Atlanta's Civil War


Civil War in Georgia, Week 18: The Battle of Jonesboro

Civil War in Georgia, Week 18: The Battle of Jonesboro

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A Confederate soldier manning the fortifications surrounding Atlanta wrote of the surprise in learning the Federals had vacated the earthworks outside the city: “No one seems to know what the enemy intends to do, whether he is retreating or on another flank movement. If the latter, he has never taken his whole army with him; therefore, it looks like a retreat. I suppose Gen. Hood knows.”

Gen. John Bell Hood, commanding the Army of Tennessee, did not yet fully apprehend the meaning of the Federal maneuvers away from Atlanta.


Georgia Civil War calendar of 150th events

A sampling of Civil War 150th anniversary events in the coming weeks. For more on the Civil War in Georgia, follow the AJC: and


DECATUR: AJC Decatur Book Festival Civil War Track: “Atlanta at War,” 10 a.m., Marriott Conference Center Ballroom B. Daniel Cone, Stephen Davis and Robert Jenkins and moderator Anthony Knight delve deeply into Atlanta’s Civil War history and the events that impact the city — and this country — to the present day.


'Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy'

Woman undercover

By July 4, Franklin Thompson had been a Union soldier for six weeks, undergoing basic training in the Federal capital and waiting for orders to march on Virginia. He’d never expected to join an army or fight in a war — although a sharpshooter, he had yet to aim his gun at a man — but when President Lincoln called for volunteers, he posed the question to God, who made the decision for him.

Frank, as he preferred to be called, always believed that God was with him, protecting him even during — perhaps especially during — his transgressions. At night, after taps at 9 p.m., when the last light was extinguished and the last voice silenced, his mind sometimes conjured his most recent and serious trespass: the afternoon, six weeks earlier, when he took his place in line at Fort Wayne in Detroit, waiting for his turn with the medical examiner.

War In Our Backyards: The story of 1864 Atlanta

War In Our Backyards: The story of 1864 Atlanta CLICK HERE TO BEGIN YOUR EXPERIENCE

"I had no idea so many people were killed in my neighborhood."

That quote, uttered from a newsroom staffer as he looked at a Civil War battle map at the Atlanta History Center, was the genesis behind the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s interactive project War In Our Backyards.


The General

Museum gets more Locomotive Chase items

The photograph of James J. Andrews, Union spy, shows a young man with an Amish-style beard and a smoldering glare.

It was taken in the early 1860s, around the same time he and a bold party of federal soldiers and civilians stole a locomotive called the General in Big Shanty, Ga., (also called Kennesaw) and raced for Chattanooga, Tenn., cutting telegraph lines and attempting to destroy tracks along the way.

It was a daring raid behind enemy lines, but a failure.

» Special section: Atlanta's Civil War | Interactive: War in our backyards

History Center gives fuller picture of Cyclorama’s missing pieces

Restoring the Cyclorama’s missing pieces

Since plans for the move of the Cyclorama from Grant Park to the Atlanta History Center were announced in late July, Gordon Jones has responded to countless questions about the anticipated restoration of the massive 1886 painting, especially the planned re-creation of parts removed in 1921.

The pressing need for conservation, then estimated at $8 million, led Mayor Kasim Reed to impanel an advisory group in 2011 to suggest ways to secure the future of the 365-foot panoramic painting that depicts the Battle of Atlanta.

This Atlanta writer is “Done With The Wind”

This Atlanta writer is “Done With The Wind”


I have a confession. Until last week I had never seen “Gone With The Wind.”

I have lived in Atlanta since 1997 and have constantly been reminded of this so-called cinematic classic, considered by many to be a masterpiece.

But I purposely avoided it because I didn’t want to succumb to a glorified version of the genteel Old South in exchange for painful racial stereotypes and the human oppression that created it.

ATlanta History Center

Confederate collection speaks volumes in history center exhibit

Standing amid the new exhibition “Confederate Odyssey: The George W. Wray Collection,” Atlanta History Center senior military historian Gordon Jones is surrounded by many weapons of battlefield destruction — rows of rifles, swords and bayonets, four cannons, ammunition.

Yet it’s a modest handmade coat in the middle of all this armament that commands Jones’ attention and causes him to pull closer.

>> See more photos of the Confederate artifacts exhibit

>> Find out more about the Battle of Atlanta and the Civil War

>> Find out about Battle of Atlanta events around town

The Civil War destroyed — and re-created — Atlanta

Image 1: the Five Points MARTA station, where thousands of people exit and enter daily.

Image 2: wooden buildings, side by side like boxes on a shelf, with a sign “AUCTION & NEGRO SALES.”

Both photos were taken from the same spot. A century-and-a-half separate them. It would take a war to dismantle one business and lay the groundwork for the other.

Race and war themes of disconnected show

Race and war themes of disconnected show

Race is not an issue many contemporary art exhibitions in Atlanta tackle. Perhaps the topic is still too volatile and divisive for artists to broach even in the contemporary South, and for that reason, “Art Against the Wall” at Gallery 72 in downtown Atlanta is a welcome effort to grapple with history and race.

The newly opened Gallery 72 occupies the ground floor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s former downtown offices, which now house the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.


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(Left: Amy Glennon, AJC Publisher)

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