Sons of Confederate Veterans
June 24, 2014
GEORGIA COMMEMORATES BATTLE OF KENNESAW AND A FALLEN HERO
(Atlanta – June 24, 2014) One hundred and fifty years ago to the day, a special service was held on top of Pine Mountain in Cobb County commemorating the heroic stand of Southern soldiers at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain that ultimately forced Union General William T. Sherman to abandon all hopes of capturing the natural fortress and also commemorating the tragic death of one of the South’s most beloved generals, the "Fighting Bishop" Leonidas Polk.
The special service was conducted on Saturday, June 14, 2014 and was officiated by officers from the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. At precisely 11 o’clock a minute of silence was observed by the attendees. It is the best estimate that it was 11 o’clock exactly 150 years earlier that the Bishop-General departed this life.
Polk served as a Lieutenant General in the Confederate Army resisting Sherman’s invasion while still maintaining his role as Bishop of Louisiana.
On June 14, 1864, Bishop-General Polk was standing atop Pine Mountain in Cobb County, Georgia with commanding General Joseph E Johnston and General William Hardee. They were surveying Federal lines when Maj. Gen. William Sherman rode up and saw them atop the mountain ridge. He gave orders to an Indiana artillery battery to fire three rounds to scatter the "saucy" rebels. After the first round, Johnston and Hardee cleared the area. Polk stopped to take a final view when a 3 inch Hotchkiss shell struck him full in the chest, killing him instantly.
In 1902 the United Confederate Veterans constructed a monument on the spot where Polk fell. For more than 20 years the Sons of Confederate Veterans have held a memorial service to remember this Christian warrior who fell in defense of the Southland.
For the Sesquicentennial Memorial service, the Sons of Confederate Veterans had the honor of installing the Bishop-General’s great – great – great grandson, Francis Devereaux Polk IV into his namesake’s camp, the General Leonidas Polk camp 1446 Smyrna, Georgia. Francis Polk presently serves as Provost of Ocean County College in New Jersey. As Polk smilingly told the audience, he lives in the only state to have voted twice against Abraham Lincoln.
Approximate 150 people attended the mountaintop service which included the installation of Francis Polk into the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a consecration of the Memorial Monument erected in 1902 by Rev. Archibald Everhart, a keynote address concerning the life of the Bishop-General by Martin K. O’Toole, closing remarks by Rev. J. W. Binion, who portrays Gen. Polk, with the artillery and musket salute including the mountaintop service.
Following the mountaintop service, the audience was invited to the Hardage house. This wartime structure served as General Polk’s last headquarters. The home remains in the same family over 150 years later. Here the audience enjoyed a pleasant lunch under shade trees, reminisces by Hardage family members about General Polk’s stay and another discussion of General Polk’s career by Prof. Michael Schaeffer of Kennesaw State University. Rev. Binion, in the persona of the Bishop-General, blessed the crew of a 12 pound artillery piece who then fired a salute.
For more information about General Leonidas Polk or any of this year’s planned events to celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the War, contact the Sons of Confederate Veterans at 404.271.8473 or online at www.GeorgiaSCV.org