Allatoona Pass is the site of significant and bloody Civil War battles that took place after the fall of Atlanta in September 1864. With no city to defend, the Confederate Army treated from Atlanta in 1864. With no city to defend, the Confederate Army retreated from Atlanta and began a new tactic of attacking federal supply lines to the north. On October 4, Confederate Major General Samuel G. French´s division of 3,276 men was ordered to march north from Big Shanty and attack the Federal Garrison of 976 troops defending the railroad cut it Allatoona. After an all-night march, the French´s troops surrounded this area and attacked on the morning of October 5 with plans to overrun the Federals, fill the railroad cut with debris, and cut off supplies to the Union Army in Atlanta. Unknown to French, Federal reinforcements arrived only hours before the battle on a train from Rome. It held General John Corse and 2,025 additional soldiers, many of whom were armed with Henry Repeating rifles. The new rifles gave the federals decisive advantage in firepower.
After hours of fierce fighting and the near capture the Federal positions, French withdrew his troops following warnings that his division might be cut off from the main Confederate Army. In a matter of hours, 1,603 men from both sides had been killed, wounded, or were missing. With a 35% Union casualty rate and 27% for the Confederate, Allatoona Pass ranks as one of the most deadly and stubbornly contested battles of the war.
The first Henry rifles reach the hands of Union soldiers by mid-1862. The revolutionary design and rapid fire rate of this rifle quickly made it a favorite. Reports of the successful use of Henry rifles and Civil War were numerous. In Major William Ludlow´s account of the Battle of Allatoona Pass, he writes, "What saved us that day was the fact that we had a number of Henry rifles." " This company at 16 shooters sprang to the parapets and poured out such a multiplied, rapid and deadly fire, that no men could stand in front of it and no serious effort was made thereafter to take the fort by assault. " After an encounter with the 7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which had the good fortune to be armed with Henrys, one Confederate officer is credited with the phrase, "It´s a rifle you can load on Sunday and shoot all week long."