By Henry Bryant
Although The Battle of Atlanta (BATL) figured prominently in the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864, the 16th President of the United States never visited our brash young Confederate city, until now. Mr. Lincoln is coming to town to help commemorate the 147th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta. Noted performance artist Dennis Boggs will be portraying the Civil War president at several venues in the modern day neighborhoods that are located on the historic battlefield in southeast Atlanta.
The BATL event is held each year near the time of the actual battle (July 22, 1864) in the place where it happened. This year most of the programs will be centered on Saturday, July 16. Visitors will be able to dine with the President on Friday night at the BATL Gala Dinner at East Lake Golf Club. On Saturday he will be at The BATL Story Telling Fest for two special presentations of “Meet Mr. Lincoln” at the East Atlanta and Kirkwood Libraries. He will also be in East Atlanta Village, in the afternoon, in the Civil War to Civil Rights Tent to discuss his feelings about the Emancipation Proclamation. Visitors can catch him in the Village at a post-election campaign stop for photos and personal visits at various times throughout the day.
Mr. Boggs has spent countless hours researching the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and is well-versed to present a look at the life of this historic figure as might have been told by Abraham Lincoln himself. From his birth in the wilderness of Kentucky, to early years in Indiana and Illinois; from storekeeper to self taught lawyer to politician, through his years as President, the Civil War, and his re-election after the capture of Atlanta, and his death at Ford’s Theatre – the story will come to life.
At 6’4” Mr. Boggs as tall as Abraham Lincoln and his hosts at the BATL event have been concerned about providing lodgings for the man who re-enacts the tallest of our presidents. “We think we have that covered,” said organizing committee member Stephanie Parker, “and Mr. Boggs is very accommodating.” The height is only part of the resemblance. From his face to his overall countenance, Mr. Boggs, who is from Tennessee, captures the essence of Mr. Lincoln. He has won awards for his portrayals and many have said that he actually becomes Abraham Lincoln.
The BATL event encompasses several days of programs, many free to the public, and with a variety designed to please the entire family. Living History, Battlefield, and Cemetery tours; Author Talks, Storytelling, Book Programs; an 8th Regiment Brass Band Concert in period attire; Food Tasting; A Gala Party at Historic East Lake Golf Club; and a 5K Doublequick Race across the Battlefield take place at various locations in the 3-square-mile area where the battle actually took place. More information on all of the fun activities is available at www.batlevent.org.
Mr. Lincoln (Dennis Boggs) and the other talented storytellers are sponsored by The Georgia Humanities Council; Dr. Elise Ashpole, dentist; East Atlanta Community Association; The Friends of East Atlanta Library; Worth Every Dollar Appraisals; and others.
Lincoln Visits Atlanta
By Henry Bryant