The directions below will take you from your present location to the **beginning** of the Hardee's Night March driving tour, which traces the overnight march led by Confederate Lieutenant General William J. Hardee on July 21–22, 1864. For driving directions for the remainder of the Night March, see the Notes field.
Most of 15-mile overnight march led by Confederate Lieutenant General William J. Hardee on July 21–22, 1864 was along the route of roads that still exist. A driving tour can closely follow the Confederates's wide circling maneuver led by Hardee south and east of the city. The recommended eight-mile tour is much shorter than Hardee's Night March and departs from it in several places. Still, the driving tour covers virtually all the major landmarks outside of Atlanta's city limits and serves as a segue to the battlefield tour stops that follow.
(1) Leaving Atlanta and Moving South of the City
Wheeler’s cavalry and Hardee’s infantry left Atlanta at nightfall and headed due south toward the South River, a city river that begins near the present-day Atlanta airport and enters Lake Jackson, approximately 45 miles to the southeast. The troops exited the city’s walled fortifications along old McDonough Road (present-day Capitol Avenue and Hank Aaron Drive).
(2) Heading Northeast to the Site of Cobb’s Mill
After reaching its southernmost point, at or near the South River, five or six miles outside Atlanta, Hardee’s March shifted direction and moved northeast to Cobb’s Mill on Intrenchment Creek, a local landmark that the head of the column reached at dawn on July 22, 1864.
(3) Leaving Intrenchment Creek
Hardee and his four division commanders met Cobb at his house north of the creek at daybreak or shortly thereafter on July 22. Cobb and a mill worker named Case Turner agreed to serve as guides as the march continued northward. Thus far, the route of the march was relatively clear, but the road north from Intrenchment Creek meandered through more heavily wooded countryside that was unfamiliar to Hardee and his division commanders.
(4) Detour around Terry’s Mill Pond
Following Walker and Bate’s route, continue on Fayetteville Road, which drops in elevation at Sugar Creek Valley. As noted on the roadside historical marker, located just east of the dip in the road, the two divisions detoured off Fayetteville Road at this point, moved slowly along the west bank of the creek, and struggled through marsh and thickets around Terry’s Mill Pond. The mill pond, which no longer exists, was comprised of the impounded waters of Sugar Creek. Walker and Bate’s detour around the western side of the mill pond took considerable time and further delayed the Confederate attack, which was already hours behind schedule.