|Site includes large open field with walking trails (Gordon County)|
Next week’s formal opening of Resaca Battlefield Historic Site in northwest Georgia will be the culmination of a two-decade campaign by local residents and officials to establish the park.
The 3 p.m. May 13 grand opening will include speeches, a ribbon cutting, the firing of an honor volley by re-enactors, tours and a song about the 1864 clash during the Atlanta Campaign. The ceremony comes one day before the 152nd anniversary.
Gordon County, which will maintain the 483-acre site following its construction by the state of Georgia, has touted seven miles of walking trails and interpretive markers.
The site initially will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Charlie Crawford, president of the Georgia Battlefields Association, which has played a part in the preservation, called the Friends of Resaca Battlefield the driving force to protect the property and open it to the public.
|(Georgia Battlefields Association)|
“Every battlefield is a teaching tool. A battlefield with easy access, the remnants of wartime earthworks, open vistas and interpretive signage is a better teaching tool,” Crawford said. “This will bring more visitors to the site, resulting in economic benefit to the town and the county. More importantly, visitors will better understand what happened at Resaca. People with a more accurate knowledge of history tend to be better citizens.”
Resaca Battlefield Historic Site, off Exit 320 of Interstate 75, will feature well-preserved trenches from both sides and most of the battlefield on the early afternoon of May 14, 1864. Late-afternoon action is on the east side of the interstate.
While the battle was a stalemate, Confederates withdrew and Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman continued his eventually successful march on Atlanta. The fighting at Resaca demonstrated that the outnumbered Confederate army could only slow, but not stop, the advance of Union forces.
An annual re-enactment, left, is held on a different portion of the battlefield, at Chitwood Farm. This year’s event is scheduled for May 20-22.
Before the state completed work on the site earlier this year, local advocates have been frustrated by false starts, permit problems, negotiations by state and local governments, construction delays and a massive road project at the interstate interchange at Resaca.
But that now appears to be in the past.
According to the Friends of Resaca Battlefield: "With the addition of the Resaca Battlefield Historic Site to a long list of key areas including, Fort Wayne Historic Site, the Resaca Confederate Cemetery, the WPA Roadside Park, the conservation easement property, and the State’s oldest annual Civil War Reenactment held the third weekend in May, we are looking for Gordon County to become a national tourist destination."
Interstate 75 actually runs through the middle of the Resaca battleground, making the Civil War site literally just an exit ramp away. Exit 320 currently has no hotels and little fanfare.
Sarah Husser with the Gordon County Convention & Visitors Bureau cited the park’s historical significance and preservation.
“Residents can enjoy the site for educational (field trips) and recreational purposes and (the site) will attract visitors to our community, resulting in increased expenditures and a positive economic impact,” she said.