Resaca in Gordon County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Dancers in the Red Clay Minuet
Union victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Chattanooga in 1863 had changed the momentum of the Civil War and left the Confederates with little hope of overcoming the superior manpower and resources of their northern opponents. But in the Spring of 1864, there was still a chance they might retain their independence through a negotiated peace. The people of the North were tired of the seemingly endless struggle, with its mounting casualties and heavy drain on the national treasury. General George B. McClellan, whom Lincoln had sacked earlier in the war, had announced his intention to oppose President Lincoln in the November elections, running on a peace ticket. Should he defeat Lincoln, a peace might be negotiated which would allow the Confederacy to exist as an independent nation. The Confederates therefore did not have to defeat theirUnderstanding the stage upon which they were dancing, Sherman and Johnston each devised a strategy to reach their respective goal. Sherman wanted to force Johnston into a climactic battle that would defeat his army and allow Sherman's forces to join Grant's army in Virginia. This combined army could then defeat General Lee's forces, thereby ending the war. Johnston on the other hand wanted to avoid a major battle with Sherman and instead desired to draw Union forces further into Georgia. Johnston would then employ General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry forces to cut Sherman's supply line — mainly the Western & Atlantic Railway. Johnston hoped to fight Sherman only after establishing strong fortified positions that gave his outnumbered forces the advantage.
Thus, the Battle of Resaca became the first major engagement of the Atlanta Campaign — “the Red Clay Minuet.”
Of these two leaders, Union Major Gen. Jacob D. Cox paid the following tribute:
Johnston was an officer who, by the common consent of the military men of both sides, was second only to Lee … He practiced a lynx-eyed watchfulness of his adversary, tempting him constantly to assault his entrenchments, holding his fortified positions to the last moment so well as to save nearly every gun and wagon in the final withdrawal. … he constantly neutralized the superiority of force his opponent wielded, and made his campaign from Dalton to the Chattahoochee a model of defensive warfare. It is Sherman's glory that, with a totally different temperament, he accepted his adversary's game, and played it with a skill that was finally successful.
A Mutual Regard:
After the war ended, Sherman and Johnston reconciled and became good friends. On 14 February 1891, William T. Sherman died of pneumonia in New York City. Five days later, at Sherman's New York funeral procession, Johnston served as an honorary pall bearer. On this cold, rainy, miserable day, Johnston removed his hat as did the other mourners. A friend urged him to the hat back on so as to avoid the wet and cold. Johnston replied, “If I were in his place and he standing here in mine he would not put on his hat.” Joseph E. Johnston developed a serious cold and pneumonia and died only a few weeks later on 21 March.
General Joseph E. Johnston
Born: February 3, 1807, Farmville, Virginia
Died: March 21, 1891, Washington, D.C. (aged 84) Buried, Baltimore, Maryland
Education: United States Military Academy
Served: United States Army, 1829-37, 1838-61
Rank: Brigadier General, USA; General, CSA
General William T. Sherman
Born: February 8, 1820, Lancaster, Ohio
Died: February 14, 1891, New York City (aged 71) Buried, St. Louis, Missouri
Education: United States Military Academy
Served: United States Army 1840-53, 1861-84
Rank: Major General (Civil War), General of the Army of the United States (postbellum)
Top left: General Joseph E. Johnston
Bottom left: General William T. Sherman
Top right: Major Gen. Jacob D. Cox
Bottom right: Sherman's funeral procession in St. Louis, Missouri, on 21 February
Erected by Georgia Department of Natural Resources - State Parks and Historic Sites.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 34° 34.895′ N, 84° 57.187′ W. Marker is in Resaca, Georgia, in Gordon County. Marker can be reached from Resaca Lafayette Road Northwest (Georgia Route 136). Marker is on the Loop Trail on the west side of the entrance road to Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6 GA-136, Resaca GA 30735, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. South Toward Atlanta (within shouting distance of this marker); Logan's XV Corps to the South (within shouting distance of this marker); Resaca — A Defensible Position (approx. 0.3 miles away); Crossing the Oostanaula at Lay's Ferry (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Road to Resaca (approx. 0.3 miles away); Battle of Resaca (approx. 0.3 miles away); Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Resaca.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 14, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 14, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.