to Resaca on May 9 where it found Confederates entrenched. Overestimating the number of Johnston’s defenders, McPherson pulled his column back to Snake Creek Gap. On May 10, Sherman decided to join McPherson to take Resaca and pulled the Armies of the Cumberland and Ohio away from Rocky Face Ridge. Discovering Sherman’s movement, Johnston evacuated Dalton and retired south towards Resaca on May 12. The 5-day-long battle along Rocky Face Ridge was the first battle of the Atlanta Campaign.