America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Battle of Resaca, Georgia
General Grant was contesting through Virginia against Confederate General Lee in battles such as the Wilderness and Spotsylvania as he moved toward Richmond during the spring of 1864. For General Sherman, his task was to engage the southern forces of the Confederate Army in a similar campaign toward Atlanta and then the sea. For several days in mid May 1864, Union forces engaged the enemy on the fields and hills of Resaca. Many of the battlefields of the Atlanta campaign have been lost to suburban sprawl, considered in the aftermath of the war as battlefields of defeat to the residents of the South during reconstruction, but today, after a decade and more of preservation efforts, the Resaca Battlefield has been opened as a combination Georgia State and Gordon County Park, with waysides and trails. Photo above: The Battle of Resaca, Kurz and Allison, 1889. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
Battle of Resaca
When you visit the battlefield of Resaca, keep your expectations in check. This newly opened tract of land is not a national park with interpretation throughout the year. It is a well preserved open space parcel of over one thousand acres, with many kudos to the American Battlefields Trust, aka the Civil War Trust, and the Friends of Resaca Battlefield, for the money and time spent to acquire and start to interpret it, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Gordon County for funding for amenities and more. A road leads into the parcel with trails on both the Confederate and Union lines. There are interpretive markers throughout and a picnic pavilion at the end of the road into the park. The park has been open since spring 2016.
Full scale fighting here began on May 14, with small fighting the day before when the Union troops were reconnoitering for Confederate whereabouts. By the time the fighting halted on May 15, there had been 98,787 men in the Military Division of the Mississippi under Union General William T. Sherman engaged against 60,000 soldiers under Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and his Army of the Tennessee. There were four to five thousand casualties for the Union against two thousand eight hundred for the South. The battle itself, however, was considered inconclusive, but did not halt Sherman's drive toward the coming battles of the Atlanta Campaign, i.e. Kennesaw Mountain one month later, and the effective occupation of Atlanta in September.
Image above: May 15 photogravure of the Battle of Resaca, 1897, Unknown publisher. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: Union soldiers on horseback during the Siege of Atlanta, 1888, Thure de Thulstrup, L. Prang and Company. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Where Is It
The Resaca Battlefield is located off Interstate 75 at 183 Resaca Lafayette Road, NW Resaca, GA 30735. That's west of the interstate off Exit 320, 75 miles north of Atlanta itself. Give yourself an hour and fifteen minutes from the city if planning your visit there.
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What is There Now
Resaca Battlefield Historic Site includes 1,044 acres of land with interpretive markers and a six mile trail. The Battlefield Park located west of I-75 includes 505 acres in the Camp Creek valley. There are also 483 acres east of I-75 along the Confederate line of Van Den Corput's battery, and 65 acres of the former Fort Wayne site. The Resaca Confederate Cemetery is located within Resaca.
There is no Visitor Center. There are restrooms and a picnic pavilion on site.
When Open and How Much
The park is free to visit, open dawn to dusk.
Fees subject to change.
Explore Georgia, Resaca Battlefield
Gordon County Parks - Resaca
Friends of Resaca Battlefield
Well, there's Kennesaw Mountain, the Atlanta History Center with its newly restored Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama, and Chattahoochee National Scenic River nearby. Yes, the National River includes some Civil War history as well, but most focus on its recreation features in this area north of Atlanta. Further north from the Resaca Battlefield near the border between Georgia and Tennessee and you get more Civil War sites in Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Battlefield, although this battle was fought during 1863 and not part of the Atlanta Campaign.