Resaca’s Chitwood Farm Acquisition: The ” Cherokee Battery”
From 1998 to 2000, the Georgia Civil War Commission, working in concert with Friends of Resaca Battlefield were able to acquire 505 acres of the Camp Creek Valley in the northwest portion of the Resaca Battlefield. Another 65 acres were purchased by Gordon County in 2003 along with the Confederate earthwork know as Fort Wayne where the first shots of the Battle of Resaca were fired. More land was acquired in March 2011 through the combined effort of the Civil War Trust, the Trust for Public Land, the American Battlefield Protection Program, and the Gordon County Commission when 483 acres were preserved east of I-75 along the right of the Confederate line. The area had been owned by the Chitwood family since the 19th century and was the location of heavy fighting as well as the important battlefield landmark, Van Den Corput’s “Cherokee Battery.”On the third day of the Battle of Resaca, May 15, 1864, Lt. General John B. Hood ordered a battery to be positioned to fire upon a Federal battery that had been laying down a consistent fire into a portion of the Confederate line. A battery commanded by Captain Maximilian Van Den Corput, known as the “Cherokee Battery’ of four twelve-pounder brass guns was placed about 20 yards in front of the main line of entrenched infantry. An earthen fortification was constructed to protect the gunners, but before it could be completed to connect it to the main line of Confederate works, the Federals initiated an attack. The attack on this sector was made by Col. Benjamin Harrison ( an Indiana native and the future president of the United States) and the 70th Indiana Regiment. Harrison and his troops advanced on the enemy’s earthworks, ” whose strength as well as exact location was only revealed by the line of fire which, with fearful destructiveness, and was belched upon our advancing column.” After entering and driving out the Confederate soldiers, Harrison and his men were forced to withdraw back down the slope, yet leaving the guns without a crew. The battery was unmanned, and the Confederate line, only 20 yards distant, kept up a heavy fire. The Federals pinned down behind the battery returned fire, leaving the battery in no man’s land. ” come on take the guns!” yelled the Southerners. ” Come on and take em’ yourselves!” came the Northern reply. The firing kept up on both sides with musketry and artillery, but the Confederates never attempted to retake the redoubt. That evening, after dark, Brig. General John Geary ordered a squadron of men forward to quietly dig through the front of the redoubt, tie rope to the guns, then drag them back into the Union line. The guns became famous trophies of Resaca and were presented to General Geary before being put back into service against the Confederates. They were the only guns captured from Joe Johnston’s army during the Atlanta Campaign. Today, the site of the Cherokee Battery can be visited from the Chitwood Farm section of the battlefield. The grand opening of the Resaca Battlefield Historic Site will take place May 13, 2016 at 3:00 pm. More information is available at www.resacabattlefield.com
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