ATLANTA — Interstate 20 roars in the background, but McPherson Avenue is otherwise a quiet road.
It’s hard to imagine what this land was like 145 years ago — completely undeveloped and ravaged by war. Commercial and residential development has replaced trenches and battlefields over time, but at the intersection of McPherson and Monument avenues stands a reminder of the war that once raged here.
On July 22, 1864, during the battle of Atlanta, Union Gen. James B. McPherson was riding his horse when he stopped to observe the fighting. The general encountered Confederate troops under Patrick Cleburne’s command. They yelled, “Halt,” but McPherson unsuccessfully tried to flee; he was shot and fatally wounded.
“McPherson’s death was a great loss to me,” Gen. William T. Sherman later wrote. “I depended much on him.”
U.S. Army Engineers later erected the monument to remember where McPherson died. In addition to the monument, McPherson was also honored with Fort McPherson, an army post in Atlanta. Of course, McPherson is also honored with McPherson and Monument avenues where the monument is located.