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Tunnel Hill in Whitfield County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Tunnel Hill

The Beginning of the Atlanta Campaign

 

— Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail —

 
Tunnel Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
1. Tunnel Hill Marker
Inscription.  The city of Tunnel Hill was incorporated in 1848. The next year the state of Georgia began construction of a depot in anticipation of the completion of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. This rail line linked Atlanta to Chattanooga. Yet before it could be completed a tunnel had to be carved through nearby Chetoogeta Mountain. Utilizing slave labor this feat was completed in October of 1849, and the first train steamed into Tunnel Hill on May 9, 1850. Today, the depot still stands nearby, and the old tunnel has become a popular tourist attraction.

Also visible is the home constructed by Mr. Clisby Austin, known as the “Clisby Austin House” or “Meadowlawn.” It was built at approximately the same time as the depot. Tunnel Hill witnessed several Civil War events, including the “Great Locomotive Chase” (or “Andrews Raid) on April 12, 1862. Two locomotives, the “General,” stolen žy Federal scouts, and the “Texas,” used by Southern pursuers, passed through the tunnel and the town. One of the crew of the captured “General later wrote,

   We kept

Tunnel Hill Marker is located at right front corner of museum. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
2. Tunnel Hill Marker is located at right front corner of museum.
right on through the tunnel and the
   village of Tunnel Hill beyond where we
   carefully crouched down to conceal our number
   from the curious eyes of any who might be
   about the station.

The chase ended north of Ringgold with the capture of the “General.”

On September 11, 1863, as a Federal army was moving into Georgia in the prelude to the battle of Chickamauga, Union Colonel John T. Wider's “Lightning Brigade” of mounted infantry met Confederate cavalry south of Ringgold. The in Southern troopers made a fighting withdrawal toward Tunnel Hill, during which their commander, Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest, was slightly wounded. At dark the Federals returned to Ringgold.

Following the Confederate defeat near Chattanooga in November 1863, Tunnel Hill lay between the Confederates in Dalton and the Federals in Ringgold. On February 23, 1864, elements of two Federal army corps advanced upon Confederate cavalry occupying an advanced position at Tunnel Hill, then quickly retired. Their feint alarmed Confederate commander General Joseph E. Johnston sufficiently that he withdrew an order sending part of his army to strengthen opposition to Union Major General William T. Sherman's Meridian, Mississippi campaign.

On May 7, 1864, as Union Major General John M. Palmer's

Three nearby markers about Tunnel Hill, the railroad and Clisby Austin. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton
3. Three nearby markers about Tunnel Hill, the railroad and Clisby Austin.
14th Corps advanced on Tunnel Hill, the first shots of Sherman's Atlanta Campaign were fired from a Federal battery on a hill near the Clisby Austin House. The battery and supporting infantry cleared the town of Confederate cavalry and opened the door for the Federal armies to move on Johnston's Confederates at Dalton. Sherman had arrived in Tunnel Hill late that day and used the Clisby Austin House as his headquarters until leaving on May 12 to join the Federal Army of the Tennessee near Resaca.

The last skirmish at Tunnel Hill occurred March 3, 1865, when a squad of Federal soldiers from the 145th Indiana Infantry were attacked by Confederate cavalry led by Major General Joseph Wheeler.
 
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number 8.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 34° 50.391′ N, 85° 2.501′ W. Marker is in Tunnel Hill, Georgia, in Whitfield County. Marker is on Clisby Austin Drive 0.1 miles from Oak Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 215 Clisby Austin Drive, Tunnel Hill GA 30755, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Clisby Austin House (within shouting distance of this marker); Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel

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(within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Tunnel Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Baggage Carts (within shouting distance of this marker); Tunnel Hill W&A Railroad Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); The Excavation (approx. 0.4 miles away); Crow Valley (approx. 2.6 miles away); Mill Creek Gap (approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tunnel Hill.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Tunnel Hill Heritage Center & Museum. (Submitted on November 26, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on the "General". (Submitted on November 26, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 

More. Search the internet for Tunnel Hill.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 26, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 26, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 56 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 26, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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