The Atlanta Campaign: Volume 1: Dalton to Cassville, May 1-19, 1864

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David A. Powell
Pub Date:
Spring 2024
Hardcover, 6 x 9
15 maps, 20 images, 624 pp.
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About the Book

The Atlanta Campaign in 1864 was second only to Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign in Virginia for scope and drama. Once Grant decided to personally lead the Federal armies in Virginia against Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, he chose William T. Sherman to do the same in Georgia against Joseph E. Johnston and his ill-starred Army of Tennessee. Sherman’s base was Chattanooga, while Johnston’s was Atlanta. The ball opened on May 1, 1864. It would prove a most grueling campaign.

While Grant and Lee grappled one another like wrestlers, Sherman and Johnston parried and feinted like fencers. The outnumbered Johnston eschewed the offensive while hoping to lure Sherman into headlong assaults against fortified lines. Sherman disliked the uncertainty of battle and preferred maneuvering; the blows he struck were careful and measured. When Johnston dug in, Sherman sought his flanks and turned the Confederates out of seemingly impregnable positions in a campaign dubbed “the Red Clay Minuet” by noted Civil War historian Richard M. McMurry.

Contrary to popular belief Sherman did not set out to capture Atlanta. His orders from Grant were to “to move against Johnston’s army, to break it up and to get into the interior of the enemy’s country . . . inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.” No Civil War army could survive long without its logistical base, and Atlanta was also vital to the larger Confederate war effort. As Johnston retreated, Southern fears for the city grew. As Sherman advanced, Northern expectations inexorably increased.

The Atlanta Campaign, Volume 1: Dalton to Cassville, May 1-19, 1864 by award-winning author David Powell relies on a mountain of primary source material and extensive experience with the terrain to examine the battles of Dalton, Resaca, Rome Crossroads, Adairsville, and Cassville—the first phase of the long and momentous campaign. While none of these engagements matched the bloodshed of the Wilderness or Spotsylvania, each witnessed periods of intense fighting. The largest, Resaca, produced more than 8,000 killed, wounded, and missing in just two days. In between these actions the armies skirmished daily in a campaign its participants would recall as the “100 days’ fight.”

Like Powell’s award-winning The Chickamauga Campaign trilogy, this multi-volume study of the campaign for Atlanta breaks new ground and promises to be this generation’s definitive study of one of the most important and fascinating confrontations of the entire Civil War.




David A. Powell is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (1983) with a BA in history. He has published many articles in various magazines, and more than fifteen historical simulations. For the past decade David’s focus has been on the epic battle of Chickamauga, and he is nationally recognized for his tours of that important battlefield. He is the author of many books including The Chickamauga Campaign trilogy, The Maps of Chickamauga, and Failure in the Saddle. He is currently finishing the first of what promises to be a five-volume history of the Atlanta Campaign. David and his wife Anne live with their brace of Bloodhounds in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.