The Battle of Allatoona Pass Field Trip by the Georgia National Guard Historical Society
Georgia National Guard Historical Society President, Jerry Pellegrini, led a Saturday morning tour on 11 Oct 2014 of the Allatoona Pass battlefield for members and guests of the GNGHS. It was a very stormy and rainy morning and only a few souls braved the weather, including GNGHS Board member Eric Tedder, GANG PAO officer CPT William Carraway, GANG officer LTC Phil Botwinik, and retired GANG Cmd. Historian Rich Elwell. Major Pellegrini invited two soaked passerbyers, a father and his 7th
grade daughter, to join the tour and share our umbrellas.
Jerry gave an excellent talk on the background of the battle, the terrain, battle tactics, and details on the leaders of the forces involved. One deciding factor for the Union was the two Illinois companies armed with the Henry repeating rifle that inflicted enormous casualties on Confederates attacking the Star Fort. The Federals successfully defended Allatoona Pass, which was an important supply depot along the Western and Atlantic Railroad . Of the 5,301 men engaged in the four-hour battle, much of it fought hand-to-hand, 1,603 were killed or died of wounds, making it one of the bloodiest half-days of the Civil War. The heroic Federal defense inspired the revival hymn ‘Hold the Fort, for I Am Coming’.
The rain let up for the tour group to walk along the railroad cut, and climb the steep embankment up to the Star Fort, the scene of the major fighting. The fort is still well defined, and several markers are within the fort explaining the events. Major Pellegrini described the action, and then concluded the tour.
Near the parking area for the Allatoona site is a Memorial Park with monuments erected by five Northern states and six Southern states honoring the men who fought there. Images of the monuments can be seen by an online search.