History Background: As part of Sherman's Campaign to capture Atlanta, in July, 1864, these two sites, now situated within the urban sprawl of Atlanta, were the scenes of two bloody battles between William T Sherman and John B Hood. After taking control of the CSA Army of Tennessee just a few days before the fight at Peach Tree Creek, Hood ordered an assault by parts of two of his three corps in hopes of destroying a part of Sherman's combined army group. His target was George Thomas and his Army of the Cumberland. Despite a spirited effort by General A.P. Stewart and his corps, Hood was not successful.
Following the battle of Atlanta, Hood decided on a bold maneuver to flank Sherman as the Union general ordered General O.O. Howard and the Army of the Tennessee to march west of Atlanta with the hope of breaking the last rail line into the besieged city. Hood's plan was solid but new corps commander General S. D. Lee failed to accurately execute it. The Confederates charged into a 'meat-grinder' as 'Black Jack' Logan and the15th Army Corps withheld six assaults by the Confederates.
Our tour leader Robert Jenkins wrote an excellent book on Peach Tree Creek based on exhaustive research, and this tour was as in-depth as any ever presented by the CWEA.
After an informative overview on Thursday evening in Marietta, we set forth on Friday morning. Our hardy band of troopers marched down Peachtree Street in Buckhead to see where the battle began, past the fine homes, restaurants and medical center that now sit on the Collier 1864 farm. We closely followed CSA General Winfield Featherston's Mississippi's Brigade as its soldiers charged across Tanyard Branch sustaining 50% casualties. On tour with us that day was Stephen Davis, a premier Atlanta Campaign expert in his own right, whose pithy contributions, especially about various Civil War personalities involved, further enhanced the rich commentary by Robert Jenkins.
The next day, Robert led us onto the Ezra Church battlefield, one of the least visited, and now part of Westview Cemetery, Mosley Park, Stanton Elementary School and the grounds of various subdivisions and businesses. The complex story of the battle was artfully unfolded by Robert and we were able to make sense of the movements of both sides as CSA General S.D. Lee fed his troops into a series of assaults that practically destroyed, for the remainder of the War, A.P. Stewart's Corps. Robert read from several first-hand accounts by soldiers – these dramatically conveyed the destructive nature of this battle.
The lunches were good, the snacks plentiful – Norman Dasinger skillfully managed the adventure, and all seemed to come away well-pleased. Buoyed by how well things went, we are already planning another Atlanta Campaign outing in 2018, to be led again by Robert Jenkins, Stephen Davis and Norman Dasinger.
In the meantime we heartily recommend Robert’s book on Peach Tree Creek, as well as that of Gary Ecelbarger on Ezra Church.