05 April 2012

Then and Now: Allatoona Pass and Battlefield

The town of Allatoona, in Bartow County, was a travel hub prior to the Civil War. Wagon roads converged there, where ridges came together for an "easy" crossing of the Allatoona mountains. In 1864, the Battle of Allatoona was fought between Confederate and Union soldiers. More than 1,500 men lost their lives, some being buried on the battlefield.

I visited this battlefield about a year ago, and it is amazing how little has changed in these almost 150 years. Though the land was reclaimed by the forest, the battlefield is easy to view with the still standing plantation home, deep railroad cut, easily traveled old wagon road, visible trenches, and defined Star Fort.

In 1866, photographer George N. Barnard captured an image of the town and railroad. I found it on an informational marker maintained by Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites:

"The plantation residence on the far left is the John Clayton (now
Mooney) House.  This privately owned structure looks much the
same today as in the Barnard photograph.  Pictured immediately left
of the railroad tracks stood the Allatoona train depot.  Across the
tracks were the warehouses and sheds in which large quantities of
Federal supplies were stored at the time of the battle.  Built to
defend the railroad below, the Star Fort is visible atop the hill on the
left.  The Tennessee Wagon Road winds northward up and over the
hill to right."
I wish I would have thought to attempt to recapture an image at the same angle as Barnard's, but I didn't. I did get a couple of nice photos, though. The first is of the 1830 Clayton-Mooney Home, and the second is of the deep cut where the Western & Atlantic railroad once ran.


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