Thursday, July 21, 2011

Unknown Hero of Allatoona Pass - Bartow County, Georgia

Unknown Hero of Allatoona Pass
Just a few yards from the railroad tracks near the historic "Deep Cut" of Allatoona Pass in North Georgia can be found the simple grave of an unknown Confederate hero.

Usually labeled the Unknown Hero of Allatoona Pass, the soldier buried in the grave is thought to have been a Confederate killed in the battle that took place for control of the vital railroad cut on October 5, 1864. Please click here to learn more about the battle itself.

It took the Union soldiers who manned the forts of the pass nearly three weeks to bury the dead from the battle. Others died from their wounds in the days and weeks that followed and also had to be buried. It was in this process of caring for the dead that the story of the hero - or heroes - of Allatoona Pass developed.

There are, in fact, two graves of unknown heroes at Allatoona Pass. One is unmarked and near the southern entrance to the Deep Cut. The other was the individual originally buried at the north end of the cut, but whose grave was moved in 1950 to its current location by the tracks.

Truth be told, there may be many more than that, as numbers of Confederate soldiers likely rest in unmarked and forgotten graves near the places they fell on the slopes of the ridge. When the Southern forces withdrew from the battle, they left their dead and mortally wounded on the field. Union soldiers then buried them, either singly or in groups, near the spots where they fell. How many might still rest there, no one can really say.

The Solitary Grave by the Tracks
The most logical story behind the grave by the tracks is that the individual buried there fell near the tracks at the northern end of the cut during the 1864 battle and was buried where he was found. In around 1880, the grave was marked with a simple stone. The tracks of the Western & Atlantic Railroad still passed through the cut in those days and employees of the railroad took interest in the solitary grave they saw as their trains passed in and out of the cut. They began to care for the grave of a man they knew only as an unknown hero.

In 1950, the grave was moved from its location just a few feet from the tracks to its current site beyond the other end of the pass. It was enclosed with an ornamental iron fence and marked by a simple railroad sign that says only "Unknown Hero." The other unknown hero, who was found in a coffin on a train that pulled into Allatoona Station after the battle, still rests in his unmarked grave at the pass.

To learn more about this fascinating story and to read one theory as to the true identity of the unknown hero, please visit

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