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Sherman Captures Atlanta 150 years ago today

General William Tecumseh Sherman

On this day, September 2, 1864, 150 years ago General William Tecumseh Sherman and his federal forces took Atlanta. The Confederates under General John Beall Hood had abandoned the town the previous day following Sherman’s cutting of the supply lines to Atlanta earlier.

Sherman, on his famous March to the Sea took Atlanta and thereby declared “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.” Atlanta itself was an important railroad hub and manufacturing center. Losing Atlanta was a huge blow to the Confederacy.

A huge rail explosion was the main focus of the citizens for the day. It was not federally blown up but rather set fire by the Confederates as they left town, igniting seven locomotives and eighty train cars. It was depicted later in the movie “Gone with the Wind.”

Several days later the citizens were issued the following orders by James M. Calhoun, Mayor of Atlanta.

“To the Citizens of Atlanta: General Sherman instructs me to say to you that you must all leave Atlanta; that as many of you as want to go North can do so, and that as many as want to go South can do so, and that all can take with them their movable property, servants included, if they want to go, but that no force is to be used; and that he will furnish transportation for persons and property as far as Rough and Ready, from whence it is expected General Hood will assist in carrying it on. Like transportation will be furnished for people and property going North, and it is required that all things contemplated by this notice will be carried into execution as soon as possible.”

Following the migration of the people out of the city, Sherman’s men burned Atlanta.

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