A Blue and Gray Trail site
Few, if any Civil War battle sites contain as many original landmarks, earthworks, and undisturbed physical features as can be witnessed at Allatoona today. The battle that occurred here on Oct. 5, 1864 is an introduction to the ill-fated plans of John Bell Hood, the aggressive but mediocre general who assumed command of the Confederate Army during the fall of Atlanta.
Stinging from the loss of Atlanta, Hood decides to attack William Tecumseh Sherman's supply line, the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Afraid that the Confederate army is moving toward Rome Sherman orders Brig. General John Corse to defend the city. After Hood crosses the Chattahoochee River and tears up track from Big Shanty to Acworth Sherman realizes the Rebels intend an attack on the railway pass at Allatoona. The stores at the pass are filled with much needed rations and Sherman has left minimal support at the site because he knew the pass could be easily held. When advancing on Atlanta in the spring of 1864, Sherman avoided this battle by swinging to the west, fighting at Dallas, New Hope Church, and Pickett's Mill.
With just over 5,300 men engaging in battle, and 1,505 casualties, this is the bloodiest battlefield for numbers engaged, according to General Sherman. While the battlefield today is on federal land a movement is underway to create a new Georgia State Park that would fully encompass the battlefield and protect the area.
A couple of notes: The Mooney house, across the street from the parking lot for the park is in private hands, but was used as a field hospital during the battle. Bullet holes in the walls from the battle and blood on the floor can still be seen.
The tactical importance of Allatoona Pass is not visible from the site. Lake Allatoona, which lies to the north and east of the battlefield tends to diminish the height of pass. Also, the pass is the end of a string of smaller mountains that ends further south.
How to get there:
I-75 Exit 283 in Bartow County, Ga., go east on Old Allatoona Road, 1.5 miles, cross railroad tracks, go 1 mile, markers on left.
The Cartersville area is rich in history. For more information on local attractions, stop by the Cartersville Visitors Center for more information 24 hours a day or order an informative brochure that highlights Allatoona Pass and other local attractions from them on-line.
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