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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Remembering the Battle of Atlanta

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Remembering the Battle of Atlanta

By Calvin E. Johnson Jr.

July marks the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta that marked the beginning of the end of the Southern people's quest for independence.

Are today’s children taught about the War Between the States battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Jonesboro, Fredericksburg, Pea Ridge, Vicksburg, Kennesaw Mountain, Nashville and Atlanta that ultimately led to Gen. William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea?

Did you know that Confederate Brigadier Gen. Stand Watie, an American Indian, held the highest rank on either side, Union or Confederate, or that Black Confederates helped defend Atlanta and are buried on the grounds of a famous Atlanta Black University?

In July, 1864, a free-black man, Soloman (Sam) Luckie, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta barber was talking to a group of businessmen when a cannon shell burst wounded him. The white businessmen took him to their surgeon where he died from the wounds. Luckie may have been one of the first casualties of General Sherman's assault on Atlanta. A street was later named in his memory.

This gas lamp that proved unlucky for Sam Luckie was one of 50 gas lamps erected by the Atlanta Gas Light Company in 1856 and the only one to survive the War Between the States. This famous lamp was relit on December 15, 1939, in conjunction with the World Premiere of the movie "Gone with the Wind" in Atlanta, Georgia. It stood for many years on the corner of Whitehall (now Peachtree) and Mitchell Street. It was moved to Underground Atlanta when construction began on the Five Points MARTA Rail Station.

One hundred sixteen years after the War Between the States Battle of Atlanta, a memorial event took place at the Neiman Marcus Department Store at Atlanta, Georgia's Lenox Square Shopping Mall. A special Battle of Atlanta Tea was held here starting in 1980. The programs for this occasion included speeches by noted historians; Mr. Virlyn Moore, Mr. Judson Ward and the late great Mr. Franklin M. Garrett. Garrett was the official Historian for the City of Atlanta and served as Director of the Atlanta Historical Society. History is always alive in Atlanta, Ga. Check the many events at:

The Battle of Atlanta Tea, held through the early 1980s, was a big success due to the efforts of Mrs. Elizabeth Edmondson, Mrs. Sally White of Nieman Marcus, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Atlanta's historic "Cyclorama",, located at Grant Park, is a jewel of a painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta. A short distance from here is Historic Oakland Cemetery, that is the final resting place to many Confederate soldiers some of whom died during the Battle of Atlanta.

Many people supported the Battle of Atlanta Tea in the 1980s. A reception room was set up with food and refreshment and the walls were adorned with Confederate and United States flags. The women wore ante-bellum attire and men wore Confederate uniforms. Confederate reenactors, with replica black powder period rifles, stood guard at store entrances and escalators to give directions and tell stories from the past.

Can you imagine such an event happening today? Our school bands no longer play "Dixie" but Dixie was played during the Battle of Atlanta Commemorations.

The Battle of Atlanta took place south of the Carter Center, down to the intersection of Moreland Avenue and Interstate 20 and around Glenwood Avenue, Memorial Drive and Clay Street.

During the Battle of Atlanta the Confederate forces were first commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston and later by General John Bell Hood. The Union Forces were under command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The main Union force was the Army of the Tennessee under Major General James B. McPherson who was killed during the Atlanta battle.

2011 will mark the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. Let’s Not Forget!!

A native of Georgia, Calvin Johnson, Chairman of the National and Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Confederate History Month lives near the historic town of Kennesaw and he’s a member of the Chattahoochee Guards Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is the author of the book ”When America Stood for God, Family and Country.” Calvin can be reached at:


Anonymous Armil@atlanta gas said...

I never knew this kind of information that Confederate Brigadier Gen. Stand Watie, an American Indian, held the highest rank on either side, Union or Confederate, or that Black Confederates helped defend Atlanta and are buried on the grounds of a famous Atlanta Black University. Thanks for sharing it with us!

7:42 AM  

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