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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 UNION DISPOSITIONS

While the 15th Corps was feeling its way south through the densely wooded country behind Blair’s right, increasing resistance by Confederate cavalry skirmishers (dismounted), and ocasional artillery fire, warned Howard of impending battle. He had not expected that his shift to the riught would proceed undetected, and he was aware that it was vital to the security of Atlanta that the railroads which supplied its defenders should be held. Convinced that Hood would strike again, despite his costly failures at Peachtree Creek and East Atlanta, he ordered Logan to extend to the right and deploy his three divisions on what would shortly be the battle line. Although stubbornly resisted, the deployment was completed without delay. On the extreme right, Lightburn’s brigade, of M.L. Smith’s division, drove enemy skirmishers from the ridge northwest of the (later) sanitarium and established a strong right flank. On Lightburn’s left, Martin’s brigade extended the line southeast to connect with Williams’ brigade, of Harrow’s division, near Westlake Avenue. Williams’ left connected with Oliver’s right on the school grounds. Oliver’s left extended to the tip of the salient. Walcutt’s brigade, perpendicular to Oliver’s line, occupied the southeast face of the salient. On Walcutt’s (Harrow’s) left, Wangelin’s, Williamson’s and Milo Smith’s brigades, of Woods’ division, extended the line northeast to connect with the right of Blair’s corps, north of the railroad. Ezra Church, the little Methodist chapel from which the battle took its name, stood behind Wangelin’s line. Skirmishers were thrownb out and all along Logan’s front officers and men worked desperately to cover their lines with logs and rails. Some of Wangelin’s men took the benches from Ezra Church and filled them with knapsacks to serve as breastworks. Although the line northwest of Mozley and Racine was on low ground, both Oliver’s and Walcutt’s men at the salient, Williams’ on the school site, and Lightburn’s and Martin’s on the sanitarium grounds were on commanding ridges which they quickly made strong. They were none too soon. About noon, the first Confederate attack struck the right of Logan’s position. Earlier, Sherman had arrived. From the ridge occupied by Lightburn’s men, enemy activities convinced him, too, that Hood intended a third attack. Satisfied with Howard’s dispositions, he rode back to his headquarters to arrange to send reinforcements forward should they become needed.

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