Monday, July 18, 2016

Colonel Eli Long on February 21, 1864 - Approximate Route down Spring Place Road

1865 Map: Mountain Region of N.C. and Tenn.
(detail, North Georgia). S.I., U.S. Coast Survey,
A. D. Bache, Supt., 1865. Library of Congress
Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.
Cohutta Springs "west," or Cohutta Springs P.O. (a historic area located on modern-day Georgia Highway 225 in Murray County, Georgia) does not show on this 1865 map. Further east of there, east of modern-day US Highway 411, is Cohutta Springs Conference Center, located very near the old mineral springs and resort area, which existed before the Civil War. That location does show on the above map. (See "Cohutta Spr" above "Summerhours or Wood Lawn." Pleasant Valley, below there, is modern-day Eton, Georgia. The Cohutta Springs Post Office closed during the Civil War, and reopened again later.

Historic Event, from a project I'm researching:
On the morning of February 21, 1864, Colonel Eli Long, commanding Second Brigade, Second Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland, USA, left Calhoun, Tennessee, on orders from General Whipple. Long was to take his troops down Spring Place Road, meanwhile communicating with Cruft at Red Clay, in order to let Cruft know when it was safe to advance. Long was to keep watch for any enemy troops who might try to "turn Cruft's left flank." (Rf. 2). Long made the march south, but stopped at a burnt mill on the Conasauga River near the Tennessee-Georgia state line. He sent word to Whipple asking for clarification of his orders. His position was about ten or twelve miles from Red Clay, Georgia, and, as he informed headquarters, there was no closer point on "this  (the Cleveland and Spring Place ) road to Red Clay." He will camp two miles away at a mill on the Conasauga River and await word from headquarters. In later correspondence, he identifies his camp as being "near the house of Mr. Waterhouse."(Rf. 3)

On this 1865 map, the road from Calhoun, Tennessee, to Spring Place, Georgia, shows as a slightly curved, but direct, route to Spring Place. Studying topographical maps of the closest era I could find (about 1891), it seems highly unlikely that the road would be smoothly curved, lying as it does on the west side of the Hiwassee River and passing down through the mountains. At a point on the Conasauga River, where it crosses the Tennessee State line near that old Spring Place Road, it is indeed about twelve miles east of Red Clay, where Cruft was headquartered. I have mapped a modern equivalent of the approximate route of that road, and it shows a mountainous road from the outset. Granted, not all of these modern roads would have been extant in 1864, but this gives the general idea of the route Long must have taken, judging by the 1865 map above, which was drafted between 1863 and 1864.

Modern Route, Approximated (Untried!), Via Google Maps:
The old route, as I mapped it, would have Long crossing the Charleston railroad bridge from Calhoun, and then travelling south on the road that shows on the 1865 map as a direct road from Calhoun, leading south/southeast to intersect Benton Pike at its halfway point; and then continuing south to the Cohutta Springs P.O. area, or Cohutta Springs "west" (not shown on the 1865 map), to a location on the Conasauga River near the Tennessee-Georgia state line, a trip (today) of about thirty miles, the historic point of reference also mentioned in Long's report of the 27th, from page 472 of Official Records. My modern-route equivlent is this: Charleston, Tennessee to Benton Pike, via Chatata Valley Road, NE (Cleveland); continuing South on Hancock Road, NE, until it intersects US Highway 74; straight across to go South on Kinser Road until it becomes New Hope Road SE; continuing South on New Hope Road SE to Ladd Springs Road SE; left (East) on Ladd Springs Road SE to Million Road; bear right at "Y" onto Million Road, down to TN State Hwy 74/Spring Place Road SE; left (East) on Spring Place Road SE/Hwy 74 and continue South until it crosses the state line into Georgia and becomes GA Highway 225; and south on GA Highway 225 to 798 Coffey Road, Crandall, Georgia. The destination of 798 Coffey Road, Crandall, Georgia, is a random point chosen to mark the locale near the Conasauga River at the Tennessee-Georgia state line. The Waterhouse plantation (also called Oakwood Plantation) is further south. It is a private residence and historic on Highway 225 at the intersection of Halls Chapel Road. However, Long camped at the Waterhouse mill, which would have been further out, on the Conasauga River. Waterhouse owned a great deal of land near Cohutta Springs "west" in northern Murray County. His nephew, Callaway Campbell, owned land in that area, as well, and extended out to the area of the river on several sides.

REF. 1: 
Mountain Region of North Carolina and Tennessee, 1865 (Full Map)
Map, Mountain region of North Carolina and Tennessee, Nicholson, W. L., A. Lindenkohl, H. (Henry) Lindenkohl, and Charles G. Krebs, Charles, United States Coast Survey. Published [S.l.], U.S. Coast Survey, A. D. Bache, Supt., [1865]. Call No. G3900 1865 .N5, LC no. 99447196, Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. Digital ID: . LCCN Permalink:

REF. 2: Reports of Col. Eli Long, Fourth Ohio Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade, Second Cavalry Division, 
Correspondence: Long to Whipple, 22 Feb. 1864, Near Burnt Mill, On Cleveland and Spring Place Road," 
O.R. Series 1, Vol. 32, Pt. 1, (Reports), 469. The War of the Rebellion: v.1-53 [serial no. 1-111] Formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the southern states, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, orders and returns relating specially thereto. 1880-1898. 111v, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1891. (Link) Accessed 18 July 2016.

REF. 3: Ibid., 472, Rept. by Eli Long, 27 Feb. 1864, [from field] near Lee's House, Ga. (Link).