The crescent-shaped Marietta National Cemetery in Kennesaw, Georgia is a solemn memorial to America’s fallen military veterans. The burial sections are laid out to follow the site’s undulating topography and provide scenic backdrops of nearby Atlanta on one side and Stone Mountain or Kennesaw Mountain on the other.
The cemetery features a monumental stone archway with two columns at each end bearing an inscription from President John Quincy Adams: “In Memory Of Our Glorious Dead.”
On April 12, 1862, Marietta’s first major Civil War involvement occurred when Union spy James J. Andrews and twenty-four of his men boarded “The General,” a wood-burning locomotive, while the passengers and conductor were stopped for breakfast in Marietta. The “Andrews’ Raiders,” as they are known, boarded the engine and drove north, severing telegraph lines and ripping up rail tracks along the way. As they approached broken tracks, the train’s conductor and others gave chase, commandeering two other trains. When the Raiders arrived in Ringgold, Georgia, about 80 miles northwest of Marietta, they jumped off the train and dispersed into the woods. Andrews was apprehended and hanged in Atlanta.
The cemetery is 23.2 acres in size and is bounded by Washington Avenue Northeast, Rogers Street, Roswell Street, and Cole Street. The cemetery, which was laid out in crescents, circles, ovals, and shield shapes by Union Army Chaplain Thomas B. Van Horne, has 21 burial sections with concentric rows of graves within each section. The cemetery’s undulating terrain rises from the main entrance in the northwest corner of the grounds to a central hill, which houses the flagpole and rostrum. Kennesaw Mountain is visible to the northwest, and the city of Atlanta and Stone Mountain are visible to the southeast. The majority of the paths in the cemetery follow the site.
Two recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, are buried at Marietta National Cemetery. The Medal of Honor is awarded for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”
Transferring of Soldiers
Over the next three years Union soldiers from Dalton to Augusta were disinterred and reinterred at the Marietta National Cemetery. These men had been buried with wooden grave markers, and by 1869, when the last group was transferred, many of the markers and the names were gone. More than 17,000 men are buried here, more than 3,000 of them unknown. Many of the men died during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and a total of 10,172 died during the Civil War.
About Henry Greene Cole & Dix Fletcher
Cole and Fletcher worked for the Western and Atlantic Railroad after the war, in addition to running the Marietta National Cemetery. Despite the fact that many Southerners had doubts about Cole and Fletcher’s allegiances during the war, none of the suspicions were ever proven, though Mr. Cole did spend a few nights in a Confederate jail in South Carolina, suspected of being a Union spy. After Joseph E Johnston surrendered in April 1865, he was released.
The Marietta National Cemetery is a place that honors the sacrifice of our military heroes, but also welcomes any civilian who wishes to visit. It is an oasis in the midst of urban life where souls can find peace and be at rest. If you are interested in visiting this solemn site or want more information about what they offer, please contact them today!
Marietta, Georgia is blessed with some of Georgia’s most picturesque landmarks. Here’s our list of the best of the best you shouldn’t miss:
- Strand Theatre
- The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art
- The Marietta Museum of History
- The Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum
- The William Root House Museum and Garden
- The Big Chicken
- Marietta Square
- Brumby Hall and Gardens
These amazing schools are located just down the street from our location at 2909 Austell Road SW, Suite 112. Stop by for a visit anytime!