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Just south of Chattanooga lies the Chattanooga-Chickamauga National Military Park, the oldest and largest of its kind in the U.S. Formed as a result of the war’s veteran reunion from both sides of the conflict, this site is a poignant reminder of the conflict that ensued on the very grounds. Following a stop at the visitor center, a step-on guide will lead you through the park with stops along the way for exploration and reflection. Lunch at the Gordon/Lee Mansion in nearby historic Chickamauga followed by a visit to Lee and Gordon’s Mill. After a quick stop at the Georgia Winery, drive through historic downtown Ringgold as the story unfolds to the start of the Atlanta Campaign. Next, take a walking tour through the 1850 Western and Atlantic Railroad Tunnel and Heritage Center along the route of the Great Locomotive Chase. The adjacent Clisby Austin House was where Sherman stayed while planning the Atlanta Campaign.
Dine that evening at the Dalton Depot Restaurant where the engine Texas dropped off a messenger to telegraph ahead about the stolen General. End your evening with a guided tour of Dalton’s West Hill Cemetery, which includes the Confederate Cemetery and Memorial Wall.
Start with a visit to Resaca, site of the first major battle of the Atlanta Campaign. Fort Wayne Civil War Historic Site and Resaca Battlefield Historic Site feature well-preserved original parade grounds, entrenchments, and Van Den Corput’s battery. End at Resaca Confederate Cemetery, the resting place for over 400 of the soldiers that died during the battle. All three are open daily dawn until dusk and admission is free. Then make your way to Rome for a tour of the Myrtle Hill Cemetery where almost 400 Confederate and Union troops are buried. The tour continues with a visit to the Rome Area History Museum. Following lunch, head to Adairsville to tour the ruins of Barnsley Gardens Resort and learn how the war affected this affluent family. During October, Adairsville hosts the Great Locomotive Chase Festival, the site where Captain Fuller boarded the Texas in pursuit of the General.
Head over to the town of Kingston, site of the nation’s first observance of Confederate Memorial Day, the History Museum, and McCravey-Johnson House where the last surrender of Confederate troops east of the Mississippi was carried out. As you enter Cartersville, make your way to downtown for an easy walk to the Bartow History Center and Booth Western Art Museum with its impressive display of the War Is Hell Civil War gallery. Following lunch, tour the site of the Battle of Allatoona and Cooper’s Iron Works at Red Top Mountain State Park.
Make your way to Dallas for Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site, reputed to be one of the best preserved in the nation. Follow with a tour of the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw and the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Head to downtown Marietta for tours of the Marietta National Cemetery, Brumby Hall and Gardens.
For information about all Civil War sites in Northwest Georgia, visit blueandgraytrail.com