Georgia to build Civil War visitor center

Wed, 10/29/2008 - 3:24pm
By: The Citizen

Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site to open in 2010

RESACA, GA, Oct. 28, 2008 — In anticipation of the American Civil War’s sesquicentennial (2011-2015), the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has broken ground on the future Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site in Gordon County. During an Oct. 27 ceremony, Civil War re-enactors fired musketry on the site for the first time in 144 years.

Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site will serve as Georgia’s gateway to its numerous Civil War attractions.

Located just off I-75 near the Georgia/Tennessee border, its strategic location welcomes casual visitors as well as history buffs as they enter the state — helping generate tourist dollars for not only Gordon County, but all of Georgia. According to the 2000 Georgia Traffic Flow Map, nearly 56,000 vehicles pass the site daily.

Visitors to Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site will learn about the battle of Resaca, then gather information for traveling on to Kennesaw Battlefield, Andersonville National Historic Site, Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site, Fort McAllister Historic Park, Fort Pulaski National Monument and other locations.

“Because of its location near a major interstate, this new visitor center has the potential to bring many more tourists into Georgia, generating revenue for our communities,” said State Representative John Meadows. “I’d like to particularly thank Governor Sonny Perdue, DNR Commissioner Noel Holcomb and the Friends of Resaca Battlefield for their efforts on this project.”

During the ceremony, the Friends of Resaca Battlefield presented a $10,000 donation to the DNR for building the visitor center. The donation was made possible in part by a grant from the Calhoun Gordon County Community Foundation, an affiliate member of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia.

“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony is a dream come true,” said Friends President Ken Padgett. “It represents more than a decade of work by our members, state legislators and many other agencies.”

Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site will open in 2010 and will include interactive displays, artifacts, retail and a theater. The project is funded with $3 million in bond funds.

Between 2000 and 2003, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources purchased 512.85 acres of the battlefield site and has a conservation easement on an additional 61.74 acres. The Department of the Interior has recognized this historic battlefield as one of 25 sites chosen by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission for funding under the American Battlefield Protection Program. Currently, there is no public access to the site.

The visitor center was designed by BRPH of Marietta and will be LEED certified for environmental responsibility. Out of respect for those who fought and died at the site, the building was specifically designed to represent this particular battle. Situated near a wooded area, the low-profile building has minimal intrusion on the field. Numerous roof angles represent the war’s conflict, and the footprint follows actual lines of the battle.

The Battle of Resaca occurred May 13-15, 1864 and represents the first significant confrontation in Major General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. Resaca was the only battle during this campaign where the full might of both armies faced each other in open battle.

Here, Sherman hoped to destroy the Confederate Army of Tennessee led by General Joseph E. Johnston — yet there was no clear winner. When it was over, more than 5,500 men lost their lives, and many believe this was a low estimate. The three days of fighting produced nearly 10 percent of the combined casualties sustained during the Atlanta campaign.


login to post comments