Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kennesaw Mountain

Once again this is a pre-digital picture post.

Kennesaw Mountain is a tough battle to tour. The preserved land tends to only be the Confederate trenches so you cannot follow the Union attacks much, although in some places there is enough preserved to give you the feel of the final bit of the assault (and at Kennesaw that's almost all you need). Sure I would love if more was preserved but we have to deal with what's left.

On the big Kennesaw Mountain are some Confederate entrenchments that still appear very strong.

But the point here is not how strong the position was but what it protects, and you can get a nice view of hazy Atlanta from here. Clearly the Confederates are running out of ground. There are still places they can make stands and strike at the Union army but it is obvious that there is not much ground to give. If they are to strike back they need to pick their spots in a hurry.
But at Kennesaw Sherman has decided to stop moving around the flank and give battle. He realizes how close he is getting to Atlanta and hopes for a big victory to shorten this campaign. But it will fail.
Most of what is preserved, fighting wise, is the area at Cheatham's Hill. Here some very savage fighting will center along an area known as the Dead Angle. Cheatham and Cleburne had very strong entrenchments and will severely handle the Union assault. 8000 Union soldiers will make the assault and in 90 minutes will lose over 1000 while Confederate casualties were roughly a third of that.
A view from one of the Confederate forts, this one looking right at modern traffic.

This is the view from Cheatham's Hill. This is actually a pretty long open area, and somewhat steep. This would have been very brutal to attack across.

The battlefield park started initially as this Illinois monument placed at the top of the hill, with a small parcel of land around it. Later more land was added and eventually it became the national park we know today.
Some Union soldiers were trapped near the top of the hill, unwilling to retreat across the open ground and unable to go forward. So they dug a mine in hopes of blowing up the trenches, this didn't work but it kept them busy.
Along Cheatham Hill are a few monuments like this to fallen Union soldiers.

The best picture I managed of the entrenchments. Trees and kudzu have made it a bit difficult to see but you can get some feel for it.

To the south of Cheatham Hill is Kolb's Farm, which was fought for about a week earlier. There is very little preserved here, I only included it as an example of what much of the Atlanta area battlefields look like. One small piece of ground is preserved, and traffic buzzes by a short distance away.

1 comment:

G Jones said...

Hi Nick, Kennesaw Mountain is an awesome sight. One of my ancestors lost his life and is burried there in the National Cemetery, John Starr. A man by the name of Brad Quinlin is a brilliant Civil War lecturer there. He has written a current book of Civil War Letters. I hope you can meet him sometime since you both have the CW in common. Nice compilations. Thanks for sharing G Jones