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Battle of Dalton I

February 22 – February 27, 1864

The Battle of Dalton I was fought in Whitfield County, Georgia from February 22 through February 27, 1864 prior to the start of the Atlanta Campaign.

In September 1863, Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee was attempting to recapture Chattanooga, Tennessee from Federal forces by besieging the city. Union leaders responded by sending Major General Ulysses S, Grant and reinforcements to Chattanooga with designs to break the siege. After establishing a new supply line into the city, Grant ordered a breakout offensive in late November that successfully drove Bragg's army back into northern Georgia.

Following the breakout at Chattanooga, Grant sent Major General William T. Sherman with 25,000 soldiers to relieve Union forces at Knoxville, which was under siege by Confederate General James Longstreet. After helping drive Longstreet away from Knoxville, Sherman returned to Ohio, where he spent Christmas with his family. In February, he traveled to Vicksburg, where he initiated a campaign against General Leonidas Polk’s troops at Meridian, Mississippi. Confederate President Jefferson Davis countered Sherman’s threat against Meridian by ordering General Joseph Johnston, who had replaced Bragg, to send troops to reinforce Polk.

When Grant learned that Johnston’s force in Georgia had been reduced, he ordered Major General George Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, to probe Johnston’s depleted defenses at Rocky Face Ridge, near Dalton, on February 22, 1864. The Federals enjoyed some success in early skirmishing, but Thomas found Johnston’s position to be strong. When Polk withdrew from Meridian, Johnston’s soldiers returned to Dalton. Facing a larger foe, Thomas withdrew from the area on February 27.

Casualties at the Battle of Dalton I were light on both sides. The Union lost fewer than 300 soldiers (killed, wounded, captured, or missing), while the Confederacy lost roughly 140 men. Although Thomas was unable to budge Johnston from his defenses, his reconnaissance proved valuable at the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge in August during the Atlanta Campaign.

Ohio units that participated in the Battle of Dalton I included:

Infantry units:

2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

11th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

24th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

37th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

40th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

52nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

89th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

108th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Cavalry units:

1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

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