NEWS | Aug. 18, 2016

Battle of Utoy Creek Historical Marker Dedication

By Sgt. Stephanie Hargett 335th Signal Command (Theater)

EAST POINT, Ga. (Aug. 16, 2016)- – A group of historians, city officials and Civil War re-enactors, gathered here Aug. 6 for the dedication of a historical marker recognizing the sacrifice of those who fought in the Battle of Utoy Creek Aug. 4-7, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War.

“Through the vision and the 10 year persistence of Lt. Col. L. Perry Bennett, his comrades of the James B. McPherson Camp and the Sons of Union Veterans and numerous other organization we stand here today on the anniversary of the Battle of Utoy Creek to mark the effort of men who, in weather just like this, fought so hard to help make our country into the great nation it is today,” said Ray Wozniak, the Commander of the Elisa Moon Camp No.2, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Snellville, Georgia. 

“Bennett’s hard work, dedication and love of this project and this battlefield have made this maker possible”

The Battle of Utoy Creek was fought a lot closer than most people in the local community realize. One does not have to travel far to stand where Civil War Soldiers fought and died so many years ago.

“This historic battle was fought only five miles from the Army Reserve’s 335th Signal Command (Theater) headquarters in East Point,” said Bennett, who has previously served as the command historian for the 335th SC(T). “In fact, East Point was the objective because of the rail center located there at the time.” 
Remembering the battle and colorful history here had quite the impact on some of the attendees of the ceremony.

“It is fascinating to me the unique history of our area and our region and how Atlanta has developed through the results of the union Soldiers more than 152 years ago,” said Michael Julian Bond, member of the Atlanta City Council. “Being a part of this is a really profound moment for me.”

Not only did the location of the battle have an effect on Bond, it also had a much deeper, more personal meaning as well.  

“My great grandfather was freed by this conflict,” he said. “Reverend James Bond, was born into slavery in Louisville, Kentucky but was later freed by the Civil War.”

Events such as these are not only important to Bond, but also many of the other participants of the dedication ceremony. 

“I was always troubled that this battle had not been documented,” said Bennett.  “So we worked to get these two historical markers installed.”

The Battle of Utoy Creek was fought where the Cascade Nature Preserve is located today.  It’s not only a nature preserve, but also a sacred place. Bennett is not alone in preserving the history of the city, but also wants the community to know why these markers are important. 

“This is why city planners originally preserved the areas because they’re hallowed grounds,” said Bennett. “U.S. troops died and spilled their blood here.” 
The event gave attendees like Bond the opportunity to reflect on the past and look to the future.

“This conflict, the Battle of Atlanta, the actions of Gen. Sherman, the Battle of Utoy Creek, and all of these events not only go into making me who I am, but also go into making the American nation who they are,” said Bond. “I think it’s only fitting that we pause and mark the sacrifice of the gentlemen who really helped form America.”