"The Mountain and the battlefield" Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park by goingsolo

The battles at Kennesaw

In the spring of 1864, Union General Sherman marched 100,000 troops from Chatanooga, Tennesee into Georgia. Sherman's goal was to capture Atlanta, then in the hands of the Confederates. Sherman's campaign was known as the March to the Sea.

Kennesaw Mountain was the site of two of the Civil War battles fought during June, 1864 during General Sherman's March to the Sea. Kennesaw was the last mountain Sherman and his troops had to cross before reaching Atlanta and theConfederates fought vigorously to defend it. They were initially successful in stalling Sherman's army and inflicting heavy casualties. But the Confederates eventually had to withdraw and Sherman proceeded to Atlanta.

The Battle of Kolb's Farm and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain were two of the major engagements during this campaign. These two battles were known as the beginning of the end for Georgia in the Civil War as Sherman's campaign culminated in the battle and fall of the city of Atlanta. Several key battlefields are preserved at Kennesaw Mountain.

Although the Union claimed victory at Kolb's Farm, it did so at the expense of heavy losses. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was a Confederate victory, of sorts. The Confederate soldiers dug in deep, refusing to give up the mountain. Despite artillery firing and a frontal assault by Sherman's troops, the Confederates held the mountain, but did so at a cost of 4,000 lives.

The Confederate Army suffered heavy losses during the battles and almost 6,000 lives were lost on both sides in these two battles alone. That number is relatively small in comparison to the total number of casualties of the Civil War, and falls short of the large number fallen at Gettysburgh. But, looking at these not so large fields, it is impossible to conceive that so many died here.

Unlike Stone Mountain, which serves as a tribute to Georgia's Confederate "heroes" and the pre-civil war way of life, Kennesaw is a place for honoring those who died in the battle and providing information about this important part of US history.

The park has a series of trails which lead to the top of Kennesaw Mountain, Kolb's Farm, Cheatham Hill and Pigeon Hill. Along the way, you can see some remnants of these battles: canons which were used to fire at approaching soldiers, trenches and ravines used for hiding and markers indicating the location where soldiers have been buried. Kennesaw is a place of great historical significance, but also one of tragedy and great loss of life.

The park

Markers on the battlefields provide some of the history behind the wars that were waged here. If not for the markers, it would appear as if these were just ordinary grassy fields with nothing striking about them. Its hard to imagine the loss of life that occured on this ground a hundred plus years ago.

Kennesaw Mountain has a series of exhibits and markers which provide a background for the battles that occured here. But the real significance and the strongest impact of a visit here comes from a walk past the battlefields and along the trails. There is an eerie silence here, despite the significant number of tourists and, surprisingly, joggers, that visit the area.

In his famous address at the Gettysburg battlefield, President Lincoln said that, "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." Despite the fact that Lincoln's address was delivered on a northern battlefield which was the sight of the bloodiest engagement of the war, his words ring as true at Kennesaw as they did at Gettysburg. Walking around here, despite the grass which has grown over areas which were ravaged by war, it is impossible to forget that so many died.

I spent a few hours touring the park and learning more about the civil war history of the South. On this page, I'll share some of the information I found, along with my thoughts and impressions of Kennesaw Mountain.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:A well preserved place of historical significance
  • Last visit to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated Jun 17, 2005
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Reviews (9)

Comments (3)

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2007 at 12:33 PM

    Revisiting this truly outstanding page. As a former Georgian I appreciate your balanced coverage. My own visits to Kennesaw were pre-VT. Wish I had more pictures. Thanks for sharing yours.

  • ferdnbean's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2005 at 7:12 AM

    Great page...only confirms the suspicions I have previously shared with you, Miss L. Your historical perspectives are right on with balance and perspective. Ferd

  • Georgiantraveler's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2005 at 7:27 AM

    I grew up beside the Stone Mountain mentioned, and visited this National Park many times. Born the Great-Grandson of 4 different Confederate participants in this battle, I was moved by the respect you showed to this sad moment in our history...

goingsolo

“"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."”

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