Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign

By Earl J. Hess | Go to book overview

Appendix: Kennesaw after the War

After fourteen days of confrontation along the Kennesaw Line, the two armies moved southward to continue their struggle for control of Atlanta. The presence of something like 150,000 men near the twin-peaked eminence had transformed the rural landscape. “The country all around was cut up with entrenchments and honeycombed with rifle pits,” recalled W. J. Worsham of the Nineteenth Tennessee. Vegetation in range of sharpshooters and artillerymen was devastated. Worsham described wooded stretches of ground that “looked as dreary and as desolate as if it had been swept by a tornado.”1

Another Confederate soldier who visited Kennesaw sometime after 1869 reported that the trees were riddled, torn, and splintered for a distance of four hundred yards in front of the position held by Cleburne’s division. Trees scarred by hundreds of bullets presented “the strangest and most grotesque appearance,” in his view. Trunks were split for twenty feet up the trunk by the impact of artillery rounds. The unnamed veteran found one tree with a hole drilled completely through the trunk which yet was growing even though a man could thrust his arm completely through the opening until his hand appeared on the other side.2

Civilian visitors were keenly interested in the historic heights of Kennesaw. A minister working for the U.S. Christian Commission walked up the mountain in early August 1864 and brought back “glowing acc’ts of the scenery & extended landscape” to his colleagues working among the Union soldiers. He also picked a “specimen of cactus” and brought it from the height. Two years later, Benson J. Lossing visited Kennesaw and reported that local residents had already sold more than 200,000 pounds of spent bullets which they had dug out of the earthwork or found lying about on the ground.3

Most Federal veterans seemed little interested in the battlefield of Kennesaw Mountain until the 1890s, when they began to visit the quiet woods near Marietta in large numbers. Theodore D. Neighbor of the Fifty-Second Ohio toured the battlefield in 1895 and 1897 and “found everything about as we had left it” more than thirty years before. The mine shaft was still open, but many older trees had withered and died from the effects of battle. The landscape sported a new, second growth of timber. All the head logs on the Union and Confederate earthworks had long since rotted away or had been taken by local farmers, but the timber used by the Rebels to revet the interior slope of their parapets remained intact, although it had rotted. “There

-235-

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Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Table and Maps ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Preface xiii
  • One- The Road to Kennesaw 1
  • Two- Kolb’s Farm 28
  • Three- Sherman Decides to Strike 47
  • Four- The Fifteenth Crops Attack 71
  • Five- The Fourth Corps Attack 96
  • Six- The Fourteenth Corps Attack 113
  • Seven- The Residue of a Long Day 138
  • Eight- Along the Kennesaw Line 165
  • Nine- Flanking 188
  • Conclusion 215
  • Orders of Battle 227
  • Appendix- Kennesaw after the War 235
  • Notes 263
  • Bibliography 305
  • Index 319
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