James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
of artillery, he had ridden over on horseback twenty years before. Apprised by his early recollections that Johnstons position at Allatoona Pass was very strong and would be hard to force, he formed the design of turning it, and to that end left the railroad on May 25, made a circuit to the right and brought on the severe battle of New Hope Church, which accomplished his object, so that when he returned to the railroad he occupied it from Allatoona to Big Shanty in sight of Kenesaw Mountain. For some reason which is not altogether clear, Sherman now departed from his usual strategy and assaulted in front Johnstons almost impregnable position at Kenesaw Mountain, an operation which is admittedly a flaw in this otherwise well-conceived and admirably executed campaign. There is a tradition in the Army of the Cumberland that the decision was spasmodic, adopted in a state of excited restlessness; but if this was indeed Shermans mood it did not preclude a careful preparation for the attack. Although he issued the orders on June 24, the onslaught was not actually made until three days later. The veteran soldiers entered upon the assault with great courage, but, soon discovering that one rifle in the trench was worth five in front of it, they were satisfied that the works could not be carried except by an immense sacrifice of life; with the consent of the division and corps commanders, they abandoned the attempt. Shermans loss was nearly 3000, Johnstons 800.
The battle of Kenesaw Mountain brought to the surface the rooted difference between Shermans and Thomass characters and modes of operation. Sherman thought Thomas slow, with a disposition to act continually on the defensive when the nature of the campaign required that the Union Army should assail not defend. On the other hand the officers of the Army of the Cumberland for the most