Article 105

Etowah Village 85 Years After the War

''This article was written by Col. Thomas Spencer, historian and newspaper man from the 40's and 50's in Bartow County. ~ March 4, 1949 in the Daily Tribune News.

Colonel Spencer Lists Fortifications Used on Etowah in Civil War

Col. Thomas Spencer

In late May of 1864-- General William T. Sherman, commanding the Federal armies in Georgia, had his Construction Corps erect many forts, block houses, trenches and other fortifications in order that he could keep his supplies flowing in from Chattanooga to his marching army. At this time the Construction Corps fortified a hill overlooking the Etowah River- the guns of which would cover the old W&A Railroad bridge. This fort, one of the largest and best preserved in the whole of the Atlanta Campaign, still stands silently looking toward where the W&A trains once crossed the Etowah. There were seven guns mounted in that fort. Three looking in the general direction of Allatoona-- and four covering the Etowah toward the west and toward Cartersville. There are seven embrasures in that fort--all well preserved. This fort is marked ‘’1’’ on the map.

Later, when the garrison became afraid of raids on the rear of Sherman’s armies, more fortifications were built. This line of fortifications are shown as’’2’’ on the map. These ran from where the old W&A crossed the river--almost to the present Hwy. 41. This line was garrisoned by the infantry. Down the river-- and across the present highway--the cavalry was stationed. This is marked ‘’3’’ on the map. Fortifications marked ‘’2’’ no longer exist. However, I photographed these some years ago.

To the students of Bartow history, I suggest that this map be put in a scrapbook for future reference. To the civic organizations of Bartow, I suggest that they accept a copy of this map in order that they might use same in the preserving of this fort, and that this place of historic interest be marked, not to mention building a road to the fort--that the thousands who will soon be attracted to Bartow might be able to get to this fort. It is a hard climb this day, and certainly not one for you oldsters.

‘’I will draw on the ones book--a daily record of the happenings of this fort--for some good material.’’ He recorded daily--every move he made--of the innerworkings of the Federals--of his visits to the farms up and down the Etowah. This book was written by Jenkin Lloyd Jones--a private of the sixth Wisconsin Battery, an organization which occupied this fort from July 13th of 1864 through November 9th of that year.

The 17th Army Corp--late in joining Sherman--passed this hill in early June--trying to get to Sherman before he hit Kennesaw. Later, the 4th and 14th Corps camped at this site. Numerous Federal commands came and went by the fort. Kilpatrick and his remnant of a once cavalry corps--came limping into this area after his beating below Atlanta. He had his headquarters at Stilesboro--but most of his command, north of the Etowah. Sherman passed going back north--and Jones noted his appearance. Jones describes the life in Cartersville--and the town --which was NOT burned as had been stated in this paper by one who did not scan the records too closely.

On Sunday, August 21, 1864, Captain C.L. White of General Smith’s staff, was buried on the 23rd in the Old Cemetery marked on the map. On September 4th,a member of the Sixth Wisconsin died and was buried in the same cemetery. On September 1st one of the staff of General Smith was killed--supposedly by ‘’bushwhackers’’ or ‘’ guerillas’’ --while ‘’scouting’’ in and around the fort. Later more foraging parties were killed--which brought on many hardships for the people of Bartow. The infantry, artillery and cavalry, often went as far as three miles west of Stilesboro--as far as Canton--and many other places, taking and plundering as they went.

But, it was left to ‘’Little Joe’’ Wheeler --fighting Reb Cavalry to keep the garrison at Etowah for busy. Jones once said, ‘’I wish old Wheeler was dead’’. More often wild rumors came in that Hood was in the vicinity and this caused men to man the guns--crawl into the fortifications--and await the enemy which did not come. On August19th, the Federals again were ‘’frightened’’ and crossed to the south side of the Etowah to fell trees and stave off another attack that did not come. Wheeler destroyed many trains going to Etowah--and Federals were often hungry.

Foraging parties went to the plantations in and around Stilesboro, the Young Plantation, Valley View, The Stiles place, Milams Fields and many other places of historic interest. In and out of these fortifications went many Federals--either going south or north. Johnston’s army crossed below the fort the 20th of May--never again to return to this area.

Space does not permit much detail, but we add--preserve this well preserved fort, for it will draw the tourist. It is one of the largest and strongest forts not yet destroyed. Buy or beg the land--make a road to the fort--and watch the tourist climb to a place of real historic interest. Bartow County has many places of interest--which one hopes will be preserved for the future generations--and if I must add--for profit from the tourist.

Page last modified on December 10, 2014