Reenactment of the Battle of Resaca
Third Weekend in May
On the actual battle site in Resaca, GA
Saturday and Sunday
The Battle of Resaca reenactment starts Saturday morning at the Thurman Chitwood farm in Resaca. The reenactors will be camping in the style of the day. Visitors are encouraged to tour the encampment and to talk with the soldiers. There are various other related activities on Saturday in Resaca, and on Sunday, the actual battle gets underway at 1:30 p.m. The Confederate Cemetery is nearby, and is the site of a memorial service on Saturday.
Resaca, Georgia is located in northwest Georgia, some 45 miles south of the Georgia/Tennessee state line. Exit I-75 at exit 320 and follow the signs leading to the Battlefield. This event is sponsored by the City of Resaca, Georgia, Gordon County Historical Society, and the Gordon County Convention of Visitors. For more information call (706)625-3200.
Editers Note Regarding Event 2023:
Here is Link to website: http://www.georgiadivision.org/bor_reenactment.html
For more information about the annual Battle of Resaca Reenactment, please contact us by e-mail at:
Or you may write to us at:
Battle of Resaca Reenactment
P.O. Box 919
Resaca, Georgia 30735-0919
Event Sutler Coordinator
For more information regarding Sutler registration, please contact the event sutler coordinator:
Mr. Chuck Johnson
Rum Creek Sutler
2695 Emerald Drive
Jonesboro, GA 30236
History of the Battle of Resaca, Georgia
As distributed by the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce
The Battle of Resaca was the first major engagement of the campaign for Atlanta.
During the winter of 1863-64. the Confederate Army of Tennessee had occupied Dalton, to which point it had retreated following the Battle of Missionary Ridge. On December 27th, General Joseph E. Johnston, West Point classmate and life-time friend of General Robert E. Lee, assumed command. Although he found the troops in poor condition, by May 1st he had brought them back to excellent fighting condition. Their total strength on that date was 63,777, of which 43,887 were listed as “effective.”
Johnston’s position at Dalton was strong in front, but Snake Creek Gap, six miles west of Resaca, opened a way to his rear. Since the gap is actually a narrow valley some six miles long. It would not be defended by any force which Johnston could spare for that purpose. Assuming that the Gap would be used in an attempt to trap him, he prepared defensive positions at Resaca into which he could move quickly to protect the railroad – his army’s lifeline over which all his supplies were sent from Atlanta.
On May 5th, Major General William T. Sherman moved against him with a force of 98,797 officers and men and 254 guns. Johnston’s artillery totaled 184 guns.
As Johnston had anticipated, Sherman demonstrated against Dalton with part of his army while he sent Major General James B. McPherson drew back without any damage to the railroad. Sherman immediately began to pass his whole army through the Gap with the exception of the 4th Army Corps, which was left to hold Johnston’s attention. Before Sherman could assemble his forces facing Resaca and move them forward, Johnston dropped back into his prepared line north and west of the town.
Sherman drove the defenders from the hills along the west side of Camp Creek. Next day an attack on the Confederate line at the Burns Farm, at the forks of Camp Creek, was repulsed with heavy losses. That afternoon, Johnston countered with an attack on the Union left, east of present day U.S. Highway 41. This attack rolled back the Union lines, but the arrival of Hookers corps save it from destruction.
On the 15th, an assault on the Confederate left captured the high ground east of Camp Creek and south of the road from Snake Creek Gap. This gave Sherman an excellent position from which to shell the bridges over the Oostanaula River. Several other assaults failed, save for one minor exception. A Confederate battery east of U.S. 41 was pushed too far forward and had to be abandoned.
That evening Johnston learned the Sherman was passing a division across the river at Lay’s Ferry below Calhoun. He hoped thus to cut the railroad behind him. During the night he withdrew his army safely and retired to Calhoun. Until this flank movement forced the Confederated to retreat, they had been holding Resaca successfully.
Union losses and losses of the Confederate Army of Tennessee were approximately the same – 3,000 casualties for each.
Published in U S Legacies Magazine March 2004