Civil War Trail
After Atlanta fell, Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood began marching toward Nashville, Tenn., hoping to break Sherman’s supply line. Hood attacked at Union troops positioned at a railroad pass southeast of Cartersville. The Battle of Allatoona Pass on Oct. 5, 1864, is among the Civil War’s bloodiest battles, and roughly 1,600 soldiers on both sides died. The railroad has been rerouted, but the battle site now sits on the edge of Lake Allatoona and is part of Red Top Mountain State Park.
During the Civil War, Camp Chase, named for Salmon P. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln and a former governor of Ohio, was home to a military training camp for Union troops and one of the largest Confederate prisons. The first occupants of Camp Chase’s prison were political prisoners, but during the Civil War, as many as 25,000 Confederate soldiers passed through the camp, which was built to house 3,500-4,000 prisoners. By the end of January 1865, the prison held more than 9,400 prisoners. Today, the only remnant of the camp are the graves of 2,260 Confederate soldiers, buried in quarters so tight their headstones nearly touch one another. In the middle stands a monument — with the word “Americans” engraved into its “memorial arch.”
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park preserves the sites of two major battles of the American Civil War: the Battle of Chickamauga and the Chattanooga Campaign.
Cooper’s Iron Works is the last remaining remnant of the 19th century town of Etowah. Jacob Stroup established the works in the 1830s, and Mark Anthony Cooper purchased the ironworks in the 1840s. In 1863, cooper sold the iron works to the Confederate States of America in 1863, and federal soldiers on May 22, 1864, destroyed the ironworks and mill, bringing about an end to the city’s livelihood. Following the Civil War, the town never again returned to its antebellum prominence. A smokestack is all that remains of the ironworks.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park offers the opportunity to connect with an important time in American history and a free outdoor experience. Located between Marietta and Kennesaw, the 2,923-acre national park offers visitors the chance to learn about an important time in history and also enjoy the great outdoors. The national park features 18 miles of walking trails, some rather steep as they approach the top of the mountain. The park features three battlefield areas: one located in front of the Visitor Center, another off Burnt Hickory Road and the main site at Cheatham Hill, which during the Civil War was called the Dead Angle. The visitor center is a logical place to start because it provides an abundance of information about what happened during the battle.
As the Civil War dragged on, wounded soldiers from the battles that ravaged North Georgia were taken to Marietta to be buried. That continued until Gen. William T. Sherman took control of the city on July 2, 1864. Following the war, Henry Greene Cole, a Marietta businessman and Unionist, offered land to build a cemetery for both Union and Confederate soldiers, but many city residents wouldn’t entertain the proposal of burying battlefield enemies in the same graveyard. So, in 1867, Jane Glover officially gave the land to a memorial association to create the cemetery for Confederate soldiers. Union troops who were killed throughout North Georgia were re-buried in the nearby Marietta National Cemetery. In addition to the more than 3,000 grave sites, the cemetery is home to a number of monuments, including a six-pound cannon that Union troops captured near Savannah. The cannon resided at the Georgia Military Institute for a number of years.
A Smithsonian Institution affiliate, the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History features collections of rare Civil War weapons, uniforms and other personal items; an exciting exhibit about the Great Locomotive Chase, including the General locomotive; and a full-scale replica of a locomotive factory that helped rebuild the South after the war. The Jolley Education Center features a variety of hands-on exhibits to inspire a love of learning in children. During the sesquicentennial, 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Southern Museum will be hosting numerous events that will explore topics relevant to this tumultuous time in history.