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Georgia: Kennesaw Mountain



     I am a history buff (I believe that term meant to polish with a buff, a piece of buffalo skin), but I am not a battle buff, unlike some men who enjoy dressing up and re-enacting battles, but without the gore. I traveled through the battle fields of the Civil War and saw lots of guns and monuments, but I can never keep all the campaigns straight.
     We mentioned Kennesaw Mountain on the outskirts of Atlanta. It was the site of an 1864 battle in which General William T. Sherman defeated Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. It was the decisive moment in Sherman's "March to the sea." After 40 days of bombardment, Sherman entered the city, which was burned. Sherman then cut a wide path of destruction, all the way to Savannah. It was a glorious victory for the North.
     John Gehl adds a detail which exudes pride in the victory:
     "The full name of Judge Landis, the stern and upright first Commissioner of Baseball (famously appointed to the position after the notorious "Black Sox" baseball betting scandal involving Shoeless Joe Jackson and other members of the Chicago White Sox) was, if you can believe it, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, a charming name indeed. Judge Landis also presided (with enormous frustration) over the Standard Oil anti-trust trial, and was worn to a frizzy by John D. Rockefeller, who outfoxed the Judge by forgetting just about everything he ever knew ... and who talked very, very, very slowwwwwwly)."
     John is a Northerner, but his wife is from the South, and he will ask her to tell us how Southerners feel about it. I do not have a dog in this fight, but it would be incredible if, albeit they hide it, Southerners did not feel angry and humiliated. Could John get President Carter, whose Center is in Atlanta, to express himself on this subject? What did President Hoover, with his deep concern about "war, revolution and peace," think about the Civil War and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain? How is it told in Georgia history books?

Ronald Hilton - 12/5/99


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