WHERE THE MARCH TO THE SEA BEGAN
By Doc Lawrence
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA--A new and very original Civil War monument will be unveiled in this incredibly beautiful village just outside Atlanta in a few days. The story is captivating. The monument, “Sherman’s Neckties,” location in the village of Stone Mountain marks the approximate place where General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” actually started, giving it added importance to historians and tourists now and in the future. From here, this part of the Civil War became a military campaign of total destruction and more than one observer said it was also the beginning of modern warfare.
Around Midnight on July 20, 1864, two days before the Battle of Atlanta, Sherman published an order mandating the heating and twisting of rails along the designated railroad tracks preventing rail transportation during the war. The red-hot rails were bent around trees and telegraph poles, and coined by soldiers and journalists as “Sherman’s Neckties.”
The impressive monument was an effort from the City of Stone Mountain’s Civil War Committee chaired by noted author and prominent civic leader, Dr. George D. N. Coletti. Dr. Coletti’s acclaimed historic novel, Stone Mountain: The Granite Sentinel tells a compelling story about life, death, suffering and survival during the tumultuous war years in Georgia and adds greatly to an understanding of the impact of this war on women, children, refugees and soldiers caught in the tragedy.
A state-of the art brochure, City of Stone Mountain Civil War Sesquicentennial 1861-1865, is highly useful for visitors. Complete with photos, stories and maps, everything is designed to make the tourism experience here interesting and educational as the nation observes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Copies are available at the dedication ceremonies.
The story will get much better during the public dedication ceremonies scheduled for August 16, 2011 at 9 a.m. Dignitaries with join local officials including Stone Mountain’s Mayor and Council members, clergy, historians, media and descendants of the Civil War still residing in one of America’s most historic communities.
Hovering over the “Sherman’s Neckties” monument and the dedication ceremonies is Georgia’s inland Gibraltar, Stone Mountain. Drawing over 5 million visitors each year, the mountain and vast park features the enormous Civil War carving, plus museums, Indian trails, outdoor recreation and of course, a stunning view of Atlanta from the mountain top that will steal your breath.
I’ll see you at the dedication on August 16, and introduce you to some fascinating people. Walk with me along the historic streets, view beautiful homes, the granite railroad depot, the hauntingly beautiful Confederate cemetery and meet some mighty friendly people, Georgia’s finest ambassadors of Southern hospitality.
Stone Mountain: The Granite Sentinel is now available: www.thegranitesentinel.com
More about Stone Mountain Park: www.stonemountainpark.com.