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Fulton County Historical Markers

The Battle of Ezra Church

  • Source: Steve Longcrier
  • Marker: The Battle of Ezra Church
  • Location: Mozley Park, Atlanta


The city was encircled by 12 miles of fortifications which Sherman later deemed “unassailable.” Johnston was confident that he could hold Atlanta “forever”, but he did not intend to become besieged. He had watched for a time when Sherman’s wings might be separated beyond mutual support. Now he sensed that the right wing - Maj. Gen. Geo. H. Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland (4th, 14th and 20th corps) - would cross the river north of Atlanta and move south over Peachtree Creek while the left wing - Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee (15th, 16th and 17th corps) - would cross upriver and approach from the east. While they were separated, he planned to smash Thomas at Peachtree Creek, then mass his army against McPherson. To delay McPherson while he defeated Thomas, he posted Hood’s Corps east of Atlanta. Hardee’s and Stewart’s corps remained north of Atlanta to attack Thomas at Peachtree Creek. On the 17th, Johnston announced his plans; but that night he was replaced by Gen. John B. Hood, a far less able commander. As Johnston had foreseen, Thomas moved to cross Peachtree Creek while McPherson crossed upriver (at Roswell) and approached from the east. On the 20th, Hood ordered Hardee and Stewart to attack Thomas. Although their men fought valiantly, without Johnston’s leadership matters became confused. When the Battle of Peachtree Creek ended, Hood had lost 4,796 officers and men, killed, wounded and missing. Thomas had lost but 1,779. On the 21st, McPherson was within artillery range of downtown Atlanta. Leaving Stewart to hold the city, Hood sent Hardee’s Corps southeast of Atlanta where about noon on the 22nd, it struck McPherson’s left. Later, Hood’s Corps attacked McPherson’s right. Both attacks attained temporary successes, but when dark ended the Battle of Atlanta Hood’s reported loss 8,499, the Union loss 3,722. McPherson himself lay among the dead. Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard was assigned to succeed him. Immediately, the Army of the Tennessee was shifted from the left to the right of Sherman’s lines to attempt to cut the railroads near East Point. Before noon on the 28th, Dodge’s 16th and Blair’s 17th corps were in positions along Chappell Road, facing Atlanta. Logan’s 15th Corps, which was to bear the brunt of the fighting, was about to become engaged in the Battle of Ezra Church.