Moreland Avenue: Scene of intense fighting on July 21 and 22, 1864, Leggett's Hill was the highest ground between Atlanta and Decatur and the most important strategic position in the Battle of Atlanta.
What to See: Bald Hill—named Leggett's Hill by the Yankees after the struggle for its control on July 22, 1864—was the highest elevation on the north–south ridge line along which present-day Moreland Avenue is located and also the high point between Atlanta and Decatur. It was the scene of some of the most ferocious fighting in the Battle of Atlanta. Brigadier General Mortimer D. Leggett's Union Division had captured the round-topped hill on July 21 and successfully defended it the next day.
When the Confederates failed to dislodge the Federals on July 22, they ceded control of the most important strategic position east of the city. Leggett's Hill remained a visible battlefield landmark until the early 1960s, when it was leveled during construction of I-20. The ridge line along Moreland Avenue is evident from the downslope of the east–west streets that intersect it.
As shown in the Cyclorama painting, the hill crested across an open field that stretched from north to south for over a quarter of a mile. Its largely cleared north, south, and western sides rose gently; the eastern face was relatively steep and wooded. By securing the summit on July 21, the northerners won a commanding view of the entire battlefield and a site from which they could fire cannon shot into Atlanta, two miles away.
The next day, the Confederate Division that had been forced off the hill, Major General Patrick R. Cleburne's Division of Hardee's Corps, led the offensive that attempted to retake it. The opposing troops encountered each other at murderously close range and at times engaged in hand-to-hand combat, aided by bayonet and clubbed rifles.
Some Federal units entrenched on the hill fended off Confederate attacks from the flank, rear, and front, jumping from one side of their earthworks to the other to repel charges. Only late in the afternoon when the southerners launched their most coordinated attack did they compress the Federal forces on Leggett's Hill and threaten a serious rupture in the Union line. They came close to dislodging the Yankees from the strategic high ground before being checked. A key component of the Confederate's surge, Major General Carter L. Stevenson's Confederate Division advancing against Leggett's Division, is depicted in the Cyclorama.