Weekend Civil War Roadtrip around the SE US?
November 13, 2013 4:49 PM   Subscribe

We'd like to take a three-to-four day road trip originating and terminating in Atlanta, focusing on Civil War history this weekend. Looking for suggestions on sites and itinerary ideas.

My better half and I have 3-4 days to ourselves between now and this coming Monday (11/18). We're new to the Atlanta area (and the SE US in general) and would like to do a road trip to Civil War historical sites/monuments in our general area.

Neither of us are by any means Civil War buffs, but we love engaging American history (WDC is probably our favorite city to visit, and we've visited there many, many times just for the monuments and musea) and this is a part of US history and the US geographically that we haven't really explored.

We don't know what monuments there are around, which ones are especially "can't-miss" or which sites are completely unmarked. I think we're near where Chickamagua and Missionary Ridge happened, and a few hours away from Shiloh, but that's about it for my surface-level knowledge of CW military history.

We're looking for itinerary ideas originating from Atlanta, and returning here by Sunday night. Happy to stay in hotels/motels/etc. along the way. Would like to avoid sleeping in the Pirus.

Thanks for your input!
posted by stewiethegreat to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have specific recommendations, but here's a list of Civil War museums in Georgia and a list of Civil War battlefields in Georgia that includes maps (sometimes animated/narrated) and links to Google maps locations. Leave it for another day, but if this is your thing, you might like to see Stone Mountain sometime as a kitschy but relevant experience.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:10 PM on November 13, 2013

Savannah and Charleston are pretty obvious choices. Not the balmiest time of year to head to the coast, but Tybee (for Fort Pulaski) and Charleston (for Sumter and Moultrie) will be quieter than during the high season.

Closer to Atlanta, there's Andersonville.
posted by holgate at 5:21 PM on November 13, 2013

So depending on where you are, you may or may not be relatively close to the following:

- Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield
-Chicamauga Battlefield (near Chattanooga, really)
-Atlanta History Center (working Civil War Farm, a friend of mine is an actor there, it's awesome)
-Um, the Cyclorama is fucking awesome, I don't care what anyone says
-There are historic homes all over - like in Madison - but specifically around Atlanta there are three homes in Roswell, which are all well-maintained and staffed: Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall, and Smith Plantation. (My theater company performs at Barrington, I think it's the best, personally.) They refer to these as the "Southern Trilogy." It's a fun day to see them all and you can have some good food in Roswell (there are also nice parks in Roswell).
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:29 PM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I grew up in Roswell and can vouch for all of Medieval Maven's recommendations.

Regarding Roswell - There was a mill that was burned in Roswell when Union troops discovered Confederate clothing being made there. The incriminating buttons there marked with "CSA". Many women were rounded up and herded north, most of whom were never heard from again. The events were fictionalized in the books Turn Homeward Hannalee and The Roswell Women.

The NPS is your friend if you want to find some of the lesser-known sites as well.

For some fun, head into downtown Kennesaw and visit the Southern Locomotive History Museum, and read about Andrew's Raiders - a band of Union spies that stole a locomotive and headed north, intending to burn every bridge they crossed and cripple the supply lines. The confederates gave chase and eventually caught them. I won't spoil the ending. It was made into a Disney movie starring Fess Parker.

Some nice places to eat in Kennesaw, too. Trackside Grill for one. There used to be a great Thai place nearby as well. Skip Wild Man's Civil War Surplus and Herb Shop downtown. The guy who runs it is a white supremacist. And right on Main Street to boot! The city fathers must just love it.
posted by jquinby at 5:48 PM on November 13, 2013

Bring along or read beforehand Confederates in the Attic for ideas and insight.
posted by chaiminda at 5:59 AM on November 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Some 6,900 Confederate soldiers are buried at Oakland Cemetery in downtown Atlanta.

The only war memorial I know of that lists both Confederate and Union soldiers on the same plaque is at the Blount County, TN courthouse.

Lookout Mountain was the site of a fierce battle in the Chattanooga campaign and hosts a nice Civil War exhibit. Getting to it is lovely also, as you can ride the incline railway to the top, which has a commanding view of seven states and the Tennessee River.

And chaiminda has it right; you really should read Confederates in the Attic. I've lived in the South for twenty years and I'm a Civil War buff and this book informed my views on the post-conflict South more than any other.
posted by workerant at 8:36 AM on November 14, 2013

It sounds like you're going north rather than south of Atlanta. If you ever make the reverse trip, try Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, Florida (Pensacola). It's one of the few Federal bases in the Confederacy that never fell. It's also located in on the the most beautiful places in the world (I am biased, but google image search).
posted by syncope at 10:13 AM on November 14, 2013

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