Dalton, Georgia is home to a rich Civil War heritage. This region felt the war’s impact almost from the beginning of the conflict thanks largely to the presence of a main north-south rail line, the Western & Atlantic. Completed in 1850, the W&A ran from Atlanta to Chattanooga and became a strategic objective during the war. As a consequence, Dalton and other towns along the W&A attracted attention from both North and South
In April 1862 the Great Locomotive Chase sped through the area, an event that placed Dalton squarely on the Civil War map. Later that year the area was transformed into a hospital zone for Confederate sick and wounded, prompting the creation of a military cemetery not far from Dalton’s W&A depot. In the meantime, troop trains as well as freight for the war effort became common sights. Perhaps the Dalton area’s most noted role during the Civil War came in late 1863; when the community suddenly found itself hosting the entire Confederate Army of Tennessee in winter quarters, and again in the spring of 1864 as the site of initial bloodshed during the opening week of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.
Following the fall of Atlanta, together with Union occupation of the W&A, Dalton became the target of Confederate raids against the railroad. The most notable of these was General Hood’s attack on the Federal garrison at Dalton during his autumn 1864 offensive into Tennessee. By the spring of 1865 and the end of hostilities, Dalton had been devastated, yet its place in the history of the American Civil War lives on. And fortunately, many of the area’s Civil War-era historic assets are still intact. Join us for a step back into the 1860s.
Vince Dooley, Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at the University of Georgia.
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