This Week in the Civil War - #825
The day after the conclusion of the Battle of the Wilderness, Saturday, May 7, 1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman’s 100,000 man force began moving against General Joseph Johnston’s 60,000 man army which was entrenched along a high ridge at Dalton, Georgia. Sherman decided not to assault the Confederates’ main position and determined to turn Johnston’s left flank so as to attack Atlanta. While Lorenzo Thomas’ Union forces demonstrated against Johnston’s main position, James McPherson’s Federals with a force of cavalry led the flanking maneuver, skirmishing with Confederate forces at Varnell’s Station and Nickajack Gap, Georgia. However, on Monday, May 9, McPherson’s forces determined that Confederate defenses near Resaca, Georgia were too strong to attack, losing Sherman a golden opportunity to get into the rear of Johnston’s forces and outright seize Atlanta.