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Rocky Face in Whitfield County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Battle of Mill Creek Gap

Buzzard's Roost - May 7 to 12, 1864

 

— Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail —

 
Battle of Mill Creek Gap Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
1. Battle of Mill Creek Gap Marker
Inscription.  After their defeat at Missionary Ridge near Chattanooga in November 1863, the Confederate “Army of Tennessee” spent the winter of 1863-64 around Dalton, fortifying its defense. As the weather warmed and dirt roads dried, heavy fighting resumed. On Saturday, May 7, 1864, the Federal 14th Corps, led by Major General John M. Palmer, marched from their camps near Ringgold about ten miles north. They pushed through Confederates at Tunnel Hill before approaching Mill Creek Gap (a.k.a. Buzzard's Roost) near Dalton. Viewing the heights of Rocky Face Ridge one soldier noted that “buzzards are roosting (up there)” waiting for us to die.

The gap was dammed and flooded by Confederate engineers, and soldiers were well-entrenched along Rocky Face Ridge. Two Confederate divisions, led by Major Generals Alexander P. Stewart and William B. Bate, lined the ridge and gap. Commanding Union Major General William T. Sherman decided to probe Confederate positions while sending Major General James B. McPherson's 24,000-man “Army of the Tennessee” around the Confederate southwest flank through Snake Creek

Marker in pocket park at Georgia Department of Public Safety. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
2. Marker in pocket park at Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Gap. Sherman's hope was to cut the Confederates railroad supply line at Resaca, fifteen miles to the south, and trap the Confederate army in Dalton. He ordered the 61,000-strong “Army of the Cumberland” under Major General George H. Thomas to test Confederate defenses at Mill Creek Gap and occupy their attention while McPherson's army flanked them.

On May 8th, Union Brigadier General James D. Morgan's brigade advanced into Mill Creek Gap but was halted by strong fire from Confederate Brigadier General Randall L. Gibson's brigade. Other Federal attacks against Rocky Face Ridge, and an attempt to dismantle the dam flooding the gap, also failed. “The enemy was concealed from our view and we did not have the poor satisfaction of shooting at them," recalled Sergeant George H. Puntenney of the 37th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

By May 10th, drenching “rain was falling steadily and the pungent smell of battle smoke filled the valleys,” recalled Sergeant Henry J. Aten of the 85th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The next day General Sherman began withdrawing much of his force to follow General McPherson's army through Snake Creek Gap. Believing the Confederates were beginning to evacuate Dalton, on the 11th Sherman also renewed attacks at Mill Creek Gap. The result was disastrous as Confederates

Other nearby Battle of Mill Creek Gap Markers image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
3. Other nearby Battle of Mill Creek Gap Markers
had not evacuated. Over five days the Confederates lost about 65 men and the Federals nearly 300.

On Thursday, May 12th, after discovering most of General Sherman's armies marching through Snake Creek Gap, commanding Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston ordered his army's evacuation of Dalton. By the following dawn the opposing armies were positioned at Resaca. Sherman had maneuvered Johnston out of Dalton, although Johnston had eluded the potential Federal trap.

This “Pocket Park” is one of five along or very near the historic driving route of the Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail”. The other four are in Ringgold, Resaca, Cassville and New Hope (near Dallas). They were built as public works projects during the “New Deal” Depression years of the 1930s.
 
Erected 2019 by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number 9.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 34° 48.079′ N, 85° 0.722′ W. Marker is in Rocky Face, Georgia, in Whitfield County. Marker can be reached from Chattanooga Road (U.S. 41) north of Willowdale Road, on the left when traveling north. Located at foot of Georgia State Patrol Offices. Touch for map

Map of battlefield core and study areas by the ABPP. image. Click for full size.
By Public domain
4. Map of battlefield core and study areas by the ABPP.
. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2401 Chattanooga Road, Rocky Face GA 30740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Atlanta Campaign (a few steps from this marker); Mill Creek Gap (a few steps from this marker); The Flooded Gap (a few steps from this marker); Confederate Defense of Mill Creek Gap (a few steps from this marker); George Disney's Grave (within shouting distance of this marker); Rocky Face Ridge Phase (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of Mill Creek Gap (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Mill Creek Gap (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rocky Face.
 
Also see . . .  American Battlefields article, with map, on the battle. (Submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 

More. Search the internet for Battle of Mill Creek Gap.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 24, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 52 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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