Guide to the Atlanta Campaign

Rocky Face Ridge to Kennesaw Mountain

Jay Luvaas and Harold W. Nelson, eds

Following William T. Sherman's capture of Chattanooga, the Union Army initiated a series of battles and operations that took it from the Tennessee border to the outskirts of Atlanta—with bloody confrontations at places such as Resaca and New Hope Church. Grant had ordered Sherman to penetrate the enemy's interior and inflict "all the damage you can against their War resources," and from the first major engagement at Rocky Face Ridge to the bitter standoff at Kennesaw Mountain, Sherman proceeded to do just that.

This latest in the Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles offers a concise and easy-to-use introduction to Sherman's route, focusing on this first and most critical phase of the Atlanta campaign. The Guide to the Atlanta Campaign leads visitors to all of the pertinent sites—Dug Gap, Adairsville, Pickett's Mill, and more—to help them relive the experiences of battle-hardened troops on the ground. Authors Luvaas and Nelson show respect for both sides of the fighting, but especially convey Sherman's special genius in mastering the logistical challenges that confronted him, moving reinforcements and supplies, and directing diverse offensive actions over immense—and immensely hostile—territory.

“Like previous volumes in the series, this one provides clear directions that will enable readers to easily find locations in north Georgia associated with the campaign. At each stop, they will then find well-selected and well-edited excerpts from primary source documents that give a good sense of what happened in 1864. They will also appreciate the provision of sufficient maps to help them make their way around north Georgia and examine what happened.

—Blue & Gray Magazine

“Well-researched and enlightening, this book facilitates a more personal understanding of the campaign than traditional narratives by taking readers to the ground on which it took place. It also features an impressive compilation of the most valuable primary sources relevant to the campaign. [It] makes a solid addition to the considerable literature available on the subject, and is sure to stand as the definitive guide to the fighting north of Atlanta for years to come.

—Georgia Historical Quarterly
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Like previous guides in the series, this volume helps Civil War enthusiasts vividly envision the actual historical setting. It combines official histories and on-the-scene reports, orders, and letters from commanding officers, and it features specially drawn maps that depict the opposing armies and the terrain in which they fought. It also includes easy-to-follow drive-and-stop maps that guide visitors along and just off Interstate 75, with the stops arranged to present the most important phases of the campaign as it developed. And this book supersedes most previous guides by moving beyond battles to more broadly consider the overall campaign.

The guide culminates with the battle of Kennesaw Mountain (urban growth beyond that battlefield precludes a tour), and also provides full coverage of the operational and strategic decisions that led to Sherman's ultimate victory at Atlanta. It will become an essential traveling companion for visitors to these Civil War sites—and an insightful guide for armchair travelers.

About the Author

Jay Luvaas was a history professor at the U.S. Army History Institute and the U.S. Army War College. Harold W. Nelson, a retired brigadier general, is a former U.S. Army Chief of Military History. Luvaas and Nelson have also coedited series guides to the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg.

Additional Titles in the U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles Series