Oostanaula River Bridges

Oostanaula River Bridges (HM2N6G)

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N 34° 34.338', W 84° 56.43'

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The Battle of Resaca

— Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail —

The original Western & Atlantic Railroad
bridge over the Oostanaula River at Resaca
dates from 1847. By 1862, two bridges spanned
the river, one for the railroad, the other for a
wagon road to Calhoun six miles south. When
Federal agents led by James J. Andrews stole the
locomotive "General" on April 12, 1862 at Big
Shanty (Kennesaw) and subsequently attempted
to burn the railroad bridge here at Resaca, it
became apparent that several bridges were
vulnerable. For the next two years Governor
Joseph E. Brown stationed Georgia State Line
troops to guard the Resaca railroad bridge
while they trained at nearby Fort Wayne (a.k.a.
Camp Wayne).

In early May 1864, Union Major General
William T. Sherman ordered Major General
James McPherson's army to proceed south
through Snake Creek Gap in order to wreck the
railroad at Resaca. This action would cut the
supply line from Atlanta for Confederate General
Joseph E. Johnston's army located at Dalton.

Only 4,000 Confederates
defended the Oostanaula
River bridges when
McPherson's 23,000 Federals
arrived west of Resaca on
May 9th. Artillery fire from
Fort Wayne contributed to
McPherson's misjudgment
regarding the strength of
Confederate forces and his subsequent decision to
a withdraw his army back to Snake Creek Gap.
This mistake gave Johnston



time to fortify
positions on the hills around Resaca. By May
13th, bode Sherman's combined armies of
approximately 100,000 and Johnston's army of
about 55,000 had arrived. The Battle of Resaca
occurred on May 14& 15, 1864.

Sherman's armies attacked, much of the
Confederate front on the 14th stalling with heavy
Federal losses in Camp Creek Vallen Confederates
countered near Nance Springs, but then stalled
too. A later Federal attack pushed Confederates
from hills overlooking the Oostanaula River
bridges then resisted repeated counterattacks.
Confederate supplies also came across the two
bridges and on a pontoon bridge. Federal advances
brought all three bridges under fire. Sergeant
Walter Clarke of the 63rd Georgia Infantry
Regiment wrote in his journal, "Exposed to heavy
artillery fire while crossing pontoon bridge at
Resaca."
He added later, "A solid shot from the
[Federal] battery struck directly in [the company
to our front], killing two and wounding a third,
not more than ten feet from where I stood."


Another attack and counterattack occurred near
Nance Springs on the 15th resulting in heavy
casualties and the capture of a Confederate four-gun
artillery battery in hand-to-hand combat. Later that
day Johnston confirmed reports of a Federal force
crossing the Oostanaula River in his rear at Lay's
Ferry.



The Confederate army secretly withdrew
overnight spreading straw over the bridges before
marching across undetected then setting them
afire. Sherman's armies extinguished the flames
and used the wagon road bridge to pursue the
Confederates toward Calhoun. Original stones in
the railroad bridge abutments are still visible today.
The Battle of Resaca resulted in about 6,000
casualties with no clear-cut tactical victor. Yet
Sherman's strategy of flanking Johnston's smaller
army forced a Confederate retreat.
Details
HM NumberHM2N6G
Series This marker is part of the series
Tags
Placed ByGeorgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, November 24th, 2019 at 10:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 688920 N 3827541
Decimal Degrees34.57230000, -84.94050000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 34.338', W 84° 56.43'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 34' 20.28" N, 84° 56' 25.8" 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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