The Siege of Atlanta

August 1st – August 27th, 1864:

After the Battle of Atlanta on July 22nd, the Federal Artillery began to shell the city of Atlanta, sometimes it was light and random and at other times there were “duels” with the Confederate Artillery in the inner defensive perimeter.

On the first of August, Sherman learned of the failure of the Cavalry raid to destroy the railroads south of the city.  He then sent the following order to General Schofield “You may fire ten to fifteen shots from every gun you have in position into Atlanta that will reach any of its houses.  Fire slowly and with deliberation between 4:00pm and dark.  Thomas and Howard will do the same.” (O.R. 38, V, 324, Sherman to Schofield).

On the 7th of August, after the failure of the Federal forces to take the railroad junction at East Point.  Sherman request two more large siege guns to be sent from Chattanooga by rail.  Those guns could shoot a 4.5 inch diameter round weighing 30 pounds.

As the shelling of the city became more intense, more and more damage was done.  The Federal artillery was using the church spires of town as land marks for sighting their guns.  Homes and businesses alike were damaged or destroyed.  Sherman was targeting the city itself and wanting nothing more than to break Hood’s resolve and force the Confederate army from their stronghold.  At one point, Hood sent a message to Sherman requesting that he stop shelling the noncombatants in the city and pointed out that the cities defensive line was a full mile outside the city.  Sherman replied that Atlanta was a military target and an arsenal.  Sherman continued the siege unchanged.  The first civilian casualty of the siege was small girl in the area of Peachtree St. and Ellis Street.  Solomon Luckie, a free black man who owned a barber shop in town, was killed by a shell near what is now the Five Points Marta Station.  There is an original gas lamp on the corner at the marta station and local legend says that the hole in the base was caused by the same shell that killed Solomon Luckie.

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Part of the Federal siege line was located across this portion for 8th Street, between Penn Ave. and Argonne Ave.  From this point and many others around the city, the Federal army fired round after round of artillery on the Confederates as well as the civilian population of Atlanta.
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The Georgia Pacific building now sits in the general area of where the first civilian casualty of the siege occurred. 
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Peachtree Street (formerly Whitehall St.) at Luckie Street, name sake of the Free Black man Solomon Luckie who was wounded and eventually died from a wound received during the siege of Atlanta.
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Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.  Father Thomas O’Reilly was the pastor at the time and was able to convince the Federals to spare his church and several others in the city during the occupation.  The original structure was a wood frame building that sat on this site until the construction of this structure was started in 1869.  The Federals used the church spires of the city as landmarks to aim their siege guns toward the city.
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Looking across Underground Atlanta towards the Georgia State Capitol.  Much of the historic parts of this area have been built over.
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Underground Atlanta was home to much of the cities commercial district during the war.  The railroad came through the city here and the passenger and freight depots were located in the area as well as a nearby round house.  During reconstruction much of the area was rebuilt, but eventually as the city grew, traffic, a never ending issue in Atlanta, became a problem.  With the number of trains coming and going, a series of viaducts, or bridges were built over the area to allow traffic to pass.  As such, many storefronts were moved up to the level of the new streets leaving spaces available down below the viaducts as well.
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The railroad was single supply route for the City of Atlanta during the siege by Federal forces.  The number of tracks through town have grown and include Marta tracks as well at Freight and Passenger train tracks which still continue to supply Atlanta with goods from around the world.
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Atlanta’s Zero Milepost is located in a security office for Georgia State University under the Central Ave. viaduct.  The milepost is on the lowest level of this parking deck in the office.  This milepost is the one that was used to measure all the railroad distances from. 
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A corner of the old Freight Depot, built in 1869, sits adjacent to the Zero Milepost at Underground Atlanta.  The Georgia State Capitol stands in the background.  Most if not all of the wounded from the battles around the city, were laid out here along the railroad track where they were tended to as they waited for trains to evacuate them to hospitals south of Atlanta
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The Georgia State Capital now sits on the site of the wartime Atlanta City Hall.  The Atlanta City Hall also served at the court house for Fulton County at the time.  After the fall of Atlanta and during the occupation, the 2nd Mass. Regiment camped here and served as the Armies Provost Guard.
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Author: Clint Brownlee

My name is Clint Brownlee and I am a Photographer in Woodstock, Georgia with over 20 years of photographic experience in many different aspects of photography. I have photographed everything from weddings, special events and portraits to published materials, but my passion has always been Fine Art and Nature Photography. I have had a several shows at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia and The Roswell Visual Arts Center in Roswell, Georgia. I now sell through my website: www.clintbrownleephotography.com

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