The 15th Infantry Regiment Association hosted a ceremony Friday to dedicate a monument commemorating the service of the 15th Infantry, 16th Infantry, 18th Infantry and 19th Infantry Regiments for their action during the Civil War at Kennesaw Mountain and the Atlanta Campaign.
“A lot of people thought I was crazy for putting a Yankee monument on a Confederate battleground,” joked Michael Horn, a trustee of the association that orchestrated the event, in his opening remarks.
Horn said he spearheaded the monument project for two years.
The stone column bearing an inscription of the infantries will be moved a half mile from where the ceremony took place, Horn said, noting its position in the center of the open field off Burnt Hickory Road was a temporary site it had occupied since early March.
It will eventually come to rest beside the Union soldiers’ “fighting positions,” which remain dug into the ground around nearby trails.
Horn said the lingering foxholes were his favorite piece of the history remaining in the area.
“The Civil War was a long time ago. It’s still with a lot of people today.”
Horn reminded the crowd of military members and civilians that the Union soldiers they were honoring walked to Kennesaw from Chattanooga in May 1864 — wearing wool uniforms. They fought a “seasoned” enemy in its own backyard along the way, he noted.
Several of the attendees fanning themselves in the 90-degree noon heat chuckled at the mention of such a feat.
U.S. Army Col. Jack Marr served as the ceremony’s featured speaker, addressing the crowd after Horn finished outlining the historical context of the battle.
“It’s part of our commitment in uniform to remember those who’ve gone before,” Marr said.
Marr, a former commander in the 15th infantry, is now the chief of staff at Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence.
He has served in the Army as an infantry officer since 1987.
Elsie Jackson, a spokeswoman for Fort Benning, estimated three dozen soldiers from the Columbus Army post had turned out for the event.
She said learning the history of your unit is part of the Army’s culture.
World War II veterans were treated like “rock stars” when they visited a group of airmen preparing to make their first jump, Jackson said, because of the way military members cherish their history.
The 313th Army Band set the tone of the ceremony, scoring the afternoon with renditions of taps, “God Bless America” and the “Army Song.”