Cover

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Half Title, Series Info, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

The midday sun was at its height on the afternoon of July 20, 1864, as the men of George H. Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland settled into positions south of Peach Tree Creek. The crossing had consumed many hours and was conducted in stages the day before and that morning. Now it was time for some of Thomas’s units ...

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1. To the Chattahoochee

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pp. 1-16

By the middle of July 1864, the Atlanta campaign had stretched into the longest and most grueling military effort in the Civil War’s Western Theater. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman had started from the vicinity of Chattanooga with some 100,000 men organized as an army group. ...

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2. Across the Chattahoochee, July 17–18

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pp. 17-38

Sherman set July 17, a clear and hot day, as the beginning of the last phase of his drive toward Atlanta. Three corps of his army group prepared to move across the Chattahoochee River that day. Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer’s Fourteenth Corps and Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Twentieth Corps, both of Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland, ...

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3. Across Peach Tree Creek, July 19

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pp. 39-57

Much like the day before, July 19 dawned clear and hot. Many Federals continued to believe Atlanta would fall with the current move toward the city, but Sherman did not foresee Thomas taking the place just yet. His idea was that the Army of the Cumberland should cross Peach Tree Creek ...

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4. Preparations for Battle, July 20

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pp. 58-79

With each passing day of Sherman’s operations south of the Chattahoochee, the temperature and humidity continued to climb. Some soldiers remembered July 20 as “intolerably warm, scarcely a breath of air stirring,” while others recalled it as “an intensely hot day.” Clouds obscured the sky at times, but in most ways it was a typical summer day in the Deep South.1 ...

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5. Hardee versus Newton

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pp. 80-102

According to Hood’s plan, Hardee was to lead off the Confederate attack on Thomas’s army that afternoon with an assault by divisions en echelon. By the end of his shift to the right, Hardee found that the right flank of his corps ended up near the valley of Clear Creek. This placed his entire command squarely ...

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6. Featherston versus Ward

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pp. 103-128

Unlike Hardee, Stewart prepared energetically to lead his Army of Mississippi into battle on July 20. He disseminated detailed information about the attack plan, gave inspirational talks to the troops, and injected an air of optimism and opportunity for his command. He would face far tougher odds than Hardee. ...

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7. Scott versus Geary

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pp. 129-148

John W. Geary’s division was already positioned in as good a spot as possible to receive an enemy assault, and soon after Featherston hit Ward’s sector that attack came rolling forward. Having taken post on the Collier Road ridge crest earlier that day, Hooker’s Second Division contained a bit fewer than 3,000 men. ...

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8. O’Neal versus Williams and Reynolds versus McCook

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pp. 149-177

Loring’s troops were in action only a short while before Stewart threw another division of his Army of Mississippi into the attack. Commanded by Maj. Gen. Edward C. Walthall, it fronted Williams’s division and the left end of Palmer’s Fourteenth Corps line. Born in Virginia, Walthall lived most of his life at Holly Springs, Mississippi ...

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9. Rest of Day, July 20

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pp. 178-189

While the Twentieth Corps and elements of the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps battled it out with Hardee and Stewart, the rest of Sherman’s army group continued to advance cautiously along its planned route. Even though within relatively short range of the battle, no one recognized the sound of a heavy fight taking place to the west. ...

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10. Cleaning Up

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pp. 190-212

The battle of Peach Tree Creek left behind a landscape littered with dead, wounded, and the debris dropped by men under extreme pressure of events. The Federals controlled this shattered ground by the end of July 20 and upon them fell the job of cleaning it up. The first order of business was to take care of the human toll of combat and then to secure trophies ...

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11. July 21–22

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pp. 213-232

Beginning on July 21, the men who survived the battle of Peach Tree Creek began a long process of coping in various ways with the experience of combat. For the Federals, the process was largely a joyous celebration that they had been taken by surprise and yet triumphed over Hood’s first attempt to crush Sherman’s advancing army. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 233-246

Union and Confederate observers tended to judge the battle of Peach Tree Creek in clear and decided ways, reflecting a sense that the event had resulted in clear and decided victory or defeat on the tactical and strategic level. Unlike many major battles of the Civil War, the fight that took place on July 20 north of Atlanta ...

Order of Battle

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pp. 247-254

Notes

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pp. 255-302

Bibliography

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pp. 303-320

Index

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pp. 321-329