A 2023 BGES Weekend Warrior Program
Presented by Robert Jenkins
September 8-10, 2023; from Atlanta, GA
With Hood’s back pinned to Atlanta, Sherman used his army group to extend Hood’s diminished force to the breaking point. Cavalry sorties had complicated Hood’s challenge and when Sherman identified the Confederates’s key logistics artery the final challenge was laid out. Fighting to cut the remaining supply lines into Atlanta and the escape routes remaining to Hood would compel Hood to evacuate Atlanta or face the capture of his complete army just two months before the Federal Presidential elections in the fall of 1864.
The Atlanta Campaign will have a Chapter 9 in the Spring of 2024 when Hood freed from the ties of Atlanta will seek to redeem it by striking at Sherman’s supply lines along the Western and Atlantic Railroad to Chattanooga.
Friday, September 8, 2023
6:00 PM: We will meet at the Fairfield Inn, Atlanta Airport South, our headquarters hotel, for our reception and program introduction. We’ll have a discussion of the Georgia Campaign, the situation in Atlanta in August 1864, the strategies of each side, the importance of the campaign, the principal players, and the challenges faced by Gens. William T. Sherman and John Bell Hood.
We will break in time so you can get your dinner.
Saturday, September 9, 2023
There are two major engagements remaining in the fight for Atlanta: The Battle of Utoy Creek on August 6 and the Battle of Jonesboro at the end of August. As you are well aware, the expansion of the megalopolis that is Atlanta is a deterrent to studying these later parts of the campaign. Asphalt, interstates, and housing cut up the battlefields of 1864. It takes a disciplined historian and a “nerves of steel” driver to negotiate parcels of remaining battlefield.
Utoy Creek is one of those sites affected. We will head to the best site for interpretation and discuss the battle—Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman has sent the Army of the Ohio Commander, John Schofield, to strike the railroad between East Point and Atlanta, a move that if successfully executed should have ended the Atlanta Campaign in the first week of August. Ensconced on the north bank of Utoy Creek, Schofield commanding his XXIII Corps and George Thomas’s XIV Corps crosses the creek tentatively and is brushed back by Confederate forces. Rather than press his advantage in numbers, Schofield dithers and allows the Confederates to strengthen their position, resulting in a significant repulse for the blue-coated aggressors. Having lost the initiative, desultory and sporadic engagements convince Sherman to shift his efforts elsewhere.
Bob will take you to the best spot existing to interpret the battle and will take you to Whitehall, parts of the Atlanta Underground that overlay the Old Alabama Road and Peachtree Street—key in 1864 and still central today.
Following lunch, you will see just how massively Atlanta’s growth has overshadowed historic preservation, as Bob will focus on Atlanta’s defenses that will take you into today’s central Atlanta on the campus of Georgia Tech and Grant Park, where the great Cyclorama use to be housed.
We will return to the hotel. Lunch is included but dinner is on your own.
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Who does not remember Gone With the Wind? The mythical Tara, Twelve Oaks, and other sites made famous by Ashley, Rhett, Scarlett, and Melanie are all in the vicinity of Jonesboro. Indeed, many of the older tourist attractions related to Margaret Mitchell’s great novel are in the vicinity. Of course you remember Scarlett telling Rhett after Melanie’s birthing Beau on the night Atlanta is evacuated out the Decatur Road that she wants to go to Tara, and he tells her that there has been fighting all around Tara. That fight was the Battle of Jonesboro, and it was decisive.
Fortunately, as difficult as Utoy Creek was to imagine, Jonesboro is still relatively rural, and you will get to spend the majority of the day on a battlefield that is not too difficult to imagine or understand. The morning will be spent with the desperate Confederate attacks of August 31 as they seek to keep the lines of retreat open.
Following lunch, we will then turn to the triumphant Federal counterattacks on September 1, which convince Hood he must leave Atlanta that night—his main success being to recruit Rhett Butler into the Confederate army after he deserts Scarlett on the road to Tara.
We will see some witnesses to the battle, such as the Warren House, and will visit the cemetery where so many Confederates now lay in eternal repose respecting the monument erected by their mothers, brothers, wives, and children to honor their life sacrifice. At that point, Bob will summarize the Atlanta Campaign Post-mortem. Remember, there is a Chapter 9—the precursor to the Confederacy’s Last Hurrah in Tennessee, but that is another tour.
Lunch is included, and dinner is on your own. We will return to the hotel by 5 PM and you will be good to go.
About the Faculty
Bob Jenkins is a practicing attorney in Dalton, Georgia. An active preservationist, he has played a significant role in expanding the story of the start of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign. He has completed two outstanding books on the campaign: The Battle of Peachtree Creek, Hood’s First Sortie July 20, 1864 (2014) and To the Gates of Atlanta: from Kennesaw Mountain to Peachtree Creek 1-19 July 1864 (2015). Bob is an animated and detailed interpreter, and you will be regaled with new and thought-provoking information and stunning vistas.
This program will be based at the Fairfield Inn, Atlanta Airport South, 2020 Sullivan Road, College Park, GA 30337 (770-994-3666). The hotel has a shuttle to and from the Atlanta, Hartsfield Airport. A block of rooms has been established with a group rate of $134 plus tax. The block goes away August 8, after which you will be subject to paying full rack rate.
The servicing airport is Atlanta (ATL). For people driving in, the hotel is convenient to Interstate 75/85.
You will be provided with maps upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. These books are available online:
- Russell Bonds: War Like the Thunderbolt, The Battle and Burning of Atlanta
- Albert Castel: Decision in the West, The Atlanta Campaign
- Richard McMurray: Atlanta 1864, Last Chance for the Confederacy
Registration includes two lunches, all paid admissions, maps, the academic program, support of a professional historian, tour director, and transportation by passenger bus or van. We will also provide snacks and bottled water.
Register for this program using a secure PayPal link
To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: Atlanta Falls: Chapter 8 of the 1864 Georgia Campaign
Questions? Need more information? Please contact us.