Atlanta became a major supply hub of the southern war effort and consequently a major target of the northern war effort. Lemuel P. Grant designed the city’s fortifications to protect his plantation on the east side of the city in what is now Grant Park. Because they placed the Confederate lines there, General McPherson place his Union forces on the high ground about a mile to the east in what is today East Atlanta. The Union troops were encamped along what is now Clifton Road at I-20 and a front line was dug in along Flat Shoals Road in what is now the East Atlanta Village.
A Union cannon was placed in a pivotal position at Glenwood and Flat Shoals Road to protect the flank of the front line as well as return fire to Grant’s defense. The Confederate forces were able to attack from behind, however. Because of that, the Battle of Atlanta, which culminated the Atlanta Campaign and sealed the fate of the Confederacy, was fought in the East Atlanta behind the Union lines. Over 12,000 men lost their lives, many in bloody hand to hand combat, on one hot, afternoon in July of 1864. Today many historic markers dot the neighborhood including two upturned cannon at the spots where Confederate General Walker and Union General McPherson were killed.