Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park - Kennesaw, Georgia

Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield
A park that commemorates the Atlanta Campaign and preserves the scene of some of its heaviest fighting, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a rare Civil War landscape in the rapidly spreading Atlanta metropolitan area.
Fought on July 27, 1864, the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was one of the few direct Union assaults of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's campaign to take Atlanta. The Federal troops tried to storm heavily fortified position along the slopes of the mountain but were hurled back with severe losses. More than 4,000 men were reported killed, wounded or missing in just a few short hours.

Cannon on top of Kennesaw Mountain
The battle developed as Sherman pushed the last few miles to the Chattahoochee River, beyond which no natural barriers separated him from the vital rail junction of Atlanta. To reach the river, however, there was one more great natural barrier to pass - Kennesaw Mountain and its connected ridges.

The high ground, however, was held by the outnumbered but still determined Confederate Army of Tennessee led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. His Southern forces had entrenched themselves heavily on the mountain and connected slopes and his cannon were firing from the summit of the mountain on the trains that brought Sherman's supplies down from Tennessee.

Monument at the Dead Angle
Recent rains had made a flanking maneuver too difficult to undertake, so on the morning of July 27, 1864, Sherman hurled his forces at the mountain.  The attack went wrong almost immediately. The Confederate positions were just too strong and the Union attacking columns were swept by Southern cannon and musket fire.

The Confederate victory at Kennesaw Mountain would be the last Southern triumph of the Atlanta Campaign. Five days later Sherman was able to move his army around one of Johnston's flanks and Southern troops were forced to give up the mountain and fall back first on the line of the Chattahoochee and soon into the defenses of Atlanta itself.  Johnston was replaced by Gen. John Bell Hood who launched poorly coordinated and futile attacks on Sherman's forces, decimating his army and losing Atlanta in the process. The fall of the city drove a bayonet into the heart of the Confederacy.

To learn more about this beautifully preserved battlefield, please visit

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