The Civil War in DeKalb County

Georgia is commemorating the 150-year anniversary of The Civil War all year long with special attractions and events all across the state. Learning and understanding the Civil War is an integral part of America’s culture and an important time in history that has since shaped our country.

Many of these famous Civil War historical sites are located in and around Metro Atlanta. Several defining moments and some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War took place in DeKalb County. Whether you are a local Georgia history buff or planning a vacation to the peach state, you will want to spend some time experiencing the rich Civil War history in the state. Regardless of which direction you are traveling into the city, there are several stopping points filled with museums, notable battle sites, famous cemeteries and historic landmarks.

Civil War Sites & Attractions

Stone Mountain Park

stone_mountainStone Mountain Park is home to the largest high-relief carving in the world. This carving shows Confederate heroes President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson. It took three artists and over 57 years to complete and is the largest memorial to the Civil War in the country.


stone_mountainTwenty thousand graves dot the oldest known publicly owned burial ground in metro Atlanta. The cemetery, believed to predate the city’s 1823 incorporation, and its 54 acres give rise to a six-foot-tall monument dedicated to Decatur’s Confederate dead.

Atlanta Cyclorama

stone_mountainBe literally surrounded by history at the Cyclorama, located in Atlanta’s historic Grant Park. Here the world’s second-largest oil painting, The Battle of Atlanta, is accompanied by music narration and a 30-foot diorama, all coming together to tell the story of the July 22, 1864 fight for the city.

Atlanta History Center

stone_mountainThe campus features one of the Southeast’s largest history museums and one of the most comprehensive Civil War collections in the U.S. The permanent exhibit Turning Point: The American Civil War includes more than 1,500 relics, such as the Confederate flag that flew over Atlanta during its surrender.

The Civil War in DeKalb County

On July 22, 1864, General John B, Hood sent two-thirds of his army in a surprise assault on the entrenched Federals of the Army of the Tennessee to the east of the city in western DeKalb County (around today’s DeKalb and Moreland avenues and near the Carter Center). This action, known as the Battle of Atlanta, was the largest and costliest of the campaign, with 3,641 Federal and 8,499 Confederate casualties and the loss of Federal army commander General James B. McPherson and Confederate division commander General W.H.T. Walker.

On the same day, July 22 1864, while the Battle of Atlanta was raging a few miles to the west, fighting broke out in downtown Decatur. Federal soldiers were guarding supply wagons parked in the present day Decatur Cemetery when they were attacked by Confederate calvary under General Joseph Wheeler. The fighting raged for several hours, but ultimately the train was saved by Federal Colonel John W. Sprague, who won a Congressional Medal of Honor for his efforts. As a result of the Battle of Decatur, the Confederate casualties were around 100 while the Federals counted 242 killed, wounded or missing.

Explore Georgia Travels to Historic Civil War Sites Across Georgia