One hundred fifty years ago today the most lopsided battle of the Civil War took place at Ezra Church just west of Atlanta. On the afternoon of July 28, 1864 Confederate General John Bell Hood sent General Stephen D. Lee to surprise and intercept the federal army as they moved to capture the rail lines in west Atlanta. But union General Oliver O. Howard anticipated Hood's move and had dug in behind a series of trenches and breastworks made of church logs and pews. Lee made several attacks on the union lines but was turned back. The Confederates lost 3000 men to the Union's 630. Today the battle field is marked by a marker in West View Cemetery and few historical markers around Mozley Park. The park contains five granite markers describing the battle, otherwise the battlefield has been engulfed by neighborhoods of west Atlanta. Enjoy the slideshow (below) of images I made on a recent visit to the site. On the day a visited a ditch witch was digging a trench through the battle site for a fence to be built around the park. I kicked some artifacts from the up-turned dirt but I don't think any of them were battle related.
On this day 150 years ago 30,000 Confederates under General John Bell Hood attempted to drive General Sherman and the Union Army from the east side of Atlanta. The Confederates went at the Federals in seven waves and seven waves were driven back. The most intense fighting happened around Bald Hill where savage hand to hand combat took place. Historians estimate that 4,000 Confederates died that day. The Federal loss was about 2,000. One of those killed was General McPherson- shot dead while riding along the front. McPherson was the highest ranking United States Army commander to die in battle. At the end of the day the Union held and the siege of Atlanta began. Atlanta finally fell on September 1st when Hood evacuated his troops from the city. The next day General Sherman sent a telegram to Washington- “Atlanta is ours, And fairly won.” After hearing the news of the fall of Atlanta war-weary northerners rejoiced and elected President Abraham Lincoln to another term. Enjoy a slideshow of images from the Atlanta Cyclorama below.
Today in a quiet neighborhood just east of metro Atlanta about 20 people gathered in a light rain to remember the highest ranking United States Army commander killed in battle. General James B. McPherson was killed on July 22, 1864 during the battle of Atlanta. Please enjoy the slideshow of the occasion below.
On this day in 1994 the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 began impacting Jupiter. The comet had broken up two years earlier during a close approach to the giant planet and was strung out like a beaded chain of 21 pieces over a distance of 700,00 miles. The pieces were designated with the letters A-W. The largest of the pieces were just over a mile in diameter. They slammed into Jupiter at 140,000 miles per hour. The impact lasted 6 days and was the first event of its kind ever witnessed by people on earth. At left is an animated GIF of images as piece A impacted Jupiter on July 16, 1994. The resulting plume was slightly larger than the diameter of earth. The images were made over a period of 16 minutes by Dr. Kaz Sekiguchi of the South Africa Astronomical Observatory.
On this day in 1864 the Battle of Tupelo was coming to a close. General Sherman, advancing on Atlanta ordered General A.J. Smith to put a stop to Confederate General Forrest’s attacks on his supply lines. Instead of mounting an offense, Smith established a perimeter a mile west of Tupelo at Harrisburg and waited for Forrest to attack. The three day battle was a defensive battle for the Federals. The Confederates attempted a series of assaults on the Federal lines but were turned back each time. Of Smith’s 14,000 men there were 674 casualties. Forrest loses were 1,347 of his 9,500 Confederates.
My great-grandfather John Howard Palmer was six at the time of the battle and he passed down a story that the family could hear the battle from their home in western Marion County, Alabama near the Mississippi State line.
Below is a slide show of photographs that I made during a Battle of Tupelo reenactment in 1997. This was my first reenactment and I was surprised at the quality of the photos after pulling them out of storage where they had been for 17 years. Enjoy the slideshow and GIF
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
He can be reached at email@example.com