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Resaca in Gordon County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Oostanaula River Bridges

The Battle of Resaca

 

Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail

 
Oostanaula River Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
1. Oostanaula River Bridges Marker
Inscription.  The original Western & Atlantic Railroad bridge over the Oostanaula River at Resaca dates from 1847. By 1862, two bridges spanned the river, one for the railroad, the other for a wagon road to Calhoun six miles south. When Federal agents led by James J. Andrews stole the locomotive “General” on April 12, 1862 at Big Shanty (Kennesaw) and subsequently attempted to burn the railroad bridge here at Resaca, it became apparent that several bridges were vulnerable. For the next two years Governor Joseph E. Brown stationed Georgia State Line troops to guard the Resaca railroad bridge while they trained at nearby Fort Wayne (a.k.a. Camp Wayne).

In early May 1864, Union Major General William T. Sherman ordered Major General James McPherson's army to proceed south through Snake Creek Gap in order to wreck the railroad at Resaca. This action would cut the supply line from Atlanta for Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's army located at Dalton.

Only 4,000 Confederates defended the Oostanaula River bridges when McPherson's 23,000 Federals arrived west of Resaca on May 9th. Artillery fire from Fort Wayne

Oostanaula River Bridges Marker looking north on US-41. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
2. Oostanaula River Bridges Marker looking north on US-41.
contributed to McPherson's misjudgment regarding the strength of Confederate forces and his subsequent decision to a withdraw his army back to Snake Creek Gap. This mistake gave Johnston time to fortify positions on the hills around Resaca. By May 13th, bode Sherman's combined armies of approximately 100,000 and Johnston's army of about 55,000 had arrived. The Battle of Resaca occurred on May 14& 15, 1864.

Sherman's armies attacked, much of the Confederate front on the 14th stalling with heavy Federal losses in Camp Creek Vallen Confederates countered near Nance Springs, but then stalled too. A later Federal attack pushed Confederates from hills overlooking the Oostanaula River bridges then resisted repeated counterattacks. Confederate supplies also came across the two bridges and on a pontoon bridge. Federal advances brought all three bridges under fire. Sergeant Walter Clarke of the 63rd Georgia Infantry Regiment wrote in his journal, “Exposed to heavy artillery fire while crossing pontoon bridge at Resaca.” He added later, “A solid shot from the [Federal] battery struck directly in [the company to our front], killing two and wounding a third, not more than ten feet from where I stood.”

Another attack and counterattack occurred near Nance Springs on the 15th resulting in heavy casualties and the capture

Map of Resaca Battlefield core and study areas by the ABPP. image. Click for full size.
By Public domain
3. Map of Resaca Battlefield core and study areas by the ABPP.
of a Confederate four-gun artillery battery in hand-to-hand combat. Later that day Johnston confirmed reports of a Federal force crossing the Oostanaula River in his rear at Lay's Ferry. The Confederate army secretly withdrew overnight spreading straw over the bridges before marching across undetected then setting them afire. Sherman's armies extinguished the flames and used the wagon road bridge to pursue the Confederates toward Calhoun. Original stones in the railroad bridge abutments are still visible today. The Battle of Resaca resulted in about 6,000 casualties with no clear-cut tactical victor. Yet Sherman's strategy of flanking Johnston's smaller army forced a Confederate retreat.
 
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number 14.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 34° 34.338′ N, 84° 56.43′ W. Marker is in Resaca, Georgia, in Gordon County. Marker is on U.S. 41 0.2 miles north of Upper Tate Bend Road NW, on the left when traveling north. Located at the Gordon County Justice Center & Sheriffs Office. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2700 US-41, Calhoun GA 30701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle of Resaca (approx. 0.6 miles
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away); Polk's Line Withdrawn to Resaca (approx. 1.3 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Resaca (approx. 1.3 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Resaca (approx. 1.9 miles away); Atlanta Campaign (approx. 2.2 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Resaca (approx. 2.2 miles away); Miss Mary Green (approx. 2.3 miles away); Confederate Cemetery Resaca (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Resaca.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on the Battle of Resaca. (Submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 

More. Search the internet for Oostanaula River Bridges.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 55 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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