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(Cobb County Courier) – The clear view of Atlanta’s skyline from the hill makes it obvious why it was valuable territory for desperate, retreating Confederate troops in the Summer of 1864. The hill is part of a high ridge overlooking the city and the Chattahoochee River valley. The river was the last major geographic barrier to the advancing federal troops, who were determined to capture Atlanta, an important transportation and supply center for the Confederacy. Both armies were facing each other from hastily dug defensive trenches.
The ridge was an excellent place for a line of earthwork fortifications and artillery, intended to halt Sherman’s advance. It was high ground: easy to defend and hard to attack.
The hill is now the site of Shoupade Park in Cobb County on the edge of Smyrna, and it features the earthwork remains of two shoupades and an artillery redan. Shoupades were a unique series of fortifications built along the Chattahoochee River one month prior to the Battle of Atlanta.
Construction was supervised by their designer, Confederate Brig. Gen. Francis Shoup, and largely built by enslaved laborers. Shoup was under the command of General Joseph Johnston, so the entire row of fortifications became known as Johnston’s River Line.
Thirty-six shoupades were built. Nine remain today, in the form of earthwork mounds that served as the foundation for small triangular wooden forts. The complete structures, earthen and wooden, were 16 feet tall, with ledges for riflemen, and a ground level interior for the soldiers who reloaded the rifles. The individual forts were arranged in a sawtooth pattern to catch advancing enemy troops in crossfire. Each shoupade would hold about…