|Synopsis:General John Bell Hood led the Army of Tennessee north, trying to retake the Western and Atlantic Railroad that ran between Chattanooga and Atlanta. General William Tecumseh Sherman brought troops in from Rome to hold the lightly defended pass. On October 5, 1864 they met on a bloody battlefield at the top of the mountain.|
The South was near defeat in the waning days of the Civil War. Hood's plan was to attack Sherman's rear, severing the Union general's all-weather lifeline, the Western and Atlantic Railroad, then destroying the army that had wrecked havoc on the Army of Tennessee during the Atlanta Campaign One good place to achieve this goal was the pass through the Allatoona Mountains east of Cartersville. If Hood could block the pass, moving a train through would be impossible. Without food, Hood theorized, Sherman's army would be forced to retreat.
Overview of the Allatoona Pass
Detailed account of Allatoona Pass
Visiting the site
Begin by following the interpreted path into Allatoona Pass. The steep walls of this man-made gorge were dug by slave labor in the 1830's. From the pass you may climb either side or continue straight, where the grave of the unknown soldier is located. The body was exhumed and reburied by the Western and Atlantic Railroad when they reworked the track in the area.
As you return to the pass, you are looking at the path of the Confederate assault, which move up the hill to a star fort at the top of the right-hand side. A set of stairs leads to a path to the fort. Inside the star fort, interpretive signs tell the story of the battle. You may also take a few minutes to climb the other side of Allatoona Pass, where additional entrenchments exist.
Returning to the parking lot at Old Allatoona Road we spent a few minutes looking at the historic buildings in the area. The parking lot, and the dyke that creates Lake Allatoona is where warehouses were built to hold the food for Union troops in Marietta and Atlanta. These were additional targets of the assault on the star fort. Across the street is the Mooney/Clayton House, which was used as a field hospital during the battle. Nearby is a marker that indicates the site of burial of 21 Confederate soldiers who were killed in the fighting at the Pass.
After we completed our journey, we prepared to leave and realized that the parking lot was very poorly designed. Exiting the site was difficult.
Our friends at Georgia Trails have an informational page about area hiking at Allatoona Pass