Battle of Dug Gap

Battle of Dug Gap (HM2N5H)

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N 34° 44.553', W 85° 0.919'

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Many of them gained the crest, but were met by a tremendous fire..."

— Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail —

In early May 1864 the main advance of Union
Major General William T. Sherman's armies
near Dalton was made toward Snake Creek Gap
to the southwest. To draw
attention away from this
effort other Federal troops
attempted to cross Rocky
Face Ridge at various
passes, including at Dug
Gap. Confederate Colonel
J. Warren Grigsby's cavalry
brigade was ordered to
support a small force already
at Dug Gap. The horsemen dismounted at the
foot of the ridge and "double-quicked to the top,
and none too soon," wrote Confederate Private
Austin Peay, 2nd Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry
Regiment, "for the enemy was swarming up the
(steep) acclivity on the farther side."
In the valley to the
west, Union Brigadier
General John W. Geary's
division was advancing
eastward toward Dug Gap.
He observed, "palisades of
rock impossible to scale and
to be passed only through a
few narrow clefts filled with
loose rocks." Their approach
was observed by the Confederate 1st and 2nd
Regiments, Arkansas Mounted Rifles (fighting
dismounted). Private Robert H. Dacus, 1st
Arkansas, recalled it began
to look like we were going
to have something to do."

"May 8 was on a
Sunday...It was a morning
to make man remember the
goodness of his maker, and
turn his heart with loving
kindness to his fellow-man,"

Union Private Charles
W. McKay, 154th New
York Volunteer Infantry
Regiment. Yet at 3:00 pm
two brigades of General Geary's division
attacked. Artillery kept up a steady fire upon the
ridge, where Confederates were posted thickly
across it. General Geary wrote,
The attack was a most gallant one, officers
and men rushing through the few narrow
apertures or clambering the precipice. Many
of them gained the crest, but were met by a
tremendous fire...and were shot down or
compelled to jump back for their lives.

On the Confederate side, two brigades of
Major General Patrick R. Cleburne's division
were rushed to the gap after heavy firing began.
They dropped their packs and began the ascent.
Yet the best they could manage, wrote Captain
Sebron G. Sneed of the 6th Texas Volunteer
Infantry Regiment, was "the speed of a slow dog
trot." At the crest, Confederate Lieutenant
General William J. Hardee,
who arrived earlier, ran into
the road swinging his cap
and calling "Here are my
fighting Texans!" There was
brief hand-to-hand combat,
and the use of stones
as well as bullets proved
deadly. Ultimately, two
assaults on the crest and
another just south of the
gap all failed.

Federal casualties at Dug
Gap were 357. Confederate
losses were only 58. General
Geary broke off this
diversionary attack after
being informed the main

movement toward Snake Creek Gap
was successful. Private McKay and
Sergeant Stephen Welch began to
withdraw with their regiment. Yet
when a wounded Federal color bearer
was seen lying near the Confederate
palisades they reached him under
heavy fire and carried him off the
field. The color bearer subsequently
died but both rescuers later received
the Medal of Honor.
HM NumberHM2N5H
Series This marker is part of the series
Year Placed2019
Placed ByGeorgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 at 7:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 681683 N 3846287
Decimal Degrees34.74255000, -85.01531667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 44.553', W 85° 0.919'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 44' 33.18" N, 85° 0' 55.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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