By Ann Taylor Boutwell and Collin Kelley
This July 22 will mark the 150th anniversary of the historic Civil War Battle of Atlanta. To commemorate the important event, the neighborhoods in Atlanta’s 5th Council District have teamed up to organize B*ATL.
A week of events – July 12-20 – in East Atlanta, Kirkwood, Reynoldstown and Grant Park will include a gala dinner, a 5K run, tours, a re-creations of the frontlines with re-enactment soldiers and artillery, a Civil War to Civil Rights Tent with civilian re-enactors, historic music concerts and dramatic performances.
One of the highlights planned is a recreation of the classic comedy sketch “Went With the Wind” from the Carol Burnett Show. There will also be twilight walking tours of historic Oakland Cemetery, tours of the Cyclorama and talks on the roles of women and African Americans in the Civil War.
July 1864 has become known as “Bloody July” or “Battle Month” in Civil War history, especially when it comes to Atlanta. The battle events between the Confederate and Union armies occurred on July 20, 22, and 28 at Peachtree Creek, Atlanta and Ezra Church. It was almost a constant fight.
The marking and preservation of those sites – many of which will be visited during the B*ATL week of events – began in July 1895, when a prominent group of concerned Confederate veterans formed a committee with the Confederate Veterans Association to investigate the battle site locations.
Thousands would be traveling to Atlanta between September and December of 1895 for the Cotton States and International Exposition in Piedmont Park – an event designed to show that Atlanta had indeed risen from the ashes of war.
It was a matter of honor to identify the sacred grounds for the visitors and the city. When visitors arrived for the Exposition, small slabs had been placed all around the city to identify important battlefield sites.
Today, Atlantans and visitors can relive July 22, 1864 by paying a visit to the Cyclorama in Grant Park. The Battle of Atlanta painting – a giant 3D diorama – offerings a stirring account of that hot, humid day when 12,000 soldiers from both armies lost their lives just east of the city.