1864

May

Anxious Cobb County residents began to hear Sherman's Army approaching their county line. From the sound of the guns, they knew that it would be more than a raid and that a battle was eminent upon their soil. By the last week in May, many residents were packing their valuables and leaving the county for a safer haven. Many left by train, some by carriages and wagons. Prior to departing essentials were packed and valuables buried under smoke houses, apple orchards in hills and behind barns. Many of the refugees from Marietta went to Wilkes County, Georgia.

 

June 4

Moving south paralleling the Western and Atlantic railroad line, Sherman's army engaged in a long series of battles along the way at places like Ringgold, Tunnel Hill, Allatoona Pass, Pickets Mill and Dallas, on June 4 Sherman arrived in Cobb County and established his headquarters in the vicinity of Due West.

 

June 8

The Union Army occupied Acworth while constant skirmishing occurs. Sherman's army had been repairing the railroad for the purpose of bringing in supplies for the campaign that lay ahead. Two divisions of the Union Seventeenth Corps, numbering about 9000 men, crossed the Etowah River on pontoons and joined Sherman's Army in Acworth.

 

June 9

Having secured communications with his garrisons at Resaca, Rome, Kingston and Alatoona, Sherman moved on to Big Shanty (now Kennesaw, Georgia). The drums of the marching Federal troops could be heard from as far away as the Confederate Calvary headquarters in front of Lost Mountain. The rumbling of the army on the move could also be heard from the site of the next big conflict; Kennesaw Mountain.

 

June 10

Confederate General Johnson ordered engineers and Negro laborers, who had been at work on fortifications of Atlanta to begin work on the fortifications of defenses along the Chattahoochee River. In the meantime, the Union 14th and 20th Corps Artilleries redeployed from Mars Hill Church to a position facing south towards Pine Mountain. The 14th Corps Artillery occupied the left flank; the 20th the right. From this location, Union artillery hoped to check the Confederates' strategic placement of guns near Pine Mountain's summit.

 

June 14

Confederate Generals Johnston, Hardee, and Polk, while positioned atop Pine Mountain to observe the Union lines, were fired upon by the Union batteries. General Polk was struck in his upper torso by an artillery shell, and died instantly. The observation outpost was abandoned the next day as Confederate forces rejoined the main Confederate line. Polk's body was taken to the George W. Hardage House, his headquarters, and then to Marietta. He was later buried in Augusta, Georgia. Near the summit of the mountain, a stone marker of considerable height has been erected in memoriam to General Polk.

 

June 15

The Battle of Gilgal Church in West Cobb County. Union forces intended to attack southern defenses at the Due West Crossroads, but failed due to approaching darkness and Confederate resistance. The battle was fought around the Dickson house which General Joseph Hooker occupied as his headquarters on June 17, 1864. The house was moved in 2005 to an area behind 1792 County Services Parkway, Marietta.

 

June 18

The advances made by Sherman's army forced Confederate General Joe Johnston to withdraw and re-form at Kennesaw Mountain.

 

June 19

Fighting begins at Kennesaw Mountain.

 

June 22

The Battle of Kolb Farm began on June 22. Confederate General Hood attacked at Kolb Farm, halting Sherman's attempt to bypass Kennesaw to push to Atlanta. The Kolb Farm cabin stands at the corner of Powder Springs Street and Cheatham Hill/Callaway Road, Marietta.

 

June 27

The worst fighting of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was at Cheatham Hill. Federal General George Thomas was repulsed in a bloody attack on the center of the Confederate Line at Cheatham Hill. Both sides of the conflict nicknamed the battlefield the "Dead Angle".

 

July 2

Confederate General Joe Johnston began withdrawing Confederate troops from Marietta to Smyrna after Union General McPherson moved to outflank him. Equipment and supplies belonging to the Confederate army was sent to Smyrna at all speed.

 

July 3

As the remaining residents of Marietta attended church services, the Union Army began its occupation of Marietta. By 8:30 AM, General Sherman himself was in the square watching as his canvas-topped wagons lumbered around the park (presently Glover Park). The Union army would occupy every building for use as hospitals, storage and lodging.

Union General Thompson established his headquarters for the Army of the Cumberland at the Georgia Military Institute (on the site of the present Marietta Conference Center). General Sherman established his headquarters at the Kennesaw House as he ordered a garrison (field headquarters) for the city of Marietta. Meanwhile Generals Thompson and Sherman would continue their pursuit of the Southern army by continuing to advance toward Smyrna.

 

July 4

The confederate line was now about six miles long, stretching from Nickajack Creek, through Smyrna, to Rottenwood Creek. The battle of Smyrna Camp Ground began at 11 a. m. on July 4. Sherman's goal in this battle, was only to hold the Confederates until Generals McPherson and Schofield could get into position below him at the Chattahoochee crossings. Sherman would later say that he came close to being shot there, and Cobb County legend has it that the general suffered a complete demolishment of his hat.

 

July 5

General Johnston lead the Confederate army to fallback from Smyrna to take positions at a place already prepared at the Chattahoochee River including entrenchments that extended for five or six miles. By the afternoon the Union Army had marched through Smyrna and taken complete possession of Vinnings.

 

July 6

Union Brig. General Kenner Garrad's cavalry left Smyrna and headed to Roswell, Ga. Roswell was important to Sherman for two reasons: Roswell was a strategic place for part of his flanking movement, and it contained an important mill, Roswell Factory. That afternoon he camped on Willeo Creek, with his advance troops at Roswell Factory. He also sent a regiment to Sope's Creek and burned paper mills, machine shops and flour mills.

 

July 7

Garrard's Cavalry destroyed the woolen and cotton factories at Roswell. After reporting the results to Sherman, Garrard is ordered to arrest all 400 of the women employed at the cotton factory and march them to Marietta.

 

July 9

Sherman reports to General Halleck his intention of sending all owners, agents, and employees "tainted with treason" to Indiana "to get rid of them there". At the same time he telegraphs General Webster in Nashville that he would send the operatives of both the Sweetwater and Roswell factories North and when they reached Nashville "have them sent across the Ohio River and turned loose to earn a living where they won't do us any harm".

On the same day, General Johnston is forced with a decision to attack, or cross the Chattahoochee River. On the night of January 9, Johnston crossed the river with his army, burning the pontoon, railroad and dirt-road bridges after he crossed. Cobb County was now completely occupied by the Union Army.

 

July 15

Two trainloads of arrested factory workers were sent north to Nashville, TN. They were given nine days' worth of supplies and rations upon their departure.

 

August

Small bands of Confederate cavalry were cutting telegraph wires and attempting to disrupt the railroads. The garrisons in Cobb County were put on alert, especially at Marietta where large stores of Union supplies were being kept.

 

September

The Federal Army occupied Atlanta in early September. The activity around Marietta was heightened when Sherman ordered the Union supply stores moved from Marietta to Atlanta.

On September 29, Confederate General Hood began a campaign to scatter the Union army. He crossed the Chattahoochee River south of Cobb County and moved toward Lost Mountain. In the meantime, preparations were being made by Northern forces in Cobb County to meet the advance of the Confederates.

 

October 3

Sherman was in Cobb County again and watched the Battle of Alatoona from Kennesaw Mountain. Federal troops were spread out all over Cobb County.

 

October 6

After several days of skirmishing, General Hood retreats to Dallas, Georgia and then eventually into Alabama, with the Federal army in pursuit.

 

Nov 1

Sherman decides not to pursue Hood's army any further and returns to Georgia to make his final preparations to move through Georgia. Cobb County saw the effects of Sherman's preparation and troops moved in and out, as well as the cavalry being mustered in Marietta.

 

Nov 3

Sherman orders the evacuations of hospitals, taking the wounded and all unnecessary equipment to the rear of the army. Sherman's goal was to have his army ready for his march through Georgia.

 

Nov 12

The evacuation of Marietta was completed and Sherman began to destroy the railroads behind him.

 

Nov 13

The Union army set fire to the buildings around Marietta Square.

 

Nov 15

The last remnants of the Union army file out of Marietta. The town is in ruins. There is no communication with the outside world, no trains, no mail, no telegraph. The graves of soldiers from both side of the conflict also remained among the acrid smoke of hundreds of burning buildings.