“It is going to be administered by the Sons of Union Veterans and the Daughters of Union Veterans,” said Ray Wozniak, commander of the Elias Moon Camp No. 2 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, which is based in Gwinnett County. “We are expecting about 80 people, mostly from Northern states. ... Since 2008, we’ve dedicated monuments to Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio. Wisconsin will be the last [Union monument], because the project’s idea is to have a monument from each one of the states — six Southern and five Northern — that had troops at the Battle of Allatoona Pass and to make these monuments depict the shape of the state. So it’s kind of educational as well as historical.
“... Allatoona Pass is a pristine battlefield. It has the trenches and forts and the railway cut. It was a big deal at the time it was fought because that’s where the term ‘hold the fort’ comes from, [which] we use all the time. But it was consumed in the bigger events of the fall of Atlanta and the March to the Sea. So it kind of got shoved to the side and was just sitting here for [more than 100 years] without anybody really paying much attention to it. We feel it’s important to point out that there were heroes on both sides who shed their blood for what they felt was right and that the Union victory at Allatoona Pass freed [Union Gen. William] Sherman up to march to the sea, which was a large part of the Union victory, which kept our country together.”
The Battle of Allatoona Pass occurred 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.
According to the Etowah Valley Historical Society’s website, http://evhsonline.org, the battle consisted of 5,301 soldiers — 2,025 Union and 3,276 Confederate — and resulted in 1,603 casualties, where men were either killed, missing or wounded. Six Confederate and five Union states participated in the battle, including Missouri, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio.
Since taking over the site’s operations about seven years ago, Red Top Mountain State Park continues to lean on the guidance of EVHS members, who had maintained the battlefield and made it more accessible for the public from the early 1990s to October 2007. Under Red Top’s management, the site’s hiking trails have been revamped and about 25 interpretive signs along the paths have been replaced with sturdier markers and more detailed messages.
Along with unveiling the Wisconsin monument, Sunday’s dedication program also will consist of wreaths being placed at each Union monument and the scattering of soil from each particular state.
“We are charged with protecting and enhancing the heritage of Bartow County,” EVHS Co-president Joanne Smith said in a released statement. “Our organization has been involved at this Battlefield since 1993. We’ve helped to transformed what was once an overgrown wilderness area into a visitor friendly park which hosts hundreds of visitors each year. Today, the Etowah Valley Historical Society serves in an advisory role to Red Top Mountain State Park, having passed responsibility for this battlefield to the State of Georgia in 2007.
“Our Society’s goal is to have one monument for each state represented in the battle, a total of eleven in all. With the addition of Wisconsin on Sunday, only one monument remains, Louisiana. That monument has been funded and we hope to have it installed by the 150th anniversary of the battle on October 5th. We are so appreciative [of] all the many donors that contributed to the Memorial Park.”
For more information about the Battle of Allatoona Pass, visit http://evhsonline.org. Further details about Sunday’s dedication ceremony can be obtained by emailing Wozniak at firstname.lastname@example.org.