The Kennesaw Line: Hell Breaks Loose in Georgia

Emerging Civil War

Sam Watkins Sam Watkins

The focus of General Thomas’s attack was the angle in the Confederate line manned by troops of Gen. Frank Cheatham’s Tennessee Division. Thomas intended to break the line and push on toward Marietta—a move that could rip Johnston’s army in two and spell disaster for the Confederates. The division chosen for the assault was Gen. Jefferson C. Davis’s, which had come through the campaign relatively unscathed in prior battles. The three brigades of the division would attack in a column of regiments, and the brigade that would strike the bend of the angle was that of Col. Dan McCook.

A little after 8 am, the order to advance was given, and the men moved forward toward the imposing heights where the Tennesseans of Gen. George Maney’s Brigade awaited them. In the Confederate trenches watching the assault stood Sam Watkins, arguably the most famous enlisted man of the Civil…

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