Photograph of George Henry Thomas.

Major General George Thomas commanded Union forces at the inconclusive Battle of Crow Valley during the Atlanta Campaign. [Library of Congress]

Battle of Crow Valley

February 25, 1864

On February 25, 1864, Union soldiers commanded by Major General George H. Thomas failed to dislodge heavily fortified Confederate forces near Dalton, Georgia during the Battle of Crow Valley prior to the start of the Atlanta Campaign.

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Prelude

Breakout from Chattanooga

In September 1863, Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee attempted to recapture Chattanooga, Tennessee, from federal forces by besieging the city. Union leaders responded by sending Major General Ulysses S. Grant and reinforcements to Chattanooga with orders to break the siege. After establishing a new supply line into the city, Grant executed a breakout offensive in late November that successfully drove Bragg’s army back into northern Georgia.

Meridian Campaign

Following the breakout from Chattanooga, Grant sent Major General William T. Sherman with 25,000 soldiers to break Confederate General James Longstreet’s siege of Knoxville. After driving Longstreet away from Knoxville, Sherman returned to Ohio, where he spent Christmas with his family. In February, he traveled to Vicksburg, where he began a campaign against General Leonidas Polk’s troops at Meridian, Mississippi. Confederate President Jefferson Davis countered Sherman’s threat against Meridian by ordering General Joseph Johnston, who had replaced Bragg, to send troops to reinforce Polk.

Skirmishing Near Rocky Face Ridge

When Grant learned that Johnston’s Davis had weakened Johnston’s force in Georgia, he ordered Major General George Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, to probe Johnston’s depleted defenses at Rocky Face Ridge, near Dalton, on February 22, 1864. The Federals enjoyed some success in the early skirmishing, but Thomas found Johnston’s position to be strong. On February 25, Union soldiers attempted to seize a heavily fortified gap through Rocky Face Ridge near Dalton, but the Rebels drove them back. The Confederate defenders also repelled a simultaneous Yankee assault from Crow Valley. When Polk withdrew from Meridian, Johnston’s soldiers returned to Dalton. Facing a larger foe, Thomas withdrew from the area on February 27.

Aftermath

Results of the relatively minor Battle of Crow Valley were inconclusive. The Union suffered 345 casualties (killed, wounded, captured/missing) and the Confederacy lost 260 men.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Crow Valley
  • Coverage February 25, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords battle of crow valley, battle of dalton i, american civil war, george thomas, joseph e. johnston
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 30, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 2, 2021
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