The Battles of Dalton–Chapter 1 of the 1864 Georgia Campaign

A 2020 BGES Weekend Warrior Program

With Robert Jenkins

April 21-23, 2021, from Dalton, GA

Dug Gap
Battle of Dug Gap
Drawn May 8, 1864. Alfred R. Waud. Courtesy Library of Congress

For many years, the pivotal Atlanta Campaign has been presented in the shadow of the great eastern showdown between Grant and Lee, yet the capture of Atlanta is widely regarded as the final nail in the Confederacy’s coffin. It provided the national morale lift needed to propel Lincoln to be the first president to be reelected since Andrew Jackson. Several notable historians have undertaken campaign studies, but none has shown more fresh scholarship than Dalton attorney Robert Jenkins.

The opening of the campaign sets the tone for the four months that follow. The terrain is daunting and the challenges each commander faced were real and thought-provoking, which demanded dramatic and decisive action to maintain the relative security of their forces. This may prove one of the most important and enjoyable studies in this multi-year program.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

6:00 PM. We will meet at the headquarters hotel to pick up maps and to meet and greet your fellow students at a reception with adult beverages. Bob will follow with an opening discussion overviewing the Georgia Campaign, the strategies of each side, the significance of the campaign, and the challenges faced by army commanders William Sherman and Joe Johnston. We will break so you can have dinner on your own.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

8:30 AM. We head out this morning near Tunnel Hill for Sherman’s Headquarters between May 8 and 12, 1864. As we survey Sherman’s order of battle, we will move to Blue Mountain, which was his field headquarters. From there it is into the Crow Valley, where the Confederate forces were deployed in the winter of 1864. This tip of the spear was Johnston’s face against Sherman’s army group of three armies. We will finish our work there discussing Johnston’s review of the his new command in the winter of ’64. We then return to Johnston’s headquarters at the Huff House and discuss the controversy in Dalton, where we will have lunch.

Following lunch, we will head to Mill Creek, setting up and fighting the battle of Dug Gap on May 8, 1864. This afternoon will involve perhaps three hours walking as opposed to just standing at interpretative stops. The scenery is stunning, and the terrain intimidating. If you are a Confederate, you feel pretty good about your positions. If you are Geary’s Division, this is a challenge unlike many you have seen at any time in the Civil War. It’s simply a great day that sets the table for the special opportunities you will experience on Sunday. Lunch is included, but dinner is on your own.

Friday, November 23, 2021

8:30 AM. We head for the crest of Rocky Face Ridge, where we will spend the morning. We will hike the spine of the ridge as we study the multiple and various types of Confederate earthworks, trenches, rock walls, batteries and signal stations. It is hard to believe, but this was the scene of a battle as well, on May 9, as Harker’s Federals ascended the ridge and attacked Pettus’ Alabamians. Of the many special things we have done over the years, this ranks in the top five. Very few Civil War students will ever get to see what you and those soldiers experienced. After lunch at the Buckin’ Burrito in Dalton, we will see the Dalton Depot and Fort Hill before heading back to the north of Dalton to address operations and life in Crow Valley and Potato Hill.

While there, we will discuss the winter of 1863–1864 at the Hamilton House near Mt. Rachel. Then it is off to the new addition at the Rocky Face Ridge/Crow Valley Battlefield Park at Grant’s Farm, the site of fighting in both February and May 1864. Not to be overlooked are Cummings Georgia Brigade earthworks, a twelve-gun battery site, and Mercer’s Brigade and Van der Corput’s Battery near Poplar Springs Baptist Church. We will end the day visiting sites along Potato Hill and Battleline Drive, with Waltham’s Mississippi Brigade. As with Saturday, you will get a chance to walk off your lunch, as we will be walking extensive lines with detailed interpretation for at least three hours. Lunch is included. We will finish by 5 PM and return to the hotel.

Chapter 2 in the series is April 23-25, 2021, from Dalton. Click here to see that program and plan to do the series with Bob!

About the Faculty

Bob Jenkins is a practicing attorney in Dalton, Georgia. An active preservationist, he has played a significant role in expanding the story of the prelims of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign, which you will see on this program. He has completed two outstanding books on the campaign: The Battle of Peachtree Creek: Hood’s First Sortie, July 20, 1864 (2014) and To the Gates of Atlanta: From Kennesaw Mountain to Peachtree Creek, 1-19 July 1864 (2015). Bob is an animated and detailed interpreter, and you will be regaled with new and thought-provoking information and stunning vistas.

Hotel Information

This program will be based in Dalton, Georgia, and the hotel will be announced on this site. A block of rooms will be established.


The servicing airport is Chattanooga (CHA). Atlanta (ATL) is perhaps 85 miles south, and Nashville (BNA) is another possibility, both of which have excellent airfares. In every instance you would need a rental car. For people driving in, the hotel will be convenient to Interstate 75.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with maps upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.

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Registration Type

To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: The Battles of Dalton

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