Ground Is Broken For Site Facilities At Georgia’s
Resaca Battlefield Park

(December 2008 Civil War News)


RESACA, Ga. — The recent groundbreaking at Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site signaled the state’s intention to capture tourist dollars during the Civil War sesquicentennial.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) broke ground Oct. 27 for a visitor center at the Gordon County battlefield, which is between Chattanooga and Atlanta, just off I-75 near the Georgia/Tennessee border. The DNR reported that a 2000 traffic flow map showed nearly 56,000 vehicles passing the site daily.

Visitors will learn about the Resaca battle, which was the Atlanta Campaign’s first major battle, and be able to get information about the campaign and the state’s other Civil War sites, including Kennesaw Battlefield, Andersonville National Historic Site, Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site, Fort McAllister Historic Park and Fort Pulaski National Monument.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, the Friends of Resaca Battlefield presented a $10,000 donation to the DNR for the visitor center. The donation was made possible in part by a grant from the Calhoun Gordon County Community Foundation. 

Friends President Ken Padgett spoke of the groundbreaking as dream come true, one that his members, state legislators and others worked on for more than a decade. Between 2000 and 2003, the DNR purchased 512.85 acres of the battlefield site and acquired a conservation easement on an additional 61.74 acres.

Because of budget constraints the state delayed funding the visitor center, roads, trails and interpretation, so there is not yet public access to the site. This year the legislature approved a $3 million bond for Resaca.

The visitor center will open in 2010 with interactive displays, artifacts, retail shop and a theater. It was designed by BRPH of Marietta, Ga., and will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.

The building was specifically designed to represent the Resaca battle and is situated near a wooded area with a low profile and minimal intrusion on the field. According to the Georgia Battlefields Association, Confederate trenches remain in the ridgeline near the new visitor center.

Numerous roof angles represent the war’s conflict. The footprint follows actual lines of the battle.

The groundbreaking ceremony included the first musket fire heard on the battlefield in 144 years. At the May 13-15, 1864, battle Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee faced each other. There was no clear winner and more than 5,500 men died.

The three days of fighting produced nearly 10 percent of the combined casualties sustained during the Atlanta Campaign.

The county-owned Fort Wayne Historic Site is about a mile and a half away from the Resaca Battlefield. The Georgia Division Reenactors Association’s annual Battle of Resaca Reenactment will be held May 15-17 on the Chitwood Farm that was part of the battlefield and where John Bell Hood had his headquarters.