Dallas, GA – May 25, 1864.
Union Units Involved: Union Army of the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio under Gen. Sherman
Confederate Units Involved: Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Johnston.
Sherman began his advance on the morning of the 25th. On the right was Gen. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee near Van Wert, 16 miles northwest of Dallas, and moving against that place by the Rome road. In the center was the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. Thomas, advancing on several roads from Burnt Hickory, some 5 or 6 miles northeast of Dallas. It consisted of the 4th, 14th and 20th army corps, respectively commanded by Gens. Howard, Palmer and Hooker. Butterfield’s division of Hooker’s corps, preceded by McCook’s cavalry, moved on the road leading to Golgotha; Geary’s division advanced on the direct road to Dallas, and Williams’ on the right. Palmer’s and Howard’s corps made a detour to the right to strike the Van Wert road 3 or 4 miles from Dallas, thus forming a junction with McPherson. Gen. Schofield, with the Army of the Ohio, was ordered to remain near Burnt Hickory during the day, the only activity on that part of the line being reconnaissances by Stoneman’s cavalry on the roads to the left and front.
Geary’s division reached Pumpkin Vine creek at Owen’s mill to find the bridge on fire. While the men were extinguishing the flames they were fired on from the hill in front. Part of Hooker’s cavalry escort forded the creek, deployed and drove off an outpost of some 25 cavalrymen. The bridge was then soon repaired, the division crossed over and moved in the direction of New Hope Church, the 7th Ohio being deployed as skirmishers. About a mile and a half from the bridge this regiment encountered the Confederates in force.
Candy’s brigade, which was in advance, was deployed in line of battle, advanced at the double-quick and the Confederates was forced back for some distance. The skirmish line was then strengthened and extended by the addition of the 28th Pa., and the rest of the division pressed forward in close support, again forcing the Confederates back for about half a mile and capturing a few prisoners. From these it was learned that the force in front was Hood’s entire corps, and that Hardee was not far off in the direction of -Dallas. As the division was several miles from the nearest supporting troops, Hooker ordered Geary to take position on a ridge and throw up barricades for defense. Hooker had already sent orders to the other two divisions of the corps to move to Geary’s support. They arrived about 4 p. m. and massed their troops, with Williams on the right and Butterfield on the left and rear of Geary. An attack was now ordered to be made in columns by brigades, Williams leading, Butterfield next, and Geary, who had already been engaged for over four hours was held as a reserve. Hooker’s columns thus arranged assaulted Hood’s position repeatedly and endeavored to gain possession of the roads at New Hope Church. Confederate reinforce ments were pouring in, however, and although Hood was forced back to the church his intrenchments there proved too strong to be carried. In the midst of a terrific thunderstorm the fight raged until dark, when the dead and wounded were gathered up and Hooker’s forces retired to the ridge in their rear.
When Sherman heard the firing, soon after Geary crossed the creek at Owen’s mill, he rode to the front and upon learning the situation ordered Howard to bring up his corps to the support of Hooker. Newton’s division arrived about 6 o’clock and took position on the left of Butterficld. By morning the whole corps, with the exception of Baird’s division, which had been left at Burnt Hickory to guard the trains, was on the field and extended the. line still farther to the left. At 5 o’clock that afternoon Schofield re ceived orders to proceed to the front. Leaving Hovey’s division to guard the trains the other two divisions moved forward via Burnt Hickory and Owen’s mill. While riding forward in the darkness to learn the position of troops already on the field and to receive further orders, Schofield was severely hurt by his horse falling into a ditch and the command of the corps was transferred to Brig.-Gen. J. D. Cox.
Source: Rigdon, John. Editor. All the Battles of the Civil War. 2011 Eastern Digital Resources.5705 Sullivan Point Drive. Powder Springs, GA. 30127.