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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 Confederate Attack, Cont.

Dense woods screened the extent of the Union line until revealed by storms of musketry which swept Brown’s ranks, in front and on the right where Williams’ fire enfiladed Johnston’s exposed flank. On the left, Brantly pierced Lightburn’s line but was beaten off with heavy loss. In the center, oblique fire from Martin’s line decimated Sharp’s regiments, forcing them to retire. On the right, Johnston was wounded. His brigade was unable to advance beyond the first ridge until Manigault’s brigade joined it. Together, they assaulted Martin’s line, only to be forced back by devastating cross fires. After desperate fighting, Brown reformed under fire for a second attack. Again beaten back, he withdrew his shattered division to the first ridge where it remained until relieved by Walthall’s division shortly after 2:30 p.m. Ten minutes after Brown advanced, Gibson had formed his brigade and was with Clayton, conferring with Holtzclaw, who was deploying. Sudden firing brought Gibson galloping back to find that his brigade had been ordered forward by a staff officer. Unsupported, it struck Harrow’s salient and suffered a costly repulse. Baker was ordered forward and the two brigades made repeated attacks on the salient, losing “one-half of their original numbers.” Holtzclaw was moved to the left in reserve and was not engaged. Although Stewart had been sent to follow up Lee’s “success”, he found Lee in desperate straits. Holding Loring in reserve, he ordered Walthall to deploy with Reynolds’ brigade on the right, Cantey’s (O’Neal’s) on the left, and Quarles’ in reserve. About 2:30 p.m., they advanced over ground strewn with Brown’s wounded and dead. Learning the extent of the enemy’s line, Walthall ordered Quarles to form on O’Neal’s left, but still he was overlapped. After Walthall had lost “over one-third” of his men in vain attempts which “double the force could not have accomplished” Stewart ordered Loring to relieve him; but before Loring could move, both he and Stewart were wounded, leaving Walthall in command. Knowing the futility of further attacks, Walthall ordered Loring’s division to remain in place and withdrew his own to join it. The Army of Tennessee had suffered its third costly defeat under Hood’s command. Logan had repulsed “six successive charges”, losing 562 men. Blair and Dodge, who had sent ten regiments to replace men “whose guns had become so heated as to be useless”, lost 45. Hood’s estimated loss was 4,632, almost a third of his force.

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