On May 24, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, in overall command of the Union forces in Georgia, learned that his Confederate counterpart, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, was forming a defensive line along the south side of Pumpkinvine Creek. After a series of engagements, Johnston's army fell back from the vicinity of Cassville-Kingston, first to Allatoona Pass and then to the Dallas area and entrenched. Sherman's army tested the Rebel line while entrenching themselves. The Battle of Dallas occurred on May 28 when Hardee's Corps probed the Union defensive line, held by Logan's Army of the Tennessee corps, to exploit any weakness or possible withdrawal. Fighting ensued at two different points, but the Rebels were repulsed, suffering high casualties.
Sherman continued looking for a way around Johnston's line, and, on June 1, his cavalry occupied Allatoona Pass, which had a railroad and would allow his men and supplies to reach him by train. Sherman abandoned his lines at Dallas on June 5 and moved toward the railhead at Allatoona Pass, forcing Johnston to follow soon afterwards.