This bend in the Confederate line became the battle's focal point.
At 9 a.m. on June 27, 1864, thousands of yelling, blue-clad soldiers charged across the distant field toward the Tennessee soldiers in these earthworks. As the federals came forward at double time in successive lines, the Confederates raked the enemy with rifle-musket fire.
Despite hundreds of casualties, the federals surged toward this protruding angle in the Confederate defense line. Union Col. Daniel McCook, a brigade commander, fell mortally wounded on the brink of these earthworks while leading his troops. As Federals reached the Southern line, savage hand-to-hand combat broke out.
Confederate Maj. Gen. Frank Cheatham's Tennesseans stubbornly held their line, and those Federals not shot, clubbed down, bayoneted, or captured sought shelter. The Union charge was broken.
"The Dead Angle" (left) drawn by a Confederate participant.
Survivors from both sides named this area "The Dead Angle." Confederate Pvt. Sam Watkins later wrote, "The ground was piled up with one solid mass of dead and wounded Yankees."