Historic Markers Across Georgia

Grave of the Unknown Hero

Marker ID:  
Location: on the far side of the Railroad Cut/ Deep Cut on the Allatoona Battlefield Trail. Marker is at or near this postal address: 632 Old Allatoona Road SE, Cartersville, GA
County: Bartow
Coordinates: N 34° 6.967    W 084° 43.013
  34.11611666    -84.71688333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Local families once recalled a few days after the battle, a wooden box addressed "Allatoona, Georgia" arrived at the station with no information as to its origin. Six local women found a deceased Confederate soldier in the box and buried him alongside the railroad in a location lost to history. Local historians believe that the burial on this spot is not the soldier the ladies buried, but Private Andrew Jackson Houston of Mississippi, who died here in the battle and was buried where he fell.

Forgotten to time for several years, in 1880 this site was marked with an iron fence and a marble headstone inscribed "AN UNKNOWN HERO, He died for the Cause He thought was right." Railroad employees maintained the grave for many years and later moved the grave to its present site when the rail line was relocated.

Today, the grave of our unknown hero can be found about 1000 yards south of the entrance of the trail along side the current railroad route. Red Top Mountain State Park and Georgia's Department of Natural Resources maintain and protect this grave just as they work diligently to preserve and maintain the Allatoona Pass Battlefield. During your visit, remember those men that suffered and died on this battlefield and honor their memory by helping to preserve this significant historic resource.

Georgia's Governor Joseph Brown (from 1909-1911) was inspired to write this poem about Allatoona's Unkown Hero.

The Soldiers' Grave.
By Joseph M. Brown.

[In Allatoona Pass, by the Western and Atlantic railroad, is the grave of an unknown soldier who fell in the battle there October 5, 1864.]

In the railroad cut there's a lonely grave
Which the trackmen hold sacred to care;
They have piled round it stones, and for it they save
Every flower, when their task calls them there.

Away from the home of his love.
Away from his sweetheart or wife.
Away from his mother, whose prayers went above,
He gave for his country his life.

We know not if, wearing the blue, he came
'Neath the "bright, starry banner" arrayed,
And, dying, that it o'er the mountains of fame
Might forever in triumph wave prayed;
Or we know not if, 'neath the "bonnie blue flag,"
He rushed forth, his country's defender,
Valiant, smote those who her cause down would drag,
And only to death did surrender.

That God only knows: and so in his hand
Let the secret unfathomed e'er rest;
But this we know, that he died for his land,
And the banner he thought was the best.

Heav'n pity the dear ones who prayed his return,
Heav'n bless them, and shield them from woes,
Heav'n grant o'er his grave to melt anger stern,
And make brothers of those who were foes!