Battle of New Hope Church, 25-28 May 1864

The second battle during Sherman’s advance towards Atlanta in 1864 (American Civil War). His Confederate opponent, Joseph Johnston, was happy to trade space for time, waiting for the right moment to attack Sherman’s much larger army. After holding Sherman up for three days at Resaca (13-15 May), he had retreated to Cassville, where on 19 May he thought he had found that moment. Ironically, he had been let down by General John Hood, normally his most aggressive subordinate, who had cancelled the attack after mistaking a Federal cavalry detachment for one of Sherman’s armies.

Johnston pulled further back down the Western and Atlantic Railroad to Allatoona, where he hoped to lay a trap for Sherman. However, Sherman did not advance down the railroad. Instead, he moved his entire army on a flanking movement to the right, aiming at a road junction at Dallas, nearly twenty miles to Johnston’s south west. Fortunately for Johnston, his cavalry scouts discovered the Federal movement, and Johnston was able to use his interior lines to block Sherman’s move at New Hope Church, just to the east of Dallas.

The fighting started late on 25 May, when the Federal advance ran into Hood’s corps, and suffered a bloody repulse. On the following day the Federal troops spent most of their time entrenching, with no more than a little skirmishing. The following day saw some more serious fighting, culminating in another Union repulse, this time on the Confederate right. The next day also saw heavy fighting, this time centred on a Confederate counterattack.

Once again, Sherman used his superior numbers to outflank the Confederate position, this time to the left, where on 1 June Union forces reached Johnston’s original position at Allatoona. Once again Johnston was forced to withdraw in the face of a threat to his rear. His next position was at Kenesaw Mountain, where he was to finally get a battle on his own terms.

 Memoirs, William T. Sherman. One of the classic military auto-biographies, this is a very readable account of Sherman's involvement in the American Civil War, supported by a large number of documents. A valuable, generally impartial work that is of great value to anyone interested in Sherman's role in the war.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 August 2000), Battle of New Hope Church, 25-28 May 1864 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_new_hope_church.html

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