The ‘Affair at Cassville’ scarcely merited the epithet ‘battle’. Indeed, Confederate General Johnston’s aversion to engage helped to cement a pattern that would lead to his abrupt removal by Robert E. Lee before the Battles of Atlanta. After successively retreating from putative stands at Dalton, Resaca and Calhoun, Johnson had occupied a seemingly strong defensive position on a ridge commanding the crossroads at Cassville. However, on 18 May, Generals Polk and Hood, guarding the Adairsville Road, were enfiladed by Union artillery fire during preliminary skirmishes, and withdrew. That night the generals held a discussion of which conflicting accounts emerged. Johnston maintained Polk and Hood asserted their position was indefensible. Polk and Hood insisted they were game for battle. Regardless, the decision was Johnston’s, and he elected, once more, to withdraw, this time to a genuinely strong defensive position at Allatoona. Union Commander Sherman then simply bypassed Johnston to the west.
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