Demonstration at Decatur

Emerging Civil War

Charles C. DoolittleAt 1:30 in the afternoon of October 26th, 1864, Union Colonel Charles C. Doolittle of the 18th Michigan Infantry, the Federal commander of the defenses at Decatur Alabama, observed an alarming sight. Several thousand Confederate soldiers were marching up the Somerville Road and deploying to face his defenses.

Their appearance was not unexpected. Doolittle’s 1,800 man garrison was part of Brigadier General Robert S. Granger’s District of Northern Alabama, tasked with defending the line of the Tennessee River and with protecting Sherman’s supply lines. Since the capture of Atlanta, Confederate General John Bell Hood had been trying to savage those same supply lines in hopes of drawing Sherman back north. Having met with only limited success in North Georgia, Hood now conceived of a more ambitious goal: slip across the Tennessee in Alabama and strike towards Nashville Tennessee. Taking Nashville would do immense damage to Sherman’s logistics, and almost certainly…

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