The Battle of Peach Tree Creek

Hood's First Effort to Save Atlanta

By Earl J. Hess

344 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 19 halftones, 20 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3419-7
    Published: September 2017
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3420-3
    Published: August 2017

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On July 20, 1864, the Civil War struggle for Atlanta reached a pivotal moment. As William T. Sherman’s Union forces came ever nearer the city, the defending Confederate Army of Tennessee replaced its commanding general, removing Joseph E. Johnston and elevating John Bell Hood. This decision stunned and demoralized Confederate troops just when Hood was compelled to take the offensive against the approaching Federals. Attacking northward from Atlanta’s defenses, Hood’s men struck George H. Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland just after it crossed Peach Tree Creek on July 20. Initially taken by surprise, the Federals fought back with spirit and nullified all the advantages the Confederates first enjoyed. As a result, the Federals achieved a remarkable defensive victory.

Offering new and definitive interpretations of the battle’s place within the Atlanta campaign, Earl J. Hess describes how several Confederate regiments and brigades made a pretense of advancing but then stopped partway to the objective and took cover for the rest of the afternoon on July 20. Hess shows that morale played an unusually important role in determining the outcome at Peach Tree Creek--a soured mood among the Confederates and overwhelming confidence among the Federals spelled disaster for one side and victory for the other.

About the Author

Award-winning historian Earl J. Hess is author of many books on Civil War history, including Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man of the Confederacy.
For more information about Earl J. Hess, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“Should be regarded as the new standard history of John Bell Hood’s first battle as defender of Atlanta.”--Civil War Books and Authors

"An exquisitely detailed case study of one of the Confederacy's worst military disasters. Highly recommended for Civil War and military historians, subject enthusiasts, and all libraries."--Library Journal starred review

"Earl Hess is one of our finest Civil War military historians, and he’s done another masterful job in The Battle of Peach Tree Creek. Through impeccable scholarship, Hess not only clearly describes the battle’s tactical history but also places the fight into the larger context of the Atlanta campaign and the Civil War."--A. Wilson Greene, author of The Final Battles of the Petersburg Campaign: Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion

"Once again the amazingly prolific Earl Hess has demonstrated that important new insights truly can be learned by thorough study of the great battles of the Civil War. Never one to shy from controversy, Hess draws some bold new conclusions on the basis of his careful research and analysis of the important clash at Peach Tree Creek."--Steven E. Woodworth, author of Manifest Destinies: America’s Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War