“Images of the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea” Exhibit on Display at Reinhardt University through Feb. 1.
A unique photo exhibit is on display now through Feb. 1 at Reinhardt University. “Images of the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea,” from the private collection of Gordon Rich Elwell, will be featured in Reinhardt’s Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center for the next two months. The exhibit is free and open to the public during normal library operating hours.
History of the Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea
After the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, Union forces moved back into Tennessee and settled in Chattanooga. With Confederate forces holding the heights around Chattanooga, the two armies were in a stalemate until Union forces began an offensive in November 1863. The Confederate forces were pushed back into Georgia, and both armies remained in their respective positions throughout the winter.
Under the leadership of Major General William T. Sherman, the Union army began a series of flanking movements in May 1864 in an effort to move south and capture Atlanta. The Confederates, first under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston and later under Lt. General John Bell Hood, attempted to thwart the Union army’s advance by engaging in a series of battles in northwest Georgia.
After a long summer of fighting and a siege of the city, Atlanta was abandoned by the Confederates and fell to Sherman on September 2, 1864. After a two month occupation of the city, Sherman’s forces divided into two columns and headed toward Savannah. The path of destruction left by the Union troops was an effort to destroy material and moral support for the Confederate cause.
In December 1864, Savannah surrendered to Sherman without a fight. Union victories in the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea were instrumental in the re-election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States and to the downfall of the Confederacy.
The images depicted in this exhibit include battles scenes from Chickamauga to the fall of Atlanta, the everyday camp life for the soldiers, and the effects of the war upon civilians. Some of the works were sketched by eyewitnesses to the events, some were created in the immediate post-war years, and some are modern depictions. Many of the images are from rare publications.
“During this sesquicentennial [150th anniversary] of these events, we hope that this exhibit will encourage you to explore in more depth the events, the impact, and the legacy that the Atlanta Campaign had on northwest Georgia,” said Joel Langford, director of the library. “We are grateful to Canton resident Gordon Rich Elwell for sharing these images from his collection. We also acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Kenneth Wheeler, Reinhardt professor of history, and Jamie Thomas, library assistant, in the selection of the images.”
For more information about this exhibit, please visit http://library.reinhardt.edu/ or www.reinhardt.edu