1. On May 19, 1864, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston tricked Union General William T. Sherman into dividing his forces at Adairsville and sending the XXIII corps under John M. Schofield across the Gravelly Plateau to Cassville.
2. Johnston placed Leonidas Polk's corps behind Two Run Creek northwest of Cassville to oppose Schofield in front as he began crossing the creek.
3. Johnston then sent John B. Hood's corps northward along the Spring Place Road, to ambush Schofield in the left flank as he marched from Adairsville.
4. Edward M. McCook's division of union cavalry was sent to threaten the railroad south of Cassville, and accidentally encountered the rear of Hood's column as it marched northward. Hood, believing he was attacked by a much larger force, changed front and faced east, to oppose another possible attack, and was unable to ambush Schofield in accordance with Johnston's plan.
5. When Hood's ambush failed, Johnston retired the army to a strong position on a ridge east of Cassville and prepared to give battle. But on the evening of May 19, corps commanders Hood and Polk informed Johnston they felt the position untenable and urged him to withdraw.
6. Johnston later wrote, "although the position was the best we had occupied, I therefore yielded and the army crossed the Etowah River on the 20th - a step I have regretted ever since."