The Cooperating Association of the Ocmulgee National Monument

Celebrating , Interpreting and Preserving the records of  Human Occupation of the

Ocmulgee River Basin Fall Line from the Stone Age to the Space Age

 "Second Battle of Dunlap's Hill

20 November 1864) " 

Civil War Battle Site

Civil War - Earthworks atop Dunlap Hill

Click here for Diagram of Fortifications and Map - by Ric Thornton

Dr. Iobst presented a 30-45 minute talk about the Second Battle of Dunlaps Hill (20 November 1864), on Saturday, Nov. 20th 1999 at the ONM.  On this date in 1864 (135 years age) was the battle for Walnut Creek Bridge.  The bridge was burned, and remained destroyed at the end of the war. This effectively prevented Macon from sending supplies to Petersburg or to the Army in North Carolina by rail. - "Of course, the destruction of the Georgia Central Railroad in sections by Sherman's Right Wing would have prevented such an effort anyway. " 

Dr Iobst presented a critical view of the March to the Sea and Macon's role in it:   "We must remember that it was a portion of a larger effort on the part of the Federals, and is important because it reveals the successfull strategy which Sherman used to confuse and baffle his opponents..."  

Dick and Mary Iobst   (Iobst is pronounced 'Yost' and  rhymes with Most)

Dr Iobst

Dick and Mary Iobst

Author - Richard Iobst, PhD. and his wife Mary in the ONM auditorium

  for the book signing of "Civil War Macon" - Mercer Univ. Press 1999 

Abstract of "The Affair at Dunlap's Hill: The March to the Sea and Macon."

- R. Iobst 

      After Atlanta fell on September 3, 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, Commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, consolidated his hold on that important city and planned his next move. His plan was to move a large portion of his three field armies through Georgia to Savannah on the seacoast, thereby bringing war to the civilian population of what he termed "their best state." Accordingly, he sought and received approval for his plans from Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of all the Federal armies, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and, of course, Prsident Abraham Lincoln. Sherman burned Atlanta's business district and other parts of the city on November 15, and began his destructive March to the Sea. He had sent back the Army of the Cumberland under Major General George H. Thomas on September 28, together with Major General John M. Schofield's Twenty-third Army Corps to hold Nashville and Middle Tennessee. His remaining force, 62,000 men, consisting of the bulk of the Armies of the Ohio and the Tennessee, was divided into two wings. The left wing was directed to march down the tracks of the Atlanta and Augusta Railroad toward Social Circle and Madison.

For purposes of my paper we will discuss the activities of the Right Wing only. This wing, 30,000 strong, was commanded by Major General Oliver Otis Howard. It consisted of two corps, the Fifteenth under Major General Peter J. Osterhaus and the Seventeenth commanded by Major General Francis Preston Blair, Jr. Howard feinted south towards Columbus and Macon, then crossed the Ocmulgee River at Planter's Factory Ferry east of Indian Springs, and headed for Hillsboro. Marching through Hillsboro, the wing created a path of destruction through Blountville (which was burned to the ground), Clinton, and on to Gordon and Tennille. As it passed through Clinton, Sherman ordered Howard to make a demonstration against Macon in an effort to confuse and divide what forces the Confederates could bring against him.

Concern over Sherman's plans caused Major General Howell Cobb, commanding at Macon, to call for 500 additional slaves for 30 days to complete the fortifications around Macon.  

These works, including the 10-gun fort located behind the Superintendent's House at the Ocmulgee National Monument, were incomplete by the time the Federals reached Clinton. Furthermore, the troops available to contest any attempt to capture Macon were few. The Georgia Reserves led by Cobb and commanded in the field by his subordinate Major General Gustavus W. Smith, included 2,800 infantry, 3 batteries of artillery, and 250 local reserve cavalry. Wheeler's Cavalry, stripped to provide reinforcements for Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Cavalry which accompanied Confederate General John Bell Hood, Commander of the Army of Tennessee, on an abortive invasion of Tennessee, numbered only 2,000. With these small forces it was impossible for Wheeler and Smith to make an effective defense against Sherman.

Howard sent a portion of the Third Cavalry Division, led by Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, toward Macon to attack the city and capture it if possible. Kilpatrick, in turn, divided his forces and ordered the Second Brigade, led by Colonel Smith D. Atkins, formerly commander of the Ninety-Second Illinois Mounted Infantry, to make the assault upon Macon.

Atkins' brigade, which numbered less than 2,000 men, advanced toward the city. On the afternoon of November 20, this force, consisting of six regiments of cavalry, one regiment of Mounted Infantry, accompanied by Captain Yates V. Beebe's Tenth Wisconsin Battery, which included mostly 12-pounder howitzers, appeared at the bridge carrying the tracks of the Georgia Central Railroad over Walnut Creek, within the current boundaries of the Ocmulgee National Monument.

The Confederate force,which was placed on the crest and Eastern slope of Dunlap's Hill, consisted of two regiments of convalescent troops from Camp Wright, the convalescent camp in Macon, supported by a detachment of 375 men led by a Captain Albough. The infantry was supported by artillery units of the Army of Tennessee Reserve Artillery, sent to Macon by Hood after he evacuated Atlanta. This force included Curry's Bellamy's Guist's, Howell's, Palmer's, Rivers', and Baxter's Batteries, some of whom were deployed as infantry. Forces in support of these units included a detachment of seven companies under Colonel T.S. Howe of the Twenty-fourth Tennessee Regiment and a volunteer company from the Blind School Hospital commanded by Captain Aikens. The entire force did not exceed 1,000 or 1,200 men. Colonel T.M. Colmes, Commander of the Fiftieth Tennessee Regiment and Commander of Camp Wright, led the Confederate forces. Colmes had been told that he had cavalry in his front which was advancing on the north and east sides of Walnut Creek, on all the roads leading to East Macon, than an area of scattered houses and farms.

At 3:30 P.M. Beebe's guns opened fire upon the Confederate line. They were answered by Rivers' and Howell's guns. Colmes then placed his entire force in line of battle and deployed a line of skirmishers. At this juncture Atkins ordered the Tenth Ohio Cavalry to charge a portion of Rivers' Battery which was placed in the road just west of Welnut Creek on the East slope of Dunlap's Hill. He directed the Ninety-second Illinois to hold the creek crossing and the road. The Fifth Ohio was held in reserve to support the Tenth if the latter regiment gained a sufficient advantage.

The Tenth, accompanied by two companies of the Ninety-second, crossed the creek and, in  column of fours, charged up  the road. Two guns of Rivers' Battery were mounted in a redoubt which completely blocked the Cross Keys Road directly in front of the gate which led to Captain Samuel Dunlap's house. The artillerists attempted to stop the troopers, but were hampered by faulty friction primers, five of which failed to fire when the gun was charged with canister. This caused one 12-pounder to fall into the hands of the Federals. Some of the cavalrymen temporarily captured the redoubt. The forward line of Confederate militia broke when the Tenth entered the redoubt, but others fought desperately to stop the charge. At this crisis, Captain Howell's four-gun battery, stationed at Fort Hawkins, in rear of the Confederate line, poured a continuous and accurate fire into the right flank of the Tenth. Other Confederates fired on the Federals.

Reinforcements, led by Lieutenant W.D. Hooper, which had just arrived on the battlefield, and did not have time to form a line of battle, joined in the defense.

Faced with this opposition, more intense than either Atkins or Kilpatrick, who was with him, expected, the Tenth withdrew in good order after suffering a number of casualties. Atkins praised the conduct of his men, exclaiming "The charge was made under the fire of nine pieces of artillery, and was gallantly and well done."

Wheeler arrived on the field shortly after the charge was repulsed and found the intervals between the railroad bridge, the Dunlap's Hill fort, and Fort Hawkins undefended. He, thereforce, placed two brigades of cavalry in the intervals to cover these unprotected areas.

The bridge over Walnut Creek was held by a ten-man force which was driven away by elements of the Ninety-second Illinois. Therefore, Captain E.S. Hance of the Twenty-fourth Tennessee, rushed to the bridge with twelve or fourteen men, and fired a few volleys into the Federals. This defense drove the Ninety-second's troopers back and saved the span from being burnt.

However, the Ninth Ohio, with portions of the Fifth and Tenth, tore up the tracks of the Central Railroad and the adjacent telegraph wire for about two miles. Other units destroyed more of the line eastward through Griswoldville to Gordon.

Casualties for the battle included one man killed and two wounded in Bellamy's Battery, two wounded in the  nineth-second Illinois, and seven wounded and twelve horses killed in the Tenth Ohio. Confederate observers, however, reported ten or twelve ambulances left the field carrying Federal casualties.

The Macon Daily Telegraph and Confederate reported that the Confederate defenders had "Saved the Government an immense value in public buildings and in manufacturing interest and munitions of war, all of which, but for the daring and intrepidity of the men would now have been in ashes and ruins."

During the night of November 20-21 Atkins withdrew his men from the area, while General Smith moved his Georgia Reserves into the lines on Dunlap's Hill after briefly occupying a portion of the defenses west of Macon. After this, the major fighting swirled to the east, and Macon was saved until Wilson's Cavalry Corps of the Military Division of the Mississippi captured the city on April 20, 1865, at the end of the war.


Richard William Iobst II, Ph.D.

- Richard William Iobst II, Ph.D., 75, of Cullowhee died Saturday January 23, 2010 at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville.

-Born in Allentown Pennsylvania in 1934 he was the son of Carl R. Iobst and Marguerite Biehl Iobst. He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Mary Ann Iobst; son, Richard William Iobst III; and sister, Carol Iobst Groscup.

-Iobst was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served in France during the Cold War. Iobst was graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a Ph.D. in American History. He taught history at Western Carolina University. He started the Archives at Western Carolina and was also the archivist. Iobst served as Chief Historian of the Office of History at the Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, in Warner Robins Georgia. Iobst was curator of the Museum of Southeastern Aviation at Robins Air Force Base.

Iobst is the author of the Bloody Sixth: History of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States of America; Civil War Macon: The History of a Confederate City; and more than twenty published historical articles.

-Iobst is survived by his wife, Mary Yeakle Phipps Iobst; son, Carl Edwin Herbert Iobst; and brother, Herbert Julius Scull.

-Funeral services will be Wednesday January 27, 11A.M. at the Cullowhee Presbyterian Church with burial to follow at PE Moody Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Sylva, North Carolina.

-In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Cullowhee Presbyterian Church or to Richard W. Iobst III Scholarship Fund (make check payable to Cullowhee Presbyterian Church with "Iobst Scholarship" on memo line).

-Moody Funeral Home has charge of arrangements. Richard Iobst, II

An Eulogy:


Call Ocmulgee National Monument for a calendar of events or for more information: (912) 752-8257 x21.

Page under construction by the Ocmulgee Nation Monument Association, Past President, Lindsay Holliday