The Battle of Ezra Church took place on July 28, 1864. The battle was part of the Atlanta Campaign in Sherman’s March to the Sea. The Confederate forces were led by General John Bell Hood and Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee and the Union forces by General William T. Sherman and Major General Oliver Howard.
battle, Major General Oliver Howard’s forces formed lines near a small Methodist
church called Ezra Church, just west of Atlanta. When the Union Army started to
move south towards Lick Skillet Rd they began encountering resistance from
Confederate forces. The Union forces then began encountering bombardment from
Confederate cannons as General Sherman approached. Howard then ordered his
troops to erect barricades from rails, logs, and church pews. The Confederates
continued to fire on the Union forces from the surrounding forest which forced many
of them to lie behind improvised parapets made from rail and logs.
forces charged three times on the Union’s right flank but were repulsed each time.
After repeated failures, the Confederate forces moved against Harrow and Wood’s brigade of the Union forces.
This action sapped the Confederates of needed forces, so Confederate Brigadier General Gibson sent in more troops
to support the failing forces against Harrow’s forces but are driven back. The Confederates were forced to withdraw their attack on Harrow and Wood’s brigades.
General Lee attempted to force the Union forces out into the open by forcing
them from their fortified positions. Twice the Confederates assault failed and
are forced to withdraw. The next attack Confederate forces made against Union
entrenchments saw heavy fire where the Union forces fired back “shot for shot,
and then some.”
handed down from General Hood that Lee was to “hold the enemy, but not to do more
fighting than necessary, unless you get a decided advantage.” The Confederate
forces at this time gave up trying to win the battle and instead settled on stalling
Union forces. The Confederate forces under Lee were forced to withdraw
completely and concede the battle to the Union forces. The Union forces
sustained 642 casualties while the Confederate sustained a much larger 3,000 casualties.