The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was the last major Confederate defensive prior to the battles for Atlanta during Sherman’s March to the Sea. In a battle generally regarded as a debacle for Sherman and a masterful defense by Johnston, the Confederate withdrawal from its invulnerable fortifications under cover of darkness signaled a serious misalignment at the strategic level between Jefferson Davis and his commanding general Joseph Johnston. The consequences of this misalignment were far-reaching and portended the inevitability of defeat for the Confederacy. Johnston’s replacement as army commander by the impetuous John Bell Hood evidenced the rapidly growing desperation of President Jefferson Davis, and Sherman’s capture of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, gave the Northern population confidence in Abraham Lincoln’s ability to bring an end to the war, leading to his re-election in November and finally sealing the fate of the Confederacy and its bid for independence.
The events of the roughly 20 days of battle in the Kennesaw area offer in-depth looks at some of the Civil War’s most flamboyant characters, as well as unsung heroes during the fighting on this well-preserved battleground in the immediate outskirts of Atlanta.