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The Battle of Kolb's Farm
June 22, 1864 in Cobb County, Georgia
On the night of June 18-19, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, fearing envelopment, moved his army to a new, previously selected position astride Kennesaw Mountain, an entrenched arc-shaped line to the west of Marietta, to protect his supply line, the Western & Atlantic Railroad. Having encountered entrenched Rebels astride Kennesaw Mountain stretching southward, Sherman fixed them in front and extended his right wing to envelop their flank and menace the railroad.
On the 21st, Johnston countered by shifting the 11,000 men of Gen. Hood's Corps from the right flank to Mount Zion Church on the left. Gen. Wheeler's cavalry, along with soldiers commanded by Gen. Loring who extended to the right, held the vacated entrenchments confronting Gen. McPherson's infantry. Hood deployed astride the Powder Springs Road near Kolb's Farm.
On the 22nd, Johnston countered by moving John B. Hood's corps from the left flank to the right. Hood received word that the Union forces were driving back Confederate cavalry and decided to attack. Warned of Hood's intentions, Maj. Gens. John Schofield and Joseph Hooker entrenched. Hood assumed that Sherman's forces would be the strongest on his center and left flank, and that only part of Schofield's corps would be on his right. Without informing Johnston of his plans; without knowing the enemy's strength or position, blinded by eagerness and once again following the school of thought of Lee and Jackson, ordered his troops forward. His plan, it is assumed, was to turn Sherman's weak right flank, and circle behind Sherman, thus having Johnston's other two corps on Sherman's front, and he, with his corps at the rear, trapping Sherman.
Around noon, Stevenson started moving troops down Powder Springs Road, halting at Mount Zion Church. The rain had stopped, the sun came out brightly and Stevenson, upon the orders from Hood, sent forth his skirmishers. Shortly after 2:30 P.M. in the afternoon, these skirmishers came upon 2 Union regiments advancing. Heavy firing from these skirmishers forced the enemy back. This was reported to Hood who thought that these Union units were the spearhead of an assault. Stevenson had Brown's and Cummings Brigades form a frontal line with Reynold's and Pettus' Brigades behind them. Constructing hastily breast-works of logs and rails, Stevenson's troops waited for the enemy to come upon them. Within a short time, Hood sent word to Stevenson and Hindman to advance and drive the enemy down the road towards Manning's Mill. In launching this attack, Hood did so without conducting any prior reconnaissance and was not aware what exactly was in front of him. In reality, Schofield's Army of the Ohio and Hooker's XXth Corps, and it was not their exposed flank but their entrenched front that lay across his line of advance.
Even with all this information, Stevenson ordered Brown's Brigade to move southeast from Powder Springs Road towards Kolb's Farm. At the same time, Cumming's Georgia Brigade moved southeast from the south side of the Powder Springs Road towards Kolb's Farm. Upon reaching the farm house area they came head to head with 2 Union regiments. Heavy fighting ensued, both by musketry and Federal cannonading. Cumming's and Pettus' Brigades were repulsed from the massive firepower of the Federals. Hood ordered them to re-form and attack again. They were again repulsed with heavy losses, but he rallied them and ordered them forward yet again, with the same result. The ground that these two brigades had moved over and fought on, was in reality a quagmire of mud from the rain it had received the two previous weeks. Footing was difficult; movement of trains and batteries, a near impossibility in their march to the farmhouse.
The 2 left brigades, Brown's and Reynold's, were a little luckier. They fought primarily against the 123rd New York a little north of Powder Springs Road. Here they had dense undergrowth and footing was a little better. They were successful in driving the enemy in confusion and disorder through the woods. Darkness finally ended what became known as the Battle of Kolb's Farm with Brown's and Reynold's Brigades laying in a swampy ravine, and Cumming's and Pettus's Brigades holding the road to the left.
Hood claimed a victory in driving back the Union troops to their reserve line and was on the verge of routing Hooker's whole corps, and was only stopped by darkness and the arrival of Federal reinforcements. The fact is, the Confederate forces only opposed and drove back two Union regiments to their main line. Union artillery and swampy terrain thwarted Hood's attack and forced him to withdraw with costly casualties. Although the victor, Sherman's attempts at envelopment had momentarily failed.