A “Gone With the Wind” Weekend

“Frankly, my dear…” Who doesn’t know the ending to this infamous phrase? It was time for this Georgia girl to unite with fans of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to discover the history and legacy behind one of the world’s most beloved books with the variety of hands-on experiences along the state’s first and only designated Gone With the Wind Trail.

Road to Tara Museum

The first stop brought me back in time through the sights and sounds of the Civil War and Reconstruction, narrated by Scarlett O’Hara and her dashing romancer, Rhett Butler, at Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square, a mainstay since April 2003. On display is an extensive collection of memorabilia sure to delight and intrigue any “Gone With the Wind” fan, from novice to aficionado.

Margaret Mitchell House

The Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia

Next on the agenda: touring the Margaret Mitchell House (a small apartment Margaret called “the dump”) in Midtown Atlanta, where I traced the footsteps of the talented author and delved deeper into the birthplace of “Gone With the Wind.” Also at “the dump,” I watched a “Gone With the Wind” movie exhibition and display showcasing the life and times of one of Atlanta’s most famous authors.

After the Mitchell House, the trail directed me to The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library. With one of the most extensive collections of Margaret Mitchell’s photographs, books and personal items, the Central Library’s Special Collection Department is a must-see destination for all lovers of literature and Margaret Mitchell. The collection includes Mitchell’s personal books used for her research, more than 400 personal photographs, motion picture stills of the film, her 1937 Pulitzer Prize, her Remington typewriter and more.

Next, I headed to Mitchell’s final resting place, Oakland Cemetery. Historic Oakland, a Victorian garden cemetery, is also a magnificent sculpture garden, botanical garden, flourishing wildlife habitat, public park and picturesque setting for quiet reflection. Amidst the beauty of a blue-skied Atlanta autumn day, I visit the gravesites of “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell and roam thoughtfully among thousands of other Atlanta notables and pioneers.

My final stop on the trail landed me in Jonesboro, the official home of “Gone With the Wind” just 15 miles south of Atlanta, at the Road to Tara Museum, where visitors can relive Rhett and Scarlett’s sweeping romance by enjoying original movie props and wardrobe items, a foreign edition library, original manuscripts, costume reproductions, an extensive photo gallery, and a collectible plate and doll collection. The antebellum years and the Civil War make their presence felt through such exhibits as an authentic “Sherman’s necktie” (a section of rail twisted into a loop so as to be useless to a railroad company) and an original Fairbank Scale, used to weigh cargo, specifically cotton.

And because “tomorrow is another day,” the journey into “Gone With the Wind” and the Civil War can continue by exploring the trail’s “Rhett Also Recommends” stops, including the Atlanta History CenterAtlanta CycloramaKennesaw Mountain National Battlefield and Stately Oaks Plantation.

katieMom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.

Civil War Wednesday: Western & Atlantic Railroad

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W&A Map, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, G3924.D2S5 1864 .W4

During the 1864 Atlanta Campaign, a series of maneuvers, skirmishes, and battles occurred along the line of the Western & Atlantic Railroad throughout northwestern Georgia. The W&A, the only direct-rail connecting Atlanta and Chattanooga, served as the lifeline for both armies, and each also utilized the rail to carry the wounded to various hospital locations. Major General William T. Sherman, fond of calculating logistical needs, determined each locomotive could “…haul a payload of 160,000 pounds…[and] he strove to reach 120 cars per day.”[1] General Joseph E. Johnston, the commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, supplied his force with box cars of provisions from Atlanta. Absent the railroad, the 1864 military action in Georgia, had such occurred, would most assuredly have taken on a much different profile.

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Stephen H. Long, Colorado Historical Society.

Approving construction of what many called at the time the “state line,” the Georgia legislature gave final consent to construction of a railroad running from the Chattahoochee River to the Tennessee line in December 1836. Two years later, former western explorer Stephen H. Long, operating from his Marietta headquarters, oversaw the beginning of the building of the railroad. Economic depression halted construction of the W&A in late 1841; almost one year passed before dirt began moving again. In early 1843, workers completed a stretch from Marthasville (present day Atlanta) to Marietta. Overcoming the challenge of Chetoogeta Mountain outside Dalton, workers finished a tunnel through the hillside (Tunnel Hill) on May 9, 1850, and for the first time, passengers could traverse, unimpeded, the 138-mile trip from Chattanooga to Atlanta.[2]

Advancing deeper into Georgia, Sherman exercised great caution in protecting his line of supply, and indicated in a post-war account, “I doubt whether the history of war can furnish more examples of skill and bravery than attended the defense of the railroad from Nashville to Atlanta during the year 1864.”[3] Johnston, after President Jefferson Davis relived him of command in favor of General John Bell Hood, expressed the importance of the W&A, and how this vital rail line had factored into his strategic plan, which circumstances prevented him from fulfilling. The Virginian suggested he “…hoped to be able to break, or to procure the breaking of, the railroad by which the invading army was supplied, and thus compel it to assail ours on our own terms, or to a retreat easily converted into a rout.”[4]

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Alfred Waud sketch of the water tanks along the W&A in Big Shanty, LC-DIG-ppmsca-20204

During the coming months, as we commemorate many sesquicentennial events throughout northwest Georgia, recall the importance of the Western and Atlantic Rail Road, realize the various battles occurred in specific locations because of this line, and remember, as did Sherman, without the W&A,“…the Atlanta campaign was an impossibility….”[5]



[1] Lee Kennett, Sherman: A Soldier’s Life (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 239.

[2] About North Georgia, Building the Western and Atlantic Railroad, http://www.aboutnorthgeorgia.com/ang/Building_the_Western_and_Atlantic_Railroad (accessed April 18, 2014).

[3] William Tecumseh Sherman, Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), 518.

[4] Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations during the Civil War, A Da Capo paperback (1874; repr., New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press, 1990), 358.

[5] William Tecumseh Sherman, Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman, 751.

shafferMichael K. Shaffer is the Assistant Director and Lecturer for Kennesaw State University’s Civil War Center , a Civil War historian, newspaper columnist, and author of ‘Washington County, Virginia in the Civil War.’ He is a member of the Society of Civil War Historians, Historians of the Civil War Western Theater, Georgia Association of Historians, and the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta. Michael also serves on the boards of the Civil War Round Table of Cobb County and the River Line Historic Area, and Center Combined Logo-page-001as a Civil War consultant for the Friends of Camp McDonald.

“Gone with the Wind” 75th Anniversary Celebration

Façade of the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum; credit: Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum

Façade of the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum; credit: Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum

Mark the calendar and summon your inner Southern belle for a trip to Marietta, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, during the first weekend in June for a special 75th anniversary tribute celebration to Gone With the Wind, the movie. Don a hoop skirt during the costume ball, cheer on actors during a live play, mingle with celebrity guests – and grab an autograph or two, and join in an author’s forum all to celebrate the beloved Margaret Mitchell classic. The excitement will simply have you exclaiming, “fiddledee!”

While visiting, take time to explore the state’s first and only designated Gone With the Wind Trail. Through the Trail, fans of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel can discover the history and legacy behind one of the world’s most beloved books while navigating a variety of stops in and around Atlanta. Noted by CNN as one of the top 50 things to experience in America’s 50 states, Georgia’s Gone With the Wind Trail begins at The Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square, a mainstay in downtown Marietta since April 2003 when it opened in the historic Old Thomas Warehouse Building. With an extensive collection of memorabilia provided by Dr. Chris Sullivan, the museum is sure to delight and intrigue any Gone With the Wind fan, from novice to aficionado. Highlights include the original Bengaline honeymoon gown worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in the movie, several of Margaret Mitchell’s personal volumes of the novel, an educational display dedicated to the African American cast members, foreign editions of the novel and more. Be sure to stop by the gift shop to find costumes to fit your favorite Rhett or Scarlett.

Visit www.GWTWMarietta.com for complete event details.

Event listing

June 6-8

Marietta Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Gone With the Wind

Throughout the weekend, the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square will host a variety of events celebrating the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind, the movie. Festivities to include dinner and costume ball, author’s forum, live play, documentary debut, celebrity guests, autograph signing and much more.

Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square, 18 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta, GA 30064

770-794-5576

Civil War Events in Marietta

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With a history dating back to 1834, Marietta, Georgia, a present-day big city with small town charm located  minutes north of Atlanta and just south of the North Georgia Mountains, was the stage on which many significant events during the Civil War unfolded. Marietta was also once a proposed Capital of the Confederacy and is still home to the Marietta National Cemetery. This year marks the sesquicentennial of the fourth year of battle between the North and the South and Marietta commemorates important happenings with year-round special events – many of which are taking place this summer.

Gather the whole family or embark on your own personal historical pursuits and remember this historic occasion with events like the Juneteenth annual celebration, a reenactment of the March from Marietta Square to Kennesaw Mountain, Civil War: The Musical at the Strand Theatre, a re-dedication recognizing the 100th anniversary of dedication of the Illinois monument and more. The Bleeding Gray and Blue Walking Tour, every Saturday in June, joins visitors with noted historian Brad Quinlin as he tours the Historic Marietta Square, highlighting the events and the places that served as hospitals during the Civil War.

cannonHead to Marietta during the last weekend in June when a series of events hosted by the National Park Service will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain with various activities beginning with an opening ceremony on Thursday, June 26, and concluding on June 29. Each day will consist of different proceedings including cannon demonstrations, guided hikes, and a Civil War fashion show, along with Civil War medical tents, activities for children and various speakers and presentations. Check out the website for a full list of events.  www.BattleofKennesawMountain150.com

Download Marietta’s free Cannonball Trail app (iTunes or Android) and take a self-guided driving tour around Marietta and through Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield where you’re treated to historically-significant sights such as the fields where men fought and died, the cemeteries where those brave men rest eternally, the houses that commanders used as their headquarters and the city where it all took place.

Round out a visit with stops at area attractions, many of which are of historical note. Located on the second floor of the historic Kennesaw House, the Marietta Museum of History tells a rich account of the area. Also nearby, the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square was established in April of 2003 and currently houses Dr. Christopher Sullivan’s privately owned collection of GWTW book and movie memorabilia.  Two blocks from the square, the Root House is one of the oldest surviving frame houses in Marietta. The home offers visitors an opportunity to experience how a middle class merchant and his family lived in the 1850s. Climb aboard the Historic Marietta Trolley Company for a one-hour, fully-narrated exploration of the city. Visit Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park where so many important events in the Civil War transpired and then come full-circle with a trip to the modern-day Marietta Square Farmers Market.

For a side of culture, take time to appreciate metropolitan Atlanta’s only museum dedicated to American art, the Marietta /Cobb Museum of Art, housed in Marietta’s first U.S. Post Office, and home to a full schedule of exhibitions and boasting a permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American art, from Warhol to Wyeth. And, don’t miss the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, an Art Deco theatre that served as a movie house on the Marietta Square from 1935-76 where you can catch a performance of “Civil War: The Musical” this summer.

Event listings

June 7

Bleeding Gray & Blue Walking Tours

Join noted historian Brad Quinlin as he tours the Historic Marietta Square. These fascinating tours will highlight events and the places that served as hospitals during the Civil War.  Every Saturday in June.

11:30 a.m.

Tours begin at the Marietta Museum of History, 1 Depot Street, Marietta, GA 30060

770-794-5710

www.MariettaHistory.org

June 8

Spirituals

Dr. Moses performs spirituals at Zion Baptist Church.

4 p.m.

Zion Baptist Church, 165 Lemon Street, Marietta, GA 30060

770-427-8749

www.ZionBaptistChurchMarietta.org

June 13-14

Juneteenth Concert and Celebration

Join the Cobb NAACP for the annual Juneteenth celebration and concert including arts and crafts, food, entertainment, and historical recreation and reading of Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is the oldest national celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

6-11 p.m., Friday, June 13; 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, June 14; Gospel Concert 3-6 p.m., Sunday, June 15

Historic Marietta Square

770-425-5757

www.CobbNAACP.org

June 14

Bleeding Gray & Blue Walking Tours

Join noted historian Brad Quinlin as he tours the Historic Marietta Square. These fascinating tours will highlight events and the places that served as hospitals during the Civil War.  Every Saturday in June.

11:30 a.m.

Tours begin at the Marietta Museum of History, 1 Depot Street, Marietta, GA 30060

770-794-5710

www.MariettaHistory.org

Contact: Jan Galt, Jgalt@MariettaGa.gov

June 20-21

The Civil War, A Musical Experience Weekend

Friday and Saturday, June 20-21

Earl Smith Strand Theatre, 117 North Park Square, Marietta, GA 30060

770-293-0080

www.EarlSmithStrand.org 

June 20-22

Battle Re-enactors and Encampments on Marietta Square

Battle re-enactors and encampments will take place in and around the Historic Marietta Square.

All day

Historic Marietta Square

770-429-1115

www.MariettaCivilWar.com

June 21

Bleeding Gray & Blue Walking Tours

Join noted historian Brad Quinlin as he tours the Historic Marietta Square. These fascinating tours will highlight events and the places that served as hospitals during the Civil War.  Every Saturday in June.

11:30 a.m.

Tours begin at the Marietta Museum of History, 1 Depot Street, Marietta, GA 30060

770-794-5710

www.MariettaHistory.org

June 22

Confederate Cemetery Tour by Friends of Brown Park

Living history tours at the Marietta Confederate Cemetery and City Cemetery.

1-4:30 p.m.

Marietta Confederate Cemetery, 395 Powder Springs Street, Marietta, GA 30060

770-794-5606

www.MariettaCivilWar.com

June 26-29

The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain Anniversary Events

The National Park Service commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain with various events beginning with an opening ceremony on Thursday, June 26, and concluding on June 29. Each day will consist of different events including cannon demonstrations, guided hikes, and a Civil War fashion show, along with Civil War medical tents, activities for children and various speakers and presentations. Check out the website for a full list of events.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, 9900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw, GA 30152. Off-site parking required – check website for updated parking map.

770-427-4686.

www.BattleofKennesawMountain150.com

June 26

Kennesaw Mountain Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremony is the official start to a weekend filled with events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

7 p.m.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw, GA 30152.  Off-site parking will be required – check website for updated parking map.

770-427-4686

www.BattleofKennesawMountain150.com

 

June 27

Claire Lynch Band and Bobby Horton Concert

Claire Lynch is the reigning 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year.  Bobby Horton is a multi-instrumentalist, seasoned performer and music historian.

7 p.m.

770-427-4686

www.BattleofKennesawMountain150.com

June 28

Rededication recognizing 100th anniversary of dedication of Illinois monument

The magnificent Illinois Monument, which stands at the crest of Cheatham Hill, was erected by the State of Illinois to honor the 480 men from that state who died on this slope.  The marble monument is thirty-four feet square at the base and the shaft rises twenty-five feet.  Atop the monument is a seven-foot high bronze soldier clutching a rifle and two women in classic Greek garb.

8:30 p.m.

770-427-4686

www.BattleofKennesawMountain150.com

 

June 28

Bleeding Gray & Blue Walking Tours

Join noted historian Brad Quinlin as he tours the Historic Marietta Square. These fascinating tours will highlight events and the places that served as hospitals during the Civil War.  Every Saturday in June.

11:30 a.m.

Tours begin at the Marietta Museum of History, 1 Depot Street, Marietta, GA 30060

770-794-5710

www.MariettaHistory.org

           

June 29

Kennesaw Mountain Closing Ceremonies

The closing ceremony is the official end to a weekend filled with events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

5 p.m.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw, GA 30152.  Off-site parking will be required – check website for updated parking map.

770-427-4686

www.BattleofKennesawMountain150.com

 

If you go

Bring the family and experience these local Civil War attractions open year-round.

Marietta National Cemetery

The Marietta National Cemetery is the site of over 10,000 Union graves. Henry Green Cole donated the land as a joint Confederate & Union cemetery, hoping to heal ill feelings between the north and south. However, Marietta officials did not want Confederate dead buried near Yankee dead, so they formed a separate Confederate Cemetery.

Marietta Confederate Cemetery & Brown Park

The Marietta Confederate Cemetery is the final resting place for 3,000 Confederate soldiers from nearby hospitals and military operations including the Battle of Kolb’s Farm and The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

Kennesaw House & the Marietta Museum of History

Located on the second floor of the historic Kennesaw House, the Marietta Museum of History tells a rich account of the area. It houses the city’s extensive historical collections of photographs, artifacts and documentary information of Marietta in particular, and North Georgia in general.

Gone With the Wind Museum

The Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square was established in April of 2003 and currently houses Dr. Christopher Sullivan’s privately owned collection of GWTW book and movie memorabilia.

The Root House Museum

Two blocks from the square, the Root House is one of the oldest surviving frame houses in Marietta. The home offers visitors an opportunity to experience how a middle class merchant and his family lived in the 1850s.

The Historic Marietta Trolley Co.

A one-hour, fully-narrated exploration of our historic city. Experience Marietta’s rich heritage, from the vibrant Downtown Square, past grand Antebellum homes, to the battlefields at Kennesaw Mountain.           

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

On June 27, 1864, Kennesaw Mountain is the site of a major battle between the North and South. General Sherman’s troops battled those of Confederate General Johnston in one of many clashes that led to the fall of Atlanta. The park now encompasses more than 2,800 acres and features a visitor’s center, gift shop, museum and 16 miles of hiking trails.

Marietta Square Farmers Market

The Marietta Square Farmers Market is located on the Historic Marietta Square.  Hours are 9 a.m. to 12 noon every Saturday and 12 noon to 3 p.m. every Sunday, April through November, rain or shine. 60 plus vendors on Saturday and 30 plus vendors on Sunday will feature Georgia grown, made or produced vegetables, cheese, bread, eggs, fresh flowers, local honey, baked goods and milk every weekend.

Marietta / Cobb Museum of Art

The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art is metropolitan Atlanta’s only museum dedicated to American art. Housed in Marietta’s first U.S. Post Office, the museum hosts a full schedule of exhibitions and boasts a permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American art, from Warhol to Wyeth. Besides their exhibitions the museum offers lectures, workshops, classes, and art festivals. Other social and cultural opportunities are also offered.

           

Earl Smith Strand Theatre

This Art Deco theatre served as a movie house on the Marietta Square from 1935-76. Recently restored and returned to its original glory, it now hosts classic films, concerts and stage productions.

 Expand your experience with the Bleeding Gray and Blue walking tours every Saturday in June with historian Brad Quinlin.

Civil War Wednesday: “Grant’s Strategy”

Lieutenant General U.S. Grant, Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-pga-01054

Lieutenant General U.S. Grant, Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-pga-01054

U.S. Congress approved restoration of the rank of lieutenant general, and President Abraham Lincoln quickly sent for his top commander in the west – Major General Ulysses .S. Grant. The officer soon arrived in Washington City, and after meeting with the president, and receiving the rank of lieutenant general – the first to hold this permanent grade since George Washington – Grant made plans to travel to Nashville for a consultation with Major General William T. Sherman. The two officers spent a few days discussing military strategy for the upcoming campaign season; 1864 also served as a reelection year for Lincoln, and the president needed success on the battlefield to sustain, and perhaps renew enthusiasm in the North for the war effort. Military victories might transfer to the ballot box, producing votes, which Lincoln desperately needed! His chances of winning another four years in the White House seemed virtually impossible, as he readily admitted. Grant and Sherman clearly understood the nature of things, politically and militarily, as they poured over maps in Nashville, the fog of war replicated in their quarters as both men continuously smoked cigars.

Grant needed to return east in order to converse with Major General George Meade and other subordinates regarding his military intentions. With maps, Sherman, and an ample supply of stogies in tow, Grant boarded a train for Cincinnati. During their session at the Burnet House in the “City of Seven Hills,” Grant and Sherman finalized what military strategists would later term a ‘Concentration in Time’ strategy. Grant articulated his plan, one, which called for a simultaneous movement of multiple armies against various Confederate forces, in an April 4 letter to Sherman. “It is my design, if the enemy keep quiet and allow me to take the initiative in the spring campaign, to work all parts of the army together and somewhat towards the centre.”[1]

Major General William T. Sherman, Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-cwpb-07136

Major General William T. Sherman, Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-cwpb-07136

The future impact upon Georgia began to form, as Grant summarized his plan of action, noting, “Sherman was to move from Chattanooga, Johnston’s army and Atlanta being his objective…[George] Crook the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad to be his objective…[Franz] Sigel was to advance up the [Shenandoah] valley, covering the North from an invasion through that channel…[Benjamin] Butler was to advance by the James River, having Richmond and Petersburg as his objective.”[2] Sherman acknowledged receipt of Grant’s private and confidential letter, and soon began making needed preparations to execute his portion of the plan, specifically,“…to move against Johnston’s army, to break it up and to get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.” On the battlefield, March may have exited as a lamb, but soon, the lions from the North would roar into Georgia.



[1] U.S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant (Old Saybrook, CT: Koenecky&Koenecky, 1992), 412.

[2] Ibid., 412-14.

shafferMichael K. Shaffer is the Assistant Director and Lecturer for Kennesaw State University’s Civil War Center , a Civil War historian, newspaper columnist, and author of ‘Washington County, Virginia in the Civil War.’ He is a member of the Society of Civil War Historians, Historians of the Civil War Western Theater, Georgia Association of Historians, and the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta. Michael also serves on the boards of the Civil War Round Table of Cobb County and the River Line Historic Area, andas a Civil War consultant for the Friends of Camp McDonald.

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