B*ATL is a charter member of the Atlanta Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, which has a kickoff event scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. May 3. (Click here for details)
W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, will lay out the day’s programming, entitled “Civil War to Civil Rights: Our 150-Year Journey,” at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta. The topic of his talk: "Civil War Atlanta: Why it Still Matters."
Venues for the day will include the Atlanta Preservation Center and the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum. Tours include Sweet Auburn, Fort Walker at Grant Park and Oakland Cemetery.
B*ATL is based in East Atlanta, where there will be an afternoon tour of key battle sites and a “Salute to Fallen Heroes” at the statue memorializing Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, a favorite of Union Gen. William T. Sherman.
McPherson was killed when he rode into Confederate lines during the July 22, 1864, Battle of Atlanta. Less than a mile away, Confederate Maj. Gen. William H.T. Walker was knocked out of his saddle by a sniper.
Henry Bryant, chairman of B*ATL, had hoped the restoration work on the Walker and McPherson monuments would have been completed in time for the sesquicentennial events. But it needs about $191,000 and has a good distance to go.
“We have made progress with the fundraising, but it has been slow going,” said Bryant. “We are now about halfway there and have prospects for a large chunk of the remainder.”
“Monument restoration is looking less likely this year, although it could still happen if our big chunk comes in.”
Bryant said the group might do a groundbreaking sometime this year if it nears the goal. B*ATL continues to solicit donations (see end of article).
The monuments, each featuring a centerpiece cannon, went up years after the Civil War.
Time and, in one case, traffic have taken a toll on the memorials. They sit on dislodged or structurally weak foundations. The cannons have some water damage and are rusting in places.
B*ATL each summer puts on events marking the battle and its impact on what are now-thriving communities east of downtown Atlanta.
This year’s sesquicentennial edition, set for July 12-20, includes a July 12 gala at East Lake Golf Club, walking, van and cemetery tours on Saturday, July 19, the DoubleQuick 5K race and the 8th Regiment Band on July 19, a soldiers’ encampment, storytelling, two plays and appearances by authors during the week.
The organization will update its main website soon and is posting updates at its Facebook page. This year’s logo features the McPherson and Walker monuments.
For details on donating for the monument restoration, see the B*ATL website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are tax-deductible and there are gifts for various levels of support. B*ATL is working with Kroger grocery stores’ community rewards program. Register your Kroger card at www.krogercommunityrewards.com by clicking sign in/create your account, follow the prompts to update your information, select the NPO for BATL - 58394. This will not affect fuel points accumulation, said Bryant.