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Atlanta and Battle Commemoration Organization Receive Preservation Grant

By Henry Bryant
Atlanta is one of 10 communities in the state of Georgia to receive a federally funded grant for historic preservation projects beginning in May. The grant, from the FFY2011 Historic Preservation Fund to The City of Atlanta, is for $13,685 for assessments of the two Civil War monuments on the Battle of Atlanta battlefield in southeast Atlanta. An additional $9,123.33 in matching funds will be raised and provided by BATL-The Battle of Atlanta Commemoration Organization to complete this planning project. The Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources awarded the grant.
The monuments are both over 100 years old and were placed at the sites where two generals were killed in the Battle of Atlanta, which took place on the hot afternoon of July 22, 1864. Respected Union General, James B. McPherson, was surprised and shot behind his own frontlines in what is today East Atlanta. Georgia native and Confederate General William H.T. Walker was surprised and shot while leading his forces across the backwaters of Terry’s Millpond in today’s Kirkwood and East Atlanta neighborhoods. The two monuments sit in two City of Atlanta pocket parks and are often visited by civil war historians and tourists, especially in this Sesquicentennial Year of the Civil War.
While planning for last year’s annual commemoration event and wreath laying ceremonies at the monuments, the representatives of the BATL organization became alarmed at their condition. BATL had hoped to do some cosmetic repair on the monuments in cooperation with the City Parks Department, but discovered some serious structural and wear and tear issues at both sites. With the city’s help, an application for the grant was filed to pay for the first step necessary to restore and preserve the monuments. The grant will be supervised by the State Historic Preservation Division, monitored by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, and administered by the non profit BATL organization.
“One hundred years of acid rain and the challenges of the sites as the city grew up around them have damaged the metal and stone of these pieces of history, and leave us with the threat of losing them,” said BATL chair Henry Bryant.
Money from the grant and matching funds will pay for conservators to examine the monuments and make recommendations to stabilize and restore them. Research will have to be done to establish a timeline and document the history of the monuments with words and pictures. Engineering and architectural work will be necessary to develop a plan for restoration.
This year’s BATL commemoration, with lots of free programs including wreath-laying ceremonies at the monuments and tours of the battlefield, will be held on Saturday, July 16. More information about the several days of programming is available at
These grants are provided through the Historic Preservation Fund from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, and are administered by the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Each year, Georgia’s 78 Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are eligible to apply for these matching 60% federal and 40% local grants. For Certified Local Government eligibility, a city or county must have passed a preservation ordinance and have established a historic preservation commission. Atlanta is one of Georgia’s Certified Local Governments. For information on HPD’s historic preservation grant programs, contact Carole Moore at 404-463-8434 or via email at

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