Southern Museum to Commemorate Sesquicentennial of Atlanta Campaign, Sherman’s March

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Atlanta Campaign and the final full year of the Civil War with a special exhibit.

From May 3 until July 20, precisely 150 years after Union troops under Gen. William T. Sherman wreaked havoc on the north Georgia landscape, the Southern Museum will host its “1864” exhibit.

The exhibit, which features letters, interactive exhibits and a number of never-before-displayed artifacts, examines both how the tactics of warfare changed as well as the war’s effect on soldiers and civilians alike. On Fridays through Sundays throughout the duration of the exhibit, Southern Museum staff will offer interpretive programs aimed at bringing the exhibit to life.

“By early 1864, how soldiers fought in battle was rapidly changing as strategy, tactics and weapons improved,” said Dr. Richard Banz, Executive Director of the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History. “Residents of north Georgia had yet to fully feel the impact of the war that had been raging for nearly three years.

“Sherman’s March devastated parts of Georgia’s landscape and left some citizens barely able to survive,” Banz said. “Our hope is that guests will have a better understating of how the war impacted the lives of not just the soldiers doing the fighting, but also the residents forced to grapple with its consequences on the home front.”

Kennesaw, known as Big Shanty during the Civil War, was the location of two battles during 1864 and witnessed three separate occupations by Union and Confederate troops.

Artifacts that will help tell the story include the snare drum and equipment used in Big Shanty by Pvt. Jesse Thornburgh (39th Iowa); letters from Capt. George Hudson (36th Georgia); letters and receipts from Union soldiers stationed in Big Shanty; and original ambrotypes of two brothers who served in the 7th New Hampshire. The special exhibit will also feature a number of weapons, including muzzle loading rifles and repeating carbines.

Southern Museum members will have an exclusive opportunity to preview the exhibit a day before it opens to the public. Wayne Motts, director of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pa., will deliver a lecture during the special members-only event on May 2.