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Civil War Trenches

By Scott Petersen
The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta is coming up soon, which among many things means the massive system of trenches and earth works created by a certain General Walker are 150 years old as well. In zip code 30316, there are more short streets named after Walker – Walker Way, Walker Court, and other varieties of Walker – than any other single Civil War figure. Old Fort Walker in the southeast corner of Grant Park was named after the General who scouted the site, then dug miles and miles of trenches to force the Union soldiers to flank around the disruptive structure for the Battle of Atlanta. The Union general that came upon the colossal system called it Entrenchment Creek.
Most, but not all, of these trenches are gone – in fact, several were destroyed in just the last few years. A nice collection remains across 30316 and over the Chattahoochee River, close by Nickajack Creek. They are covered in blackberry bramble, close to creeks and old wagon roads. Probably less than 20 percent of them remain, and they are difficult to find. I have found some outstanding sites of this earthen network that were carved into the land 150 years ago, but it will be unlikely they will see their 200th anniversary. I can’t say how long they will last, but if you want to dig out your hiking boots I will show you the last of these amazing Civil War trenches.
These historic American ruins could be connected by a well-designed, regional bicycle route. Many other cities and states have taken positive actions to save American history carved in the earth, and a city as progressive as Atlanta needs to follow suit. You can reach me at

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