Illinois soldiers made a valiant effort to take Cheatham Hill during the June 27, 1864, battle at Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.
Led by brigade commander Gen. Dan McCook, Union units charged up the hill, literally yards away from Rebels who plugged away at them. Eventually, Confederates on top of the ridge withdrew.
Confederate and Union entrenchments thrown up before and during the furious assault remain at the killing ground dubbed the “Dead Angle.” A memorial to Illinois troops recalls the mortally wounded McCook and his compatriots, who suffered horrific casualties.
Since 1914, perhaps the park's most famous monument has stood on the knoll, facing the wheat field from which Illinois units charged. Surviving Illinois veterans purchased 60 acres for the monument.
Time and erosion have taken their toll on the ground around the white granite memorial.
The Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club has had three work sessions for its grading project, intended to repair erosion and control water flow at the 25-foot-tall Illinois Monument.
"Our goal is to re-grade the area into sustainable contours that will route rain water away from the monument and into the woods," it said in its most recent newsletter. "We are also repairing the damage done two years ago during the heavy rains that affected most of Cobb County with severe flooding and erosion."
Three trails converge there: the Unknown Soldier trail, the Illinois Monument trail and the Cease Fire trail.
To learn more about the monument, call 770-325-0444770-325-0444 and enter stop #103.
Project photos by Scott Mackay, Trails Supervisor, KMTC
• More information on trail club
• Picket's profile of the organization