150 - Park visitors remember ‘hallowed ground’ as battle sesquicentennial gets underway
by Sarah Westwood
June 27, 2014 04:00 AM | 4576 views | 2 2 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Federal re-enactment troop detachment fires a volley as part of the opening ceremonies of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. <br> Staff/Jeff Stanton
A Federal re-enactment troop detachment fires a volley as part of the opening ceremonies of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
People gathered at a ceremony at the base of Kennesaw Mountain on Thursday night were asked to remember the somber nature of the event they were there to commemorate. “Remember those who were here 150 years ago,” said Nancy Walther, the park’s superintendent, in her opening remarks. “Remember this is hallowed ground.”

The ceremony was the first in a series of events that last through Sunday marking 150 years since the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

Brent Everitt, spokesman for the National Park Service, said he hoped tens of thousands of people would filter in and out of the many events they had planned for the three days of festivities.

The weekend’s activities will include medicine demonstrations, museum tours and ranger talks, Everitt said.

“We’re just super excited to welcome people and get this thing underway that we’ve been working so hard to get planned,” Everitt said of the ceremony.

He noted the Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club put in much of the effort organizing the event.

Anne Strand, the trail club’s secretary, said she hoped the weekend would offer something every visitor could enjoy.

“There are hikes for hikers. There’s history for the history buffs. There’s civilian life for people who want to know how people lived back in the 1860s,” Strand said.

According to Strand, her organization is providing about 350 volunteers to assist the about 50 park rangers who traveled to Kennesaw from all over the county to serve at the commemoration.

The trail club maintains the park’s trails regularly, she said, and recently completed work on the new 24 Gun Battery Trail.

Walther highlighted the trail club’s efforts, which have been underway for well over a year, during her opening remarks.

She said the event could not have been possible without the more than $100,000 the trail club raised in donations.

“I’m just excited to see everyone come together after all the planning and all the activity,” Strand said before the opening ceremony.

She estimated 200 people had gathered on the field to usher in the festivities, which concluded with a three-volley salute fired by a coterie of Union-clad re-enactors.

Elected officials such as Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, Marietta Councilman Philip Goldstein and Kennesaw Councilman Jim Sebastian joined community members for the evening of speeches and music, played by the 8th Regiment Band of the Georgia Volunteer Infantry.

“It’s a true honor to be able to be here during the 150th anniversary,” said Kennesaw Councilman Tim Killingsworth, who attended the opening ceremony. “As a veteran, I reflect back for all American veterans and it’s a passion of mine, honoring others.”

The events marking the 150th birthday of the Confederate victory at Kennesaw Mountain and Cheatham Hill will last until a closing ceremony Sunday at 5 p.m.

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A. DeWitt
June 27, 2014
To say the least, the opening ceremony fell short of exciting and invigorating the crowd about the people, places, and things of 1864. How can there be an opening ceremony WITHOUT the mention of: (1) Big Shanty, (2) the Lacy Hotel, (3) both flags of 1864, (4) Camp McDonald, (5) the Georgia Military Institute, and (6) slavery? From where I was seated, there was the visual of smoke without the soldiers firing the canon. The program mentioned Civil Rights. Have we become so desensitized to the feelings of others that it is acceptable to omit a speech from a descendant of a CSA soldier on the program? No disrespect, however, I would have preferred to hear a descendant of the 42nd Georgia Regiment as the keynote of the ceremony to share the history of what it was like for his/her ancestor to travel from Oxford, Georgia, to Big Shanty, and over to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Move the audience to want to come back and walk in the footsteps of soldiers. What is the value of preserving historical trails without context? Why wasn't there a descendant of a slave on the opening program to speak of the "day in the life" of his/her ancestor in 1864? Or did history evacuate Big Shanty on June 9, 1864 with the removal of the Lacy FAMILY from their hotel by the Union Army? And finally, where was the barefoot CSA re-enactor to remind us that the war was about ordinary people of all races who arose from the ashes as a Phoenix?
DeWitt Response
June 27, 2014
Agree! I would find it more interesting to hear the stories coming from the descendants too. It is amazing the amount of death and destruction which occurred here in Cobb. It is also amazing how the gene pool has changed because of the Civil War. I am grateful my ancestor made it through alive and continued his family after the war. it is important to hear battle stories surrounding the Atlanta campaign, understand the suffrage, realize sleep deprivation occurred, dehydration, and death. It is also important to realize the connection with death and GOD and how, for instance, my ancestor prepared himself for death at ever engagement. His letters portrayed struggle, suffrage, exhaustion, and remorse for lost friends and family. As well as a realization the south had lost and prevent his son from joining until the fighting had finished.
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