Monday, June 30, 2014


            It was a hot summer June day near the mountain in Cobb County. It had been raining but the rain had stopped, puddles dotting the landscape. My great-great grandfather, Isaac Peterson Collier, was there in the trenches with his fellow soldiers in Company K 5th regiment Georgia from Upson County. He had lost a brother in the battle in the past few days but he continued to fight. On June 21, 1864 in the heat of battle, an artillery shell came into the trench from which he and the soldiers were shooting, its fuse burning. Bravely, he
picked up the shell and tossed it out, into the standing rain water, putting out the fuse. He and his fellow Confederate soldiers were saved. For his bravery, he was offered a battlefield commission to Lieutenant.  However, the commission would have transferred him to another unit and he chose to stay with his men from Upson County. Instead, he was promoted to Sergeant and continued to fight until surrender in 1865.
            One hundred and fifty years ago the battle of Atlanta was preceded by the Battle at Kennesaw Mountain and the Battle at Smyrna. In Cobb County we remember the date, not with celebration, but with commemoration of the men who fought valiantly for the South. The Civil War battles in this area are a part of our American history, and, for many of us, the history of our family members. Thanks to the work of the local Sons of the Confederacy, my ancestor is remembered in exhibit 13 at the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park museum.
            The Civil War was a devastating time in our American history, a country torn apart, families torn apart, death, terror, sacrifice, but also bravery, and growth and change. I pray we will never again be a nation divided, but always “one nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
            So, if this was such a strife-ridden time in our history, why do we commemorate it now 150 years later? For one thing, we learn from our past so we don’t repeat it. We look to the past to see how far we have grown as a nation. And we recognize the history of our ancestors. It is not an abstract history, but, like the history of WWI and II, the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, it is the story of our ancestors. I am here today only because God spared my ancestors, my grandfathers and my father and brought them safely through the horrors of war.

            Long ago great-great granddad Collier saved lives with his bravery at a spot that is now near Burnt Hickory and Old Mountain Road in Marietta near Kennesaw Mountain. Today, I live in a subdivision named somewhat after General Robert E Lee and from my porch, I can glimpse Kennesaw Mountain. I can easily imagine skirmishes fought on this land a hundred and fifty years ago. Today, we commemorate the1864 battles in Cobb County, looking back at the history and moving forward into a united, peaceful present and future.

No comments:

Post a Comment