War of the Rebellion: Serial 072 Page 0063 Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC.- MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS.

Search Civil War Official Records

Army of the Ohio, Major- General Schofield commanding; Infantry, 11,183; artillery, 679; cavalry, 1,697; total 13,559.

Guns, 28.

Grand aggregate: Troops, 98,797; guns, 254.

About these figures have been maintained during the campaign, the number of men joining from furlough and hospitals about compensating for the loss in battle and from sickness.

These armies were grouped on the morning of May 6 as follows: That of the Cumberland at and near Ringgold; that of the Tennessee at Gordon's Mills, on the Chickamauga; and that of the Ohio near Red Clay, on the Georgia line, north of Dalton. The enemy lay in and about Dalton, superior to me in cavalry (Wheeler's), and with three corps of infantry and artillery, viz: Hardee's, Hood's, and Polk's, the whole commanded by General Joe Johnston, of the Confederate Army. I estimated the cavalry under Wheeler at about 10,000, and the infantry and artillery abut 45,000 to 50,000 men. To strike Dalton in front was impracticable, as it was covered by an inaccessible ridge know as the Rocky Face, through which was a pass between Tunnel Hill and Dalton known as the Buzzard Roos, through which lay the railroad and wagon road. It was narrow, well obstructed by abatis,and flooded by water caused by dams across Mill Creek. Batteries also commanded it in its whole length from the spurs on either side, and more especially from a ridge at the farther end like a traverse directly across its debouche. It was, therefore, necessary to turn it. On its north front the enemy had a strong line of works behind Mill Creek, so that my attention was at once directed to the south. In that direction I found Snake Creek Gap, affording me a good practicable way to reach Resaca, a point on the enemy's railroad line of communication, eighteen miles below Dalton. Accordingly I ordered General McPherson to move rapidly from his position at Gordon's Mills, via Ship's Gap, Villanow, and Snake Creek Gap directly on Resaca, or the railroad at any point below Dalton, and to make a bold attack. After breaking the railroad well he was ordered to fall back to a strong defensive position near Snake Creek, and stand ready to fall on the enemy's flank when he retreated, as I judged he would. During the movement General Thomas was to make a strong feint of attack in front, while General Schofield pressed down from the north. General Thomas moved from Ringgold on the 7th, occupying Tunnel Hill, facing the Buzzard Roost Gap, meeting with little opposition, and pushing the enemy's cavalry well through the gap. General McPherson reached Snake Creek Gap on the 8th, completely surprising a brigade of cavalry which was coming to watch and hold it, and on the 9th General Schofield pushed down close on Dalton from the north, while General Thomas renewed his demonstration against Buzzard Roost and Rocky Face Ridge, pushing it almost to a battle. One division (General Newton's) of the Fourth Corps (General Howard's) carried the ridge,and turning south toward Dalton found the crest too narrow an sd too well protected by rock epaulements to enable him to reach the gorge or pass. Another division (General Geary's) of the Twentieth Corps (General Hooker's) also made a bold push for the summit to the south of the pass, but the narrow road as it approached the summit was too strongly held by the enemy to be carried. This, however, was only designed as a demonstration, and worked well, for General McPherson was thereby enabled to march within a mile of Resaca almost unopposed. He found Resaca too