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BATL Marks 148th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta

By Henry Bryant
This year’s event commemorating the historic Battle of Atlanta (BATL) will have more living history action and the unveiling of plans to restore the two monuments on the battlefield. BATL has expanded to a week of programs, including three separate author talks and book signings. It returns with van, bicycle, walking, and cemetery tours as well as the Doublequick 5K race, historic 8th Regiment band concert, and the Storytelling Festival, sprinkled across the battlefield, which is a 2- to 3-square-mile area.
The dates run from July 14 through July 22 with the big program day on July 21. Visitors should come to the BATL Headquarters at 447 Flat Shoals Avenue in the East Atlanta Village for tickets, maps, directions, and information. Details about all of the fun for the entire family can be found on or by calling 404-377-6148.
BATL Gala at East Lake Golf Club
This year the BATL Gala will be held on Friday, July 20 at 7:30pm at the impressive Neel Reid-designed East Lake Golf Club. Entertainment will be by the popular Joe Gransden and his Big Band Sound, who appear regularly at Café 290 in Sandy Springs. Honorary co-chairs of this year’s Gala are Teya Ryan, President and Executive Director of Georgia Public Television; Dr. Stan Deaton, Senior Historian of the Georgia Historical Society and host of the Georgia History Minute on GPBTV, and Dr. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. President Abraham Lincoln will make another trip south to attend the dinner this year, and the BATL organization will unveil plans for the restoration of the battlefield monuments at the Gala. A silent auction will benefit the Battle of Atlanta Monument Restoration Project as will the Gala itself.
The historic East Lake Golf Club was established in 1904 and was the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones. It is the only course in the world to have produced two British Amateur Champions: Bobby Jones and Charlie Yates. In 2005 the course was named the permanent home of the Tour Championship presented by Coca- Cola, which has featured Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and all of the world’s championship professional golfers.
During the Civil War, the club’s property was part of the Alston plantation. The Alston antebellum home Meadownook sits across the street from the golf course. At the turn of the century an amusement park opened on the site, and folks came from Atlanta and Decatur for a day in the country air. Soon the golf course was developed and the English Tudor-style clubhouse was built.
Visitors to the Gala will get a chance to sample a bit of history and enjoy a delicious dinner and fantastic entertainment. The menu will be southern with a cocktail party as a prelude to dinner. Attire is summertime dressy casual (shirts with collars, no t-shirts or tank tops). Tickets are $50 ($450 for a table of 10). There will be a cash bar.
BATL Author Presentations on Three Nights at Three Venues
This year there are three authors in an exciting lineup of free presentations examining flashpoints from Civil War to Civil Rights:
On July 16 at 7:00pm Jeffrey Haas (The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther) will be our distinguished civil rights author and will appear at the DeKalb History Center (in the old DeKalb Courthouse in Decatur Square). He will discuss his book, as well as his personal history and how it intertwined with Atlanta’s.
On July 18 Marc Wortman will talk about his book The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta at the Carter Library and Museum on Freedom Parkway in northeast Atlanta.
On July 22 Mark Auslander will be at the Cyclorama in historic Grant Park on Cherokee Avenue at 7:00pm to talk about his book The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisisting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family.
The BATL Doublequick 5K Race
On July 21 the 8th Annual BATL Doublequick, presented by the East Lake YMCA and Big Peach Running Company, reveals what “on the double” really means when racers run across the battlefield after the firing of authentic Civil War guns. The race has a start time of 8:30am Saturday beginning on the Trolley Line Trail Path in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood. Parking will be at Toomer Elementary School (65 Rogers Street) and on nearby streets. Finishing this friendly race will get participants one of the coveted Doublequick T-shirts. Registration is online at or on race morning at the park ($17 advance/$20 day of).
BATL Frontlines Living History Experience
The BATL Frontlines display area is one of the most popular features of BATL and has as its centerpiece over 80 feet of breastworks and an authentic cannon that fires on the hour. On Saturday, July 21, starting at 10:00am and going until 5:00pm, the Georgia Armory Guards Living History Soldiers will perform their daily activities with regular interpretive talks. East Atlanta neighbor David Furikawa will return as a Union medical officer with authentic battlefield surgical implements and an already bloody patient. Mothers and children in period garb will be on hand nearby to give visitors an idea of what home life was like in 1864. The Cavalry may even show up. The structures and frontlines trench works were built to match historic photos from the Library of Congress from the battle. Visitors are invited to get up close to speak and interact with people and scenery that will seem to have stepped out of 1864. At 10:30am and 11:00am respectively, soldiers will lay wreaths at the monuments for General Walker and General McPherson who were killed at these hallowed sites. The Frontlines programs are offered free of charge.
BATL Civil War To Civil Rights Living History Experience
Living history actors will also be on hand in the East Atlanta Village on July 21 to tell the story of Civil War to Civil Rights–1864-1964. Actors in authentic costumes portraying actual people from history will be under a tent in the East Atlanta Village next to BATL headquarters. They seem to step right out of history to tell their stories. This is particularly appropriate for the BATL event which promotes the idea that this neighborhood battlefield features layers of history extending before the battle and right up to today. President Abraham Lincoln, Ina Evans and her grandfather, Carrie Berrie, Georgia Governor Brown, Civil Rights Attorney Constance Baker Motley, Atlanta Black Crackers star Arthur Idlett, and US Army Major Perry Bennett are just a few of the folks to be seen. All of the living history talks and exhibits are offered free of charge.
BATL Tours
All BATL tours will depart from the East Atlanta Village near BATL Headquarters on July 21. Two different van tours–The Frontlines Tour and McPherson’s Last Ride Tour–as well as the Frontlines Walking Tour are regularly scheduled throughout the day. All of these tours are $15 in advance ($20 day of). They typically fill up soon and advance purchase is advised. There will also be free tours of East Atlanta’s Historic Sylvester Cemetery and Kirkwood’s Clay Family Cemetery. Also for free are twilight tours of Oakland Cemetery at 7:00pm on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22. Tickets are required for the free tours including the Twilight tours and are available on a first-come basis at BATL headquarters as well as on the BATL website.
A Bicycle Tour of the battlefield will leave the BATL headquarters on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, at 9:30am. Tickets are $25 for BYOBike and helmet, or $30 with bicycle and helmet provided.
On July 14 and 15 Historic Oakland Cemetery will offer a regular schedule of walking tours (including the special Jewish tour) leaving from the Oakland Office in the Bell Tower Building. Call 404-688-2107 for times and ticket prices.
The BATL Storytelling Festival–A Day of Exciting Tales for Young and Old
The BATL Storytelling Festival will be in session at East Atlanta Library starting at 10:00am on Saturday for children and adults of all ages. Sessions will be held at Kirkwood Library in the afternoon as well. Popular childrens’ book author Eric Litwin (the Pete The Cat series of books) will come with Pete’s favorite Civil War era tunes. President Abe Lincoln will make a rare appearance in Atlanta. B’rer Rabbit Folk Tales from the Wren’s Nest Rambler and stories of Andersonville from prison guard Robert Mable (Mableton) are just some of the highlights. The whole festival is offered free of charge, courtesy of various neighborhood sponsors. Seating will be limited, and the last stories begin at 4:00pm.
Tickets and more information are available online at
The Georgia Humanities Council, GPBTV, East Atlanta Beer Fest, Historic Oakland Cemetery Foundation, East Lake Family YMCA, Friends of East Atlanta Library, Atlanta History Center, Sylvester Cemetery Foundation, City of Atlanta (District 5), Dekalb History Center, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and Atlanta Preservation Center are assisting the BATL Organizing Committee made up of representatives from the battlefield neighborhood associations. Major sponsors include ScoutMob, Big Peach Running Company, Elise Ashpole, DDM, Midway Pub, Tomatillos, the East Atlanta Community Association, and the UPS Store on Monroe Drive.
Contact Henry Bryant at or 404-377-6148. Additional information is available at

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