Butkovich pens 'The Battle of Allatoona Pass'
by Marie Nesmith
Jun 25, 2014 | 1153 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Through “The Battle of Allatoona Pass,” author Brad Butkovich embraced the opportunity to explore Cartersville’s “hidden gem” and delve into the history of the lesser-known Civil War skirmish. Along with obtaining access to unpublished materials, the Lilburn resident immersed himself in the facts surrounding the battle to reveal how the event unfolded and the stories of the soldiers who fought in this high-casualty conflict.

“I’ve always been drawn to overlooked and under-reported history or facts,” Butkovich said. “Take the Civil War, for example. How many books have been published on the Battle of Gettysburg? Several hundred, if not a thousand or more? And what of the small battle in the western theater at Allatoona? Three, and two of them are privately published and not very detailed. That doesn’t include my new book on the battle. The subject of my previous book, the Battle of Pickett’s Mill, had only one book length study in the past 40 years. So I love researching and writing about what others, for the most part, have not.

“The condition of the modern battlefield is another factor that inspires me. There is nothing more thrilling to me than getting out on a well-preserved battlefield and walking the ground. While I certainly enjoy reading, even researching battles, such as Peachtree Creek, Gilgal Church or Atlanta, there’s nothing left of them. If you visit the battlefields now, you are either standing on asphalt among concrete buildings, or walking streets in a suburban subdivision. It’s difficult to let your imagination, your appreciation for history, soar when a car horn blares in the background. The battleground at Allatoona is largely untouched and appears almost as it was in 1864. You can walk the trails, or sit in the Star Fort and just imagine what it was like 150 years ago. That feeling resonates with me, whether enjoying the history in solitude, or teaching others on a tour or visit.”

He continued, “None of this would have happened, at least in the case of Allatoona Pass, if it had not been for the late author Bill Scaife. His series of books on the Atlanta Campaign and Allatoona, released in the 1990s, left an indelible impression on me. His blending of history and good maps fired my imagination, and led me to discover and explore many of these battlefields.”

Published June 24, 2014, by The History Press, “The Battle of Allatoona Pass” is included among the publishing company’s series regarding the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

“The History Press Civil War Sesquicentennial Series offers thoroughly researched, accessible accounts of the war rarely covered outside the academic realm,” said Adam Ferrell, publisher for The History Press. “The series explores a range of topics from influential but lesser-known battles and campaigns to the local and regional impact of the war’s figures — whether celebrated generals or common soldiers.

“Brad published ‘The Battle of Pickett’s Mill’ with The History Press in 2013, and we were excited about working with this local author again. Brad’s writing is accessible and is crafted in a way that Civil War enthusiasts and casual readers alike will enjoy.”

The Battle of Allatoona Pass occurred Oct. 5, 1864, nearly a month after the fall of Atlanta when the Confederate Army tried to destroy the Union’s supply line, the Western and Atlantic Railroad at Allatoona Pass. The railroad was cut into the Allatoona Mountain range in the 1840s and was about 360 feet long and a maximum of 175 feet deep.

“Small battles, such as Allatoona Pass, are usually rife with untold personal stories and surprising facts,” Butkovich said. “For example, more than one source related the discovery of a woman fighting in the ranks of the rebel Missouri brigade at the battle. She was wounded and captured, and was only discovered to be a woman after the Union surgeons tended her. One source mentions she lost her wounded leg to amputation. I also discovered that at least two free African-Americans fought for the Union during the battle. Both took up rifles and fought alongside their comrades in blue. One even engaged in hand-to-hand combat with an ax.

“One of my favorite things about writing history is meeting new people and discovering new stories. Almost at the last minute, the great-granddaughter of a Confederate colonel killed in the battle contacted me with letters providing a more detailed account of how her ancestor died. The prevailing history had him killed immediately while charging the Star Fort. In fact, the letters revealed he was carried from the field and died in a secluded glen. One of his last words were, “tell my wife I loved her to the last.” As a historian, uncovering new research like this is thrilling. As a husband and father, his final words still move me every time I read them.”

In covering the subject of the Battle of Allatoona Pass, Butkovich hopes his book will enlighten and inspire others to appreciate historical aspects of their local surroundings.

“Regardless of the politics of the era, or even our modern views on the subject, the soldiers and civilians who fought there showed courage, honor and fidelity to their cause,” he said, referring to the Battle of Allatoona Pass. “I hope readers gain an appreciation for what happened at Allatoona Pass. Not just for the military history aspect, but also for the men and women who fought there as well.

“... People should appreciate and enjoy their local history. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Civil War or not. Maybe the local barber shop used to be a hidden speakeasy in the 1930s. Or perhaps the two story building you drive by every day used to be an inn along a pioneer trail when the state was young. Allatoona Pass is a hidden gem that has a rich history. I hope readers come away with an understanding of the struggle and sacrifice that occurred there, and take the time to go out and visit. Whether it’s to understand the battle further, or just to enjoy a walk out into nature, it’s well worth the time.”

Retailing at $19.99, “The Battle of Allatoona Pass” is available online as a paperback and e-book at websites, such as www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. For more information, visit www.historypress.net or the book’s Facebook page.