DALTON, Ga., Military Operations at (23-25 Feb. 1864, and 8-12 May 1864, including engagements at Buzzard's Roost Gap, Dug Gap, Rocky Face Ridge and Varnell Station). Dal ton is in the northwestern part of Georgia, where the Chattanooga and Atlanta Railroad is intersected by that from Cleveland, Tenn. By rail it is 38 miles southeast of Chattanooga.
When General Bragg was supposed definitely to have abandoned Chattanooga, 9 Sept. 1863, Gen eral Halleck ordered General Rosecrans to occupy Dalton, and there Bragg retreated after his defeat at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, 24-25 Nov. 1863. In February 1864 Gen eral Grant ordered General Thomas to seize the town. Thomas moved, reported that he could not carry the position, and the effort was aban doned. His movement cost the Union army about 300 killed and wounded, and the Con federates about 200.
Dalton, the first objective point of Sherman's Atlanta campaign, was held 30 April 1864, by Gen. J. E. Johnston, with 54,400 men. The ap proaches to the place were difficult, and it was practically impregnable. Early in May, Sherman concentrated his grand army in and around Chattanooga for his Atlanta campaign. It was made up of the armies of the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio, commanded respectively by Gens. Geo. H. Thomas, J. B. McPherson and J. M. Schofield, aggregating 98,797 men and 254 guns. The Army of the Cumberland had about 60,000 men, the Army of the Tennessee 25,000, and the Army of the Ohio 14,000. On 6 May the Army of the Cumberland was at and near Ringgold, the Army of the Tennessee at Gordon's Mill, on the Chickamauga, and the Army of the Ohio near Red Clay, on the Georgia line, north of Dalton. The four corps of Thomas and Schofield were ordered to move on Dalton in front, while McPherson with two corps moved through Snake Creek Gap. On the 7th McPherson was ordered to march from Gordon's Mills through the Gap to Resaca, 18 miles south of Dalton. He marched by way of Ship's Gap and Villanow, pushed through Snake Creek Gap, a wild defile, nearly six miles long, 15 miles south of Buzzard's Roost, and on the morning of the 9th drove back Grigsby's Kentucky cavalry brigade, and marched to within a mile of Resaca, then held by two brigades under General Cantey. Finding the place too strong to be assaulted, McPherson fell back to a strong position at the east end of the Gap. Meanwhile Thomas and Schofield had
pressed forward. Thomas drove the Con federates in his front full through Buzzard's Roost Gap, and Schofield closed down on Thomas' left. On the 8th there was heavy skir mishing between Thomas and the Confederate divisions of Stewart and Bate at Buzzard's Roost and about six miles farther south a deter mined assault.
The road from Lafayette to Dalton passes through a cleft in thepalisade, which had been deepened and widened, hence known as Dug Gap. Geary's division attacked this gap. Skir mishers were thrown out who drove those of the enemy from the foot of the ridge and up the road nearly to the summit, when two bn gades were formed in double lines on either side of the road. The Confederates were driven clear to the summit. The position of the Gap could not be carried, and an assault on the per pendicular palisade south of it was ordered, where it was broken by a few clefts through which four or five men could move abreast. The men charged, a few reached the summit, to be killed or captured, and the assault failed. After a short breathing-spell another effort was re pulsed with much loss. Still another attempt was made by a single regiment, but it also failed.
Everywhere the assault was repulsed, and the Federals withdrew after a loss of 306 killed and wounded, and 51 captured or missing. It is doubtful if the Confederate loss exceeded 30 men. At Varnell's Station Stoneman's and Wheeler's cavalry divisions bad an engagement in which the loss was about 150 on each side, and Thomas pressed so vigorously in front of Buzzard's Roost that the heavy skirmishing at tained the dimensions of a battle. By the Ilth Sherman moved his army to pass through. Snake Creek Gap. On the evening of the 12th Johnston was fully informed of the movement toward his rear, which had been covered by the ridge and the forests of the country, and he abandoned his position that night to give Sher man battle at Resaca. On the morning of the 13th Howard occupied Dalton. The Union loss around Dalton, 7-12 May, was about 830 IdUed and wounded; the Confederate loss not more than half that number. Consult