The History of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
In 1864, the Civil War had been raging on for three years. Determined to end the fighting, Union General William T. Sherman launched the Atlanta Campaign to destroy the Confederate Army and its supply operations. The battle that Sherman called “the hardest fight of the campaign up to that date,” took place on June 27, 1864, in the shadow of Kennesaw Mountain.
The battle between Union and Confederate armies impacted the very land itself. Soldiers cut down trees and turned fields of grass into patches of exposed clay, which became thick pools of mud when it rained. While Union forces lost the battle, Confederate General Leonidas Polk was killed in the fighting, and the battle failed to halt Sherman’s march on Atlanta.
Today, the site where Union and Confederate forces clashed is preserved as Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (NBP). There are still artifacts from the battle at the park today. Keep in mind that if you find any artifacts, leave them behind or turn them into the visitor center. It’s against federal law to hunt for or remove artifacts from national parks.
Though Kennesaw Mountain NBP is best known as a battlefield, the park has so much more to offer visitors today. Guests can drive to the top of the mountain or take a shuttle on weekends to play and picnic in designated areas or enjoy a hike on the 22 miles of maintained trails. Bird-watchers also have good reason to flock to Kennesaw Mountain NBP. Designated as a globally important bird area, the park is a prime natural migration habitat in the spring and fall.
Kennesaw Mountain NBP is a very special national park, preserving both our national history and the natural beauty of the state of Georgia. Whether you’re touring the park museum, chatting with park rangers, or picnicking with the family, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is worth visiting this summer.