By John Schaffner
On a hot day in late July 1864, the Union Army of Cumberland commanded by Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas clashed with Confederate forces at Peachtree Creek in Buckhead. Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, commanding the Army of Tennessee, committed 19,000 soldiers to the attack.
When the cannon and rifle fire ended, 6,506 Americans lay dead or wounded—4,796 Confederates and 1,710 Union soldiers—in the Battle of Peachtree Creek.
Confederate Brig. Gen Winfield S. Featherston, Loring’s Division, Army of Tennessee, described the July 20 attack on the Union position at Peachtree Creek: “Both officers and men behaved with coolness and courage…”
Two Civil War plaques stand on the northern bank of Peachtree Creek at the entrance to the Peachtree Hills neighborhood and can almost be seen at Peachtree Road and Peachtree Hills Avenue. They have been mostly forgotten and lost amid underbrush and fallen trees.
“I got tired of looking at the entrance. It was a mess and clearly needed some help,” said Brent Brown, a six-year resident and member of Peachtree Hills Civic Association (PHCA). “Besides that, this piece of Atlanta Civil War history should be cleaned up and respected.”
A year ago, Brown started to research who owned the narrow, long strip of property along the creek. His search finally determined the land was private property owned by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) of Columbia, Tenn. Someone willed it to the organization in the 1970s or early 1980s. Brown eventually learned Tennessee troops fought in the area.
Brown contacted the group, which allocated funds for the cleanup.
“The Sons of Confederate Veterans are honored to own such an historic and hallowed piece of ground, and we are very appreciative of the Peachtree Hills Civic Association’s willingness to work closely with us to return this property to the condition and appearance it deserves and should reflect,” said Charles E. (Chuck) McMichael, commander in chief of the SCV, in a statement.
Now the project has blossomed into improving the whole entranceway to Peachtree Hills off of Peachtree Road. Two other pieces of property that would be part of the entrance improvements belong to the city and to the owner of an apartment complex.
Matt Cathell, owner of Gunnison Tree Specialists, supervised the removal of dead trees and kudzu. Clinton Cenac worked with Brown to create a softscape that was subsequently approved by the SCV. “I love the neighborhood and this is my way of helping this historic property look better while doing something I enjoy,” Cenac said.