From my forthcoming Volume One of the Atlanta Campaign, to be published by Savas Beatie.
On May 14, the Federals made repeated assaults against entrenched Confederates at Resaca. Among the troops caught up in these attacks were some old friends-regiments I have written of before, especially at Chickamauga. Here I thought I would share the experiences of the 24th Wisconsin, including Maj. Arthur MacArthur, the 15th Missouri, and the 36th Illinois, raised in that part of the state I now call home, the Fox River Valley.
This attack was a mistake, an accident of misunderstood orders that never should have happened; a blunder of terrain and battlefield confusion. Understandably, there was some anger within the brigade at the confusion.
Major Arthur MacArthur of the 24th, formerly the regimental adjutant, had heroically led his regiment up Missionary Ridge the previous November, an action for which he would subsequently be awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1890. The brave young major later reported that the entire brigade advanced “about 300 yards . . .[to] an open field. Here we were exposed to a galling fire of both artillery and small arms. Receiving no orders to halt,” Lt. Col. Theodore West of the 24th quickly dismounted and began to lead the Wisconsinites across the field at “a double-quick step. . . . In crossing the field,” noted MacArthur, “the regiment became detached from the brigade.” Both the 15th Missouri and 36th Illinois followed the Badgers.
Col. Joseph Conrad and his 15th Missouri were the front regiment on the brigade’s extreme right, with the Fox River Regiment—36th Illinois—behind them. Following suit, Conrad and his men crossed the same open field, “exposed to a terrible fire.” Once they reached the east fork of Camp Creek, like so many other Federals that day, the Missourians tumbled into the shelter of its banks. Here, wrote Lt. Col. Porter Ohlson of the 36th, “after a few minutes’ rest the regiment was ordered by Colonel [Silas] Miller [commanding the Illinoisans] to move upon the enemy’s second line of works, the colonel not having been informed that we were simply to relieve a force of ours [Harker’s] which held the first line.” After crossing the creek, Conrad wrote that both regiments charged directly towards “a small fort . . . in our front. Again we had to cross an open field; again we were exposed to a murderous fire of artillery and musketry.” Amazingly, at least some of these Federals reached the foot of Lewis’s line, where Conrad reported that they held on for some time until their ammunition was exhausted. They then fell back to the creek bed. As Illinois Pvt. Julius Wright of Company C in the 36th recorded, “[we] charged but were repulsed and [fell] back a short distance. Got under cover and fought till night.” The 36th’s regimental history noted that both regiments “charged up from the creek . . . against a Rebel battery behind breastworks on a hill, with a heavy infantry support. . . . [we] succeeded in reaching nearly to the very walls of the fort, when [we] were obliged to fall back, some to the middle of the field and others to the cover of the steep banks and fringe of trees lining the stream.”
The next day, Corp. George A. Cooley of the 24th Wisconsin, though admitting that “our loss as a regiment has been slight,” grumbled that “we all think Col. Sherman (commanding the brigade) made us run the gauntlet unnecessarily, as after we charged across the field, he took the rest of the brigade around through the woods, but the old 24th is good for him yet and he knows it. He did not dare expose himself before his brigade at all yesterday nor today.”
 OR 38, pt. 1, 313, 325, 328. The times given vary widely, creating considerable confusion. Luther Bradley reported that Harker’s brigade was ordered to replace Cox’s men at 5 p.m., But MacArthur reported Sherman’s brigade were ordered forward at “about 2 p.m.” Both Lt. Col. Porter Ohlson of the 36th Illinois and Joseph Conrad of the 15th Missouri gave the time as 3:00. This variance is not entirely surprising, since all the above officers wrote their reports in September, at the close of the campaign. The timeline I present here is my best estimate, based on reconciling all the movements and actions of the parties involved. Any time given in the text should be considered approximate, and subject to reasonable variability.
 OR 38, pt. 1, 313, 325; “Entry for May 14,” Julius Calvin Wright Diary; Bennett and Haigh, History of the Thirty-Sixth Regiment, 581.
 “Entry for May 15,” George A. Cooley Diary, WHS. The 24th Wisconsin reported a loss of 12 killed and either 30 or 35 wounded.