May of 1864, three Union Armies under the leadership of General William T. Sherman began moving south from Chattanooga, TN, to capture Atlanta.
[ share ]
His advance to Atlanta was delayed two weeks by fierce fighting at Kennesaw Mountain, culminating with a major battle on June 27.
On July 3, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreated south from Kennesaw to pre-constructed trenches on the Chattahoochee River, known as the River Line. Sherman’s troops came into Marietta on July 3. He briefly established his headquarters at the Kennesaw House Hotel, before leaving to pursue Johnston to the River Line. Sherman knew that a direct assault on these Confederate defenses would be too costly in human lives, so he sent 4,000 mounted men twelve miles upriver to out-flank the Confederate Army. This flanking column was under the command of Union General Kenner Garrard. His mission was to capture the covered bridge at Roswell, therefore gaining a crossing point to threaten the Confederate position downstream.
Union Troops arrived in Roswell from Marietta on July 5th.
July 6, the Union army destroyed the Roswell Manufacturing Company. The sheeting from the Roswell Cotton Mill was taken to Marietta to be used in the field hospitals that were being set up under Union control.
July 10, the Roswell mill workers were sent by wagon to Marietta. There they were placed at the Georgia Military Academy. On the 15th of July, they were marched to the train station and sent by train to the north.
From July 13 – 17, Union Army crossed at Roswell. Roswell was occupied by approximately 31,000 troops during July of 1864.
On July 22, the Union Army engaged with the Confederate Army in the Battle of Atlanta.
The fighting at the Shallow ford on July 9, 1864 involved the Spencer repeating rifle by Union forces. This was the first time in U.S. history a rifle was used successfully under water during armed conflict.