I was having National Park withdrawals, so when I read about Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield on facebook, and realized it was just a few minutes away from us, I decided that we would go on a field trip. Our National Park pass has expired, and we haven’t picked up a new one yet because our path (or lack of path!) hasn’t taken us around many parks. We lucked out that this park is free. On the weekends, they have a shuttle that takes you to the top of Kennesaw Mountain for $3 per person, but on weekdays you can drive yourself.
We packed a lunch and drove over to the park.
I looked like the park is a popular location for runners and bikers. There were lots of people around in running clothes and the parking lot was packed . . . but the Visitor Center was almost empty.
The movie was just getting started when we arrived, so we went right into the auditorium to watch – by ourselves.
Kennesaw Mountain was the last barrier standing in the Union Army’s path to Atlanta. The Confederacy entrenched themselves along the ridge of Kennesaw Mountain, Little Kennesaw and Pigeon Hill, and waited for the Union Army to approach.
Sherman attempted a direct attack, and according to the movie, it was a disaster. The Confederacy lost 800 soldiers, but the Union lost almost 3x that many.
The one thing that really struck me from the movie was that after so many were killed, the remaining Union and Confederate troops remained in a standoff for several days . . . until the smell the of the decaying bodies drove them to call a temporary truce. The Confederacy initiated it, because the wind was blowing in their direction.
The two sides came together to bury the dead, then they proceeded to eat a meal together, play cards, and just hang out. When the designated time was up, they each went back behind their respective lines and started firing at each other again.
That just blew my mind! How could they go back to killing each other?
The South eventually withdrew because some of Sherman’s troops found a way to get around the the side of the mountain . . . and the resulting fall of Atlanta was inevitable.
We enjoyed the movie and the Visitor Center, and then took a drive up the mountain.
From the top, we could barely see the high-rises of Atlanta through the haze,
and we found a bench at the summit where we could have our lunch. From the overlook, we continued up a path past several old cannons.
It was a nice little park, and an interesting perspective on Civil War history.