Resaca in Gordon County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Site of Action — Judah's Division
Confusion and differences in terrain contributed to Judah's troops storming ahead of Palmer's support troops and Cox's Division to the north. Brig. Gen. Nathaniel C. McLean described the action:
I accordingly ordered an advance, and as well as I was able kept my men in line in passing over the troops of the Fourteenth Corps and through the dense and tangled undergrowth of the forest. We passed over one or two ridges and valleys, and at length reached a ridge, the top of which was within musket-range of the earth-works
Judah's and Baird's divisions suffered the loss of over 600 men, with the rest taking refuge in the stream bed of Camp Creek. On 18 May, General Schofield relieved Judah from command “because of incompetency displayed
The Orphan Brigade at Resaca
In the words of 1st Lt. Lot D. Young, Company H, 4th Kentucky, the Orphan Brigade:
“Sherman bad pushed down the West side of Rockyface Mountain and through Snake Creek Gap the day and night before in an effort to cut Johnston's communications and take him in the rear. But we had been doing some marching and digging, too, and when Sherman's columns four or five deep debouched from their positions - a long, heavily wooded ridge - into the narrow valley, on the East side of which we bad constructed rifle pits, be found us ready to receive his gay and awe-inspiring columns, who moved in perfect step, with banners flying and bands playing as though be expected to charm us. Retiring in disorder to their original position in the woods, they rallied and reformed, while their artillery was busy playing upon our batteries … Three times during the morning and early afternoon were these attacks made upon our lines, with the same results. It was a veritable picnic for the Confederates and was the second time in the history of the war, up to this time, that we bad presented such a glorious opportunity, protected as we were by earthworks, with clear and open ground in front. Had Sherman continued this business during the entire day (as we hoped he would) the campaign would have ended right here, as we had not called into requisition any of our reserve force. The principal part of the afternoon was spent by the artillery — after the infantry had gotten enough of it — on both sides pounding away at each other in a lively and entertaining fashion.Mark's Artillery Battery (Montgomery County, Alabama) consisted of four 12 lb Napoleans during this campaign. Their losses at Resaca included one lieutenant killed, one wounded, several enlisted men killed and wounded, and the loss of “considerable” horses.
When morning came the appearance of Old Sol was greeted with a signal from a battery immediately in our front, which had been stationed there during the night and protected by substantial and elaborate earthworks. The shots from this battery were directed against Hotchkiss' battalion of artillery, [T.R. Hotchkiss Artillery Battalion, Army of Tennessee] and which the Fourth Kentucky Infantry was supporting. The enemy's guns from every part of the line kept up a continuous fire throughout the entire day and was the greatest open field bombardment of the war. We were much amused at the manner of firing of the battery in our front, which was done by bugle signal, the meaning of which our men soon learned, for a moment later our works would be pierced by their shells and when they exploded threw high in the air a cloud of dirt and smoke from the embankment that almost covered us up. At intervals of about every five or ten minutes the bugle's "whe-whee-deedle-dee-dee" told us of the crash that was coming and almost lifted our scalps and rendered some of us deaf for weeks. Had the day been an hour longer we would have been compelled to abandon our works, for the embankments were almost leveled and the trenches filled.
The men of the Orphan Brigade served as the point of the angle of the Confederate line as it shifted from along Camp Creek back to the east. This meant that this brigade was not only faced with Judah's assault, but that of Cox's Division as well. After repulsing Judah, the fighting intensified against Cox. William C. Davis in his history of the brigade wrote:
The Federals attacked repeatedly. 'Column after column came down in full view, and moved right toward us,' wrote an Orphan. Some of the enemy got within seventy-five yards of their line before (the brigade) opened up. 'It was harvest time with the Orphan Brigade,' said one, 'and every available contrivance was used for reaping the field before us.' The fighting became so intense that when John Gordon of Company D, 4ih Kentucky, fell dead, his comrades spent the rest of the day stepping over him in the melee. Only with nightfall could someone find time to take him from his place in the line. The new corps of sharpshooters operated … somewhat in advance. 'Their terrible rifles soon attracted the fury of the Federal artillerymen,' wrote an Orphan of the 4th. Before the day was out, half of the elite marksmen lay dead or wounded. Yet others, in the midst of this terrible holocaust, found time to admire pityingly a little kitten caught between the battle lines and crying in its terror. Finally, (a gunner) jumped the earthworks and ran forward to grasp the cat and return it safely. Thereafter the tortoise tabby was a familiar sight perched on his friend the gunner's shoulder or astride a caisson, In honor of the occasion the Orphans named it 'Resaca'.Captions (not in marker detail, above)
Left: Frank Leslie's Illustrated News "The Battle of Resaca Fought May 14th 1864"
Center: Brig Gen. Henry Judah
Right: Pvt. Robert Patterson Kentucky's Orphan Brigade; 12-lb Napoleon
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. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1865.
Location. 34° 35.732′ N, 84° 57.725′ W. Marker is in Resaca, Georgia, in Gordon County. Marker can be reached from Resaca Lafayette Road Northwest (Georgia Route 136). Marker is along a circular path near the pavilion at the end of Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site's entrance road. 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. Picturing a 19th-century Battle (here, next to this marker); Did You Know That Both Sides Used Red, White and Blue Flags? (here, next to this marker); Enduring the Battle of Resaca (within shouting distance of this marker); Stories from the Wild Hills of Resaca (within shouting distance of this marker); Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Action — Carlin's Brigade (approx. ¼ mile away); How to Tell the Yankees from the Rebels! (approx. ¼ mile away); Resaca's Confederate Cemetery / Resaca's Fort Wayne (approx. 0.7 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 43 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 14, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.