Battle of Atlanta

Civil War Tipping Point

On July 22, 1864, a massive battle raged in the modern-day neighborhoods of Inman Park, Reynoldstown, Edgewood, Candler Park, Kirkwood, East Atlanta and Grant Park. The battle's front line followed Flat Shoals Road and Moreland Avenue and stretched from East Atlanta Village to the Inman Park MARTA station.

During the fateful encounter, some 70,000 troops engaged in fierce hand-to-hand combat. By the time the sun set that day, eyewitnesses reported seeing a "river of blood" flowing down Bald Hill, which stood where the eastbound exit ramp from I-20 to Moreland Avenue is today. The 9-hour battle, which resulted in 9,200 casualties, would claim the lives of two major generals: James Birdseye McPherson (USA, 35 years old) and William Henry Talbot Walker (CSA, 47 years old).

Troup Hurt House, Atlanta Cyclorama (photo by ATLsherpa)

General William Tucumseh Sherman, commanding officer of the Union Army (USA), watched the battle unfold from his vantage point where the Carter Center stands today. General John Bell Hood, commanding officer of the Confederate States Army (CSA) watched it from the home of Atlanta Mayor James Calhoun, which was located on the highest point of what is now Historic Oakland Cemetery.

Some of the most intense fighting took place late that afternoon in an area known as the "Railroad Cut," which was located where the Inman Park MARTA station stands today. That specific scene was immortalized in the historic painting known as the Atlanta Cyclorama, which now lives at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.

The purpose of this educational website is to help participants understand what happened that day and place it in context with modern-day Atlanta. It is not to celebrate or honor anyone or anything in any way.

Tipping point in the American Civil War...

As a strategic military hub, the fall of Atlanta virtually ensured that the Confederate States Army would be unable to prevail over the Union Army in a war that had already raged on for over three years; a war that would eventually result in over one million casualties (3% of the U.S. population) and over 600,000 soldier deaths.

The Union victory in Atlanta also changed public sentiment in the “North,” which led to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln in November 1864. Had Lincoln lost that election, the United States of America may have taken a very different path than it did.

Grand national union banner for 1864. Liberty, union and victory

Exploration Map

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