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Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University



July 1864

'Explosive Action'

Retiring to the fortifications surrounding Atlanta, newly installed leader of the Army of Tennessee, General John Bell Hood, launched a series of three successive attacks in an attempt to hold Major General William T. Sherman’s armies at bay as the bluecoats approached the city: at Peachtree Creek on July 20 (top photograph), Atlanta/Bald Hill on July 22, and Ezra Church on July 28. Each engagement produced heavy casualties; in three battles since taking command of the Army of Tennessee, Hood had lost one-third of his army, although on the 22nd the Federals lost Major General James B. McPherson when he rode inadvertently into the Southern lines. At the same time, efforts along the Richmond-Petersburg line in Virginia produced what Lieutenant General U.S. Grant later called “…the saddest affair I have witnessed in this war.” Major General Ambrose Burnside tasked some of his Pennsylvania units – coal miners turned soldiers - to dig a tunnel which would stretch for 511 feet to beneath the Confederate position at Elliott’s Salient. During the early-morning hours of July 30, an enormous explosion rocked the Virginia countryside, hurling Southern soldiers and equipment skyward and back to earth (bottom image). Unhappily for Union chances of success, confusion among the charging Federals thrust most of them into the bowels of the gaping crater, where they quickly became easy targets as the dazed Confederates rallied and recovered from their initial shock.

Upcoming Events

July 10, 2014
Special Civil War Round Table of Cobb County Fundraising Event
Location: KSU Center

October 11 , 2014
Fall Symposium
Location: KSU Center

October 24-26, 2014
'Siege to Surrender' Tour
Location: Petersburg, Five Forks, Appomattox, & more!

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