Atlanta’s Civil War sites: Then and now

Photographer Gregg Segal places re-enactors in modern enviroments

Several years ago, photographer Gregg Segal started a series that juxtaposes “an idealized Civil War embodied by period re-enactors” with “the commercialism of contemporary life.” He staged shoots on the sites of battlefields long built over with highways, housing developments, and shopping malls. He originally shot in Tennessee, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. We commissioned Segal to add to his series with photographs at sites from the Atlanta Campaign.

Then: Battle of Peachtree Creek
Now: Bobby Jones Golf Course 
Jones attended the February 1929 sod-breaking ceremony for the park named for him and also “dedicated as a living memorial to heroes of both sides of the struggle between the states,” reported the Atlanta Constitution. At attention, left to right: Kenneth Daniel, Stephen Evans, Lewis Robinson, Marvin Greer, Dylan Woodliff, James Hayes Jr., and Jeff Ballentine.


Leggett’s Hill
Now: Moreland Avenue and I-20 interchange
Sean Murray pitches a tent on what was high, treeless property, defended by Union brigadier general Mortimer Leggett during the Battle of Atlanta.


Then: Western and Atlantic Railroad
Now: Bankhead Avenue Bridge
A key Confederate supply line, the W&A was destroyed during the Atlanta Campaign, as was the central business district to its east. From left: Marvin Greer, Lewis Robinson, and Jeff Ballentine.


Then: The Battle of Rocky Face Ridge
Now: Dalton High School
The first battle of the Atlanta Campaign was the May 7–13, 1864, encounter at Rocky Face, a 700-foot-high and ten-mile-long ridge that Confederates had fortified heavily. Re-enactor: Curtis Rivers


The Battle of Atlanta
Now: Oakland Cemetery
General John Bell Hood, appointed to command the Confederate forces just days earlier, observed the battle from a vantage point that is now at the center of the city cemetery. Sean Murray observes the modern city from the base of that hill.


The Battle of Ezra Church
Now: Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard at Westview Cemetery
The July 28, 1864, Battle of Ezra Church (named for a small chapel near the battle site) covered an area that now includes Westview Cemetery and Mozley Park. Left to right: Jeff Ballentine, Kenneth Daniel, Dylan Woodliff, Stephen Evans, and Lewis Robinson.


Then: The Battle of Ezra Church
Now: Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard
Remains of Confederate trenches can be found in Westview, which was founded in 1884. From left: Kenneth Daniel, Stephen Evans, Lewis Robinson, Jeff Ballentine, and Dylan Woodliff.


This article originally appeared in our July 2014 issue under the headline “Campaign Stops.”