Press Release 06-07-08 – Newly Created Guide: Civil War District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

‘Southern Belles to Rebel Yells’ Newly created guide draws visitors to Historic Roswell’s and Marietta’s Civil War district

ROSWELL, GA– June 7, 2008 –The Civil War heritage in the Georgia cities of Roswell and Marietta, both located in Atlanta’s metro area, is so rich that the two towns recently charted a course to commemorate it: “Southern Belles to Rebel Yells” highlights the mansions, museums, monuments and mills, cemeteries, slave quarters and other Civil War-related sites in Roswell and Marietta. This guide is especially timely as the country approaches the 150 year mark of the beginning of the Civil War and statewide commemoration of this tragic chapter in American history unfolds over a four-year period. With their new guide, Roswell and Marietta invite visitors to step into the very footprints of history.

Southern Belles
Roswell has over 640 acres of vintage homes, historic sites, museums, monuments, churches and cemeteries, with 122 acres listed on the National Register of Historic Places—much of which is connected to the Civil War. Marietta is graced with an old-fashioned town square known as Antebellum Square and five National Register Historic Districts against a dramatic mountain setting. Both are fitting backdrops for Southern belles and each boasts a singularly famous one.

In the former, real-life belle Mittie Bulloch grew up to become the mother of President Teddy Roosevelt and the grandmother of Eleanor Roosevelt. Mittie’s home, the circa 1839 Bulloch Hall, was the site of her 1853 wedding to northerner Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. Today, visitors may tour the house with its period furnishings and newly opened Museum Room and its grounds where reconstructed slave quarters narrate the story of “Slave Life in The Piedmont.”

In the latter city, the most famous belle in fiction history holds court at the Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square. Tucked into the circa 1880s Thomas Warehouse building, the museum includes costumes and jewelry, signed first editions and contracts, movie props and scripts, scene drawings, posters, photographs and dolls—a fitting tribute to Margaret Mitchell, her famous novel and the filming of one of the most popular movies ever made. Of special note: the Bengaline Gown worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and an exhibit dedicated to the African-American members of the cast, including letters written by Hattie McDaniel (“Mammy”).

Rebel Yells
More than 17,000 men are buried at the Marietta National Cemetery—all of them Union soldiers—plus more than 3,000 unknown. Many of the soldiers died during the nearby Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and a total of 10,072 died during the Civil War alone. The Marietta Confederate Cemetery, created from a corner of donated plantation land, was started in 1863 for the burial of 20 Confederate soldiers who died in a train wreck. It is the final resting place for more than 3000 soldiers, with every Confederate State represented, as well as Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri. The cemetery remains the largest Confederate Cemetery south of Richmond, Virginia. A large number of the buried soldiers fought in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and the Battle of Kolb’s Farm.

On the banks of Vickery’s Creek, ruins of the Roswell Mills may still be seen. During the Civil War, these mills were one of the leading suppliers of goods to the Confederacy. When Union soldiers arrived in Roswell to take the river bridge, they discovered two things: the bridge had been destroyed by Confederate troops (the Union would hastily rebuild it, only to burn it down) and the mills were still in operation. Flying over the mills in an attempt to disguise their purpose was a French Flag.

Unfortunately, Roswell’s neutrality claim was untrue and General W.T. Sherman ordered the mills burned. The 400 mill workers, mostly women and children, were charged with treason and shipped north to uncertain fates. It was an action that enflamed the emotions and the anger of citizens both north and south, causing even northern newspapers to criticize the Union general. Although the women and children were eventually released, the fates of most remain a mystery. Today, the Lost Mill Workers of Roswell Monument located in Old Mill Park pays tribute to these citizens.

Life in the Civil War Era
Looking today much as it did 160 years ago, right down to its original furnishings and 10 outbuildings that include corn crib, carriage house and slave quarters, is the Smith Plantation Home. A living history museum, the home and acreage were kept intact through time by descendants of Archibald Smith who came to Roswell with his family in 1845 to escape the heat and insects of coastal Georgia. The house and grounds are a time capsule of 19th century daily life of that of a well-to-do farm family.

“Visitors are put in touch with Civil War history in a rather unique way here,” says Chuck Douglas, historic site coordinator at Smith Plantation. “We talk about the family, about how people were living during the war here in Roswell and particularly here at the Smith Plantation.”

More living history unfolds at The Root House Museum. Located just a block off Marietta’s picturesque Square is the circa 1845 house, one of the oldest surviving frame houses in town. Inside, visitors get a peek into the middle class home life of merchant William Root, Marietta’s first pharmacist, and his family.

The house is owned and operated by Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society and tours are unscripted, so each docent gives a different tour. The home is furnished with period furniture in the fashion of the 1850s. The home’s detached kitchen and garden are favorite exhibits with visitors.

Also part of “Southern Belles & Rebel Yells” are these attractions: Barrington Hall, The Teaching Museum North and Roswell Town Square in Roswell; the Marietta Museum of History, Brumby Hall & Gardens and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Marietta; and, in both towns, ghost tours that include Civil War-related sites, stories and scares.

Located in Atlanta’s metro area, Roswell and Marietta are both rich in Civil War history and heritage. For a downloadable copy of the “Southern Belles & Rebel Yells” guide, visit www.belles-rebels.com. Purchase a Passport for savings on admission to several Civil War-related museums and sites, available in both Roswell and Marietta. For information about accommodations, shopping and dining, contact the Historic Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau by calling toll-free 1.800.776.7935 or by visiting www.visitroswellga.com  and the Marietta Welcome Center and Visitors Bureau at 1.800.835.0445 or www.mariettasquare.com. More information may be obtained from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, www.georgia.org.