‘Sacred Ground’: Bishop-General Polk honored on 150th anniversary of death
by Haisten Willis
June 15, 2014 04:00 AM | 2873 views | 5 5 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rev. J.W. Binion portrays Bishop-General Leonidas Polk Saturday while standing in front of the obelisk marking the location of Polk’s death.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Rev. J.W. Binion portrays Bishop-General Leonidas Polk Saturday while standing in front of the obelisk marking the location of Polk’s death.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
Francis Devereaux Polk IV smiles after being initiated into the Sons of Confederate Veterans at the Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk obelisk on Saturday.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Francis Devereaux Polk IV smiles after being initiated into the Sons of Confederate Veterans at the Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk obelisk on Saturday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
Commander Garry Daniell, of the General Leonidas Polk Camp, stands at attention during the reciting of the pledges at the Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk obelisk on Saturday.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Commander Garry Daniell, of the General Leonidas Polk Camp, stands at attention during the reciting of the pledges at the Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk obelisk on Saturday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
slideshow
Leonidas Polk Slideshow
Host Mark Kirk, in period dress, addresses the crowd. Behind him hangs a replica of the distinctive corps flag flown at Gen. Polk’s corps headquarters. Photo special to the MDJ by Johnny Walker.
view slideshow (13 images)
KENNESAW — One of the Civil War’s most well-known generals was honored Saturday morning, exactly 150 years after he was killed by Union forces on Pine Mountain.

Bishop-General Leonidas Polk, a Confederate general during the Civil War, was killed by Union cannon fire on top of the mountain at about 11 a.m. on June 14, 1864. A large marker surrounded by a gate marks the spot, and a crowd of about 150 gathered to honor him and observe 60 seconds of silence Saturday.

"He lived his life as a love unto his people," said the Rev. Archibald Everhart, who spoke and read from the Liturgy during the ceremony honoring Polk.

After the reading, those attending the ceremony said the pledge to the American flag, the Georgia flag and the Confederate flag.

The event was organized by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Gen. Leonidas Polk camp, which is based in Smyrna. Speakers included Post Commander Garry Daniell and Marietta attorney Martin O’Toole, an SCV spokesman who gave a detailed history of several events in Polk’s life. Kennesaw State history professor Michael Shaffer also spoke.

Francis Devereux Polk IV, the great-great-great grandson of Bishop-General Polk, was inducted into the Sons of Confederate Veterans during the ceremony. Francis Polk, 69, is provost of Ocean County College in New Jersey and came to Kennesaw for the event.

“It’s almost emotional for me to be here,” Francis Polk said. “This is the spot.”

The Rev. J.W. Binion, of Kentucky, portrays Polk at several Civil War events and was also on hand Saturday.

Binion called the spot “sacred ground,” and also recounted events from Polk’s life.

The ceremony featured blue flags with a red cross and white stars, which are known as Polk corps flags. They were also the flag of the Army of Tennessee, of which Polk’s corps was part.

Polk lived from April 10, 1806, to June 14, 1864. He was a second cousin of President James K. Polk and served as a bishop in the Episcopalian Church before and after becoming a general, according to O’Toole. After becoming a general, he became known as the Fighting Bishop.

“He was a fine, Christian warrior who died defending his homeland,” O’Toole said.

Among Polk’s accomplishments was founding The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. He envisioned it as a school to rival the best schools in the world, and O’Toole said he raised enough money for the school to give it a larger budget than the University of Georgia and the University of Virginia combined at the time.

O’Toole said Polk owned as many as 400 slaves, but he thought of them as people and helped found a church for them. Polk wished to free his slaves, O’Toole said, though he did not do so during his lifetime.

Polk was the West Point classmate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and became a general during the Civil War at Jefferson’s behest, despite not having entered the ministry immediately after having graduated from college.

O’Toole said Polk was very popular with his troops, who called him “Bishop Polk.”

The artillery shell that killed Polk was fired under the direction of Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

The property now sits on land owned by Marietta attorney Fred Bentley, Sr., who allowed the Sons of Confederate Veterans to use it for the ceremony.

A bugle was played both at the beginning and the end of the ceremony, and a line of rifles fired three times at its conclusion.

Afterward, a commemoration took place at Polk’s last headquarters, which stood on the present-date site of the Kirk House on Burnt Hickory Road in Marietta.

Comments
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LoveCobb
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June 16, 2014
Thanks for making us all uncomfortable. Don't worry, the 21st Century will be ready for you when you are finished pledging Allegiance to the Confederate flag. 400 slaves that he really wanted to set free and couldn't quite get around to it somehow.

Even if you do want to spend all of your spare time romanticizing your "cause", can you please pick a halfway decent military leader? This guy was one if the worst! He was insubordinate, lacked respect for his troops and lacked courage when given discretionary or direct orders to attack on numerous occasions.
Cobb Cynic
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June 16, 2014
How sad that something of this nature makes "YOU" feel "uncomfortable", lets hope it doesn't lead to therapy.....
Whose cause?
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June 16, 2014
Way to take a dump on the moment, LoveCobb. I had enjoyed the article until I saw where you had put your "mark" on it with your comments. Bet you are one MISERABLE person... Certainly, Polk had his "cause", but apparently you have your's too... Only someone whose cause was (to some degree) a factor in getting a certain president elected would use the phrase "making us all uncomfortable." We "all" thank you for that...
Southern Patriot
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June 17, 2014
LoveCobb should take his/her love somewhere north of the Mason-Dixie line, the sooner the better.
wonderin
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June 15, 2014
What is the pledge to the Confederate Flag? "Polk owned as many as 400 slaves but he thought of them as people". He was certainly ahead of his time. His last words were "I don't think the yankees can hit us from there".
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