Once on top of Kennesaw Mountain, the view is tremendous. It was my good fortune that after flying from Cleveland to Atlanta I happened to go to the top on a cloudy and dreary day, impeding my view of the surrounding area. The above photograph shows one part of the mountain's excellent view. In the distance (although not clearly visible in the photograph) is downtown Atlanta, with Stone Mountain (the largest piece of exposed granite in the world, beautifully adorned with the engraved images of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis) off to the left hand side of the picture (barely visible).
All along the summit of the mountain are remnants of gun emplacements made by Confederate soldiers dating back to the battle in 1864. My journey to the top was made in a comfortable car on a paved and winding road; such was not the case for the Confederate artillerymen of Joseph Johnston's Army of Tennessee. These artillery positions atop the mountain have a remarkable view of the surrounding area. During the several week long standoff between the two armies near Kennesaw Mountain in June of 1864, artillery duels were a daily occurence, as each side made use of the mountainous terrain to lob shells at enemy gunners. In fact, on June 14, at nearby Pine Mountain (the name is deceiving, it is not as much a mountain as a large hill), Confederate Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk was killed instantly by an artillery shell fired by an Indiana Battery. According to eye witness reports, Sherman himself ordered the shelling, as he and others spotted Polk along with General Johnston and General William Hardee. Polk was also an episcopal priest, and one of the more eccentric generals in gray during the war. Needless to say, the story illustrates the effectiveness of long range artillery during the campaign, of which the above photograph shows one piece.
In my opinion, the most impressive part of the Kennesaw battlefield is the area known as Cheatham Hill, named after Confederate Major General Benjamin Cheatham, whose men defended the position during the battle. The above picture shows the Illinois monument at that location. Several hiking trails criss-cross the area, and it is a very picturesque place. In the background is the open field over which Union soldiers from Major General John Palmer's 14th Corps charged on the morning of June 27, 1864. It sits at the focal point of Colonel Dan McCook's brigade's attack that day. McCook's brigade was composed of men from both Illinois and Ohio, but the first lines of assault were composed primarily of Illinois troops. The Illinois monument is one of the few that exist on the Kennesaw battlefield. There are also monuments to men from Georgia and Texas.