Joseph Eggleston Johnston (American National Biography)

Craig L. Symonds, "Johnston, Joseph Eggleston," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Johnston's defense of North Georgia in the spring and summer of 1864 is the most controversial aspect of his career. Because Johnston was heavily outnumbered by the three armies of Major General William Tecumseh Sherman (who had 100,000 men to Johnston's 60,000), Sherman was able to maneuver him out of position after position: from Rocky Face Ridge in North Georgia, to Resaca, to Allatoona, and to Kennesaw Mountain west of Marietta. Each time, Sherman was able to hold Johnston's army in position with superior forces and send a flanking column to threaten the Confederate left. Each time, Johnston responded by abandoning his position and hurrying southward to interpose his forces once again in front of Sherman--but of course he had to surrender territory to do so. Engagements were fought at Resaca (13-15 May), New Hope Church (26-28 May), and Kennesaw Mountain (27 June). Though Johnston held his own in each, he was unable to inflict the kind of defeat that would drive Sherman from Georgia.

In Richmond, Davis grew increasingly concerned that Johnston was giving up so much territory. As a result of his retrograde movements, the Yankees had occupied Rome, Georgia, an important industrial town, and Johnston seemed unwilling to launch a serious counterattack. By the second week of July, Davis sent Braxton Bragg to Atlanta to inquire about Johnston's future plans. Unsatisfied with Johnston's response, Davis ordered him relieved and appointed John Bell Hood to command the army (17 July 1864).
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