Panel 2 - Battle of Smyrna

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Battle of Smyrna / PDF of Panel 2
At the outset of the Atlanta campaign, both sides foresaw that advance and retreat would be along the Western and Atlantic Railroad that ran through Smyrna.

Throughout the campaign, Confederates systematically destroyed railroad tracks as they retreated, but Union troops replaced ties and rails almost as fast as they advanced.

The railroad was critical to both armies. It extended 473 miles from Sherman’s supply base at Nashville to Chattanooga and then directly to Atlanta.
   At the time, much of Georgia was a wilderness connected only with poorly constructed dirt roads that turned into muddy quagmires with each rain, making control of the railroad vitally important.

The Battle

  • June 27, 1864 (Kennesaw Mountain) – After costly Federal assaults at the Kennesaw Mountain Line, Sherman reverted to his effective flanking maneuvers.
  • July 2, 1864 – General Johnston ordered that the Confederates abandon the Kennesaw Line and fall back to partially prepared earth works at Smyrna.
  • July 4, 1864 (Smyrna) – Sherman’s forces closed on the entrenched Confederates.
    Two localized Federal Infantry assaults, one against the Confederate center and the other in the vicinity of Ruff’s Mill failed to achieve significant results.
       While the Federals did not break through, two divisions of the Seventeenth Corps. Advanced south from the Mable House to Widow Mitchell’s house, where they turned east and drove back an outnumbered Confederate force of two cavalry brigades under General “Red” Jackson and General G. W. Smith’s division of the Georgia Militia.
  • July 4-5, 1864 (Chattahoochee Line) – Upon learning of these movements, Johnston ordered a retreat to the well-prepared Chattahoochee Line.

Items on display at City Hall:

  • U.S. Model 1858 Canteen
  • U.S. Cavalry Carbine Sling Buckle
  • U.S. Belt Buckle
  • U.S. Eagle Shoulder Plate – Worn on the cartridge box strap, decorative only, usually discarded by combat veterans
  • U.S. Hotchkiss Artillery Shell for 3-inch Ordnance Rifle
  • Confederate 3-inch Reed Artillery Shell for Rifled Artillery
  • U.S. Schenkl Artillery Shell for Rifled Artillery
  • 12-Pound Solid Shot for Smoothbore Cannon
  • Leather Belt with U.S. Belt Buckle
  • Leather Cartridge Box
  • Leather Burnside Cartridge Box
  • Sheet Iron Cartridge Box Liner
  • Leather Percussion Cap Box
  • Percussion Caps
  • .52 Spencer Carbine Cartridge
  • Brass Artillery Friction Primer
  • Artillery Sponge Bucket
  • Artillery Rope Lanyard – Attached to friction primers and pulled to fire cannon
  • .58 caliber U.S. Model 1861 Springfield Rifle
  • .50 Caliber U.S. Smith Carbine – Fourth most issued Federal cavalry arm, widely used during the Atlanta campaign
  • Artillery Rammer-and-Sponge – For loading cannon and swabbing bore after firing
  • Artillery Worm – For removing unfired cartridges
  • Model 1840 Light Cavalry Saber – Privately purchased officer model, marked “TIFFANY & CO. NEW-YORK”
  • Enfield Pattern Bayonet

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