The Battle of Atlanta rages in perpetuity in the brush strokes of the Cyclorama. In this small scene from the massive oil painting, one of the world’s largest, armies of the North and South duke it out near the Troup Hurt House in what is now the Inman Park neighborhood (the house was torn down long ago). This photo was taken of the painting in 2013; it is currently under restoration at its new home at the Atlanta History Center. Photo by Kent D. Johnson/
Photo: Kent D. Johnson / AJC/
Photo: Kent D. Johnson / AJC/

Experience the Battle of Atlanta for its 154th anniversary

One-hundred fifty-four years ago this weekend, men in uniforms of blue and gray hurled themselves at one another violently at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. Cannon fire drowned out the rumblings of the trains at the Inman Park-Reynoldstown MARTA station. And at Westview Cemetery, the sounds of rifle volleys shattered the respectful silence.

Well, not quite. 

None of those things were there when the shells and the Minié balls were flying in July 1864. 

More than a century and a half later, natives and newcomers might be hard-pressed to look around any of those spots and see much remaining of the scars of that great civil war. 

But like Lincoln and his audience at Gettysburg, the Atlantans of today are also met on a great battlefield of that war: That of the Battle of Atlanta, a key engagement that put in motion Sherman's march to Savannah, the division of the Confederacy, the end of the war and the reuniting of the American states. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's interactive feature "The War in Our Backyards" tells the story of that battle, and how it was fought in places that are lived on, worked at, and tread upon by thousands of unsuspecting Atlantans each day. 

With detailed interactive maps of the battle sites overlaid on maps of modern-day Atlanta, the presentation lets readers explore the geography of what happened then with what's there today. Other interactives and a five-part narrative describe the battle and place its impact in historical context. 

The Battle of Atlanta was fought on July 22, 1864 -- 154 years ago Sunday. A preliminary engagement, the Battle of Peachtree Creek, was fought two days earlier, 154 years ago Friday. “The War in Our Backyards” features both encounters, as well as the subsequent Battle of Jonesboro. 

First published in 2014 for the battle's 150th anniversary, the interactive is a permanent feature on and has been newly updated for the 2018 anniversary.

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