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Annual Battle Commemoration Set

By Henry Bryant

In the opening moments of the Battle of Atlanta in July 1864 one Confederate General was shot from his horse by a Union sharpshooter, and one Union General was killed at close range, shot from his horse when he refused to halt. These actions took place behind Union lines within a very short time span and less than a mile apart.

The Battle of Atlanta Commemoration Organization (BATL) deferred planning a wreath-laying ceremony in conjunction with this year’s 155th anniversary of the Civil War battle which happened largely in East Atlanta, SAND, and other nearby neighborhoods. The short but moving ceremonies have taken place at local monuments over the last 15 years. Since monument restoration has been put on hold by the city of Atlanta, the monuments will still be standing on July 22 when the historic event took place.

There will be two wreath-laying ceremonies on July 27 to commemorate the battle, one at each of the bookend monuments. The first wreath will be laid at the Walker Monument at 10:00am on Glenwood Avenue near the east side of the I-20 bridge. The other wreath will be laid at 10:45am at the McPherson Monument located at Monument Avenue and McPherson Avenue.

There will also be a Frontlines tour at 10:00am on that Saturday. The tour will end at the McPherson Monument for the wreath-laying ceremony to mark the battle’s anniversary. Advance tickets are required for the tour. They are available for $15 online and sales will close on the day before each tour at 6:00pm. The commemoration ceremonies in July will be free. Later in August, there will be a Civil War Starts Here tour. Watch for an announcement in the August Porch Press or go to the BATL website at

The nonprofit BATL organization has sponsored a weeklong Battle of Atlanta Commemoration each July in the ten years leading up to the Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) in 2014. Since then, the organization has concentrated on offering monthly tours of the battlefield and restoring the two battlefield monuments. Working with the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office and the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, a preservation assessment was completed documenting the history and condition of the monuments. A plan for restoration was developed and approved by the relevant neighborhood organizations, the Atlanta Parks department, and the Atlanta City Council. The PATH Foundation developed a Battle of Atlanta Trail that has been funded by the federal government which has moved beyond the planning stages. With any luck, construction can still begin soon on all of this.

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