After the Battle of Jonesboro, Sherman’s Army followed the Confederates to Love Joy’s Station, where Hood rejoined Hardee with Stewart’s and Lee’s Corps. Sherman skirmished a day or so and then after learning that the XX Corps had entered Atlanta, he withdrew from Love Joy’s Station and marched back to Atlanta to claim his prize and losing what many consider to have been a prime opportunity to crush Hood and the Army of Tennessee once and for all. Having taken Atlanta, Sherman decided he had reached his objective and did not think it was worth the bloodshed to continue pressing his advantage.
Upon entering Atlanta, Sherman established his headquarters and began to restore order to the town. He decided that it was a military outpost and ordered all civilians to evacuate. A truce was negotiated with Hood, who was not happy about civilians being forced from their homes, and the civilians were given a choice of taking a train north or one to the south. The ones that choose a train south, were sent to Rough and Ready, where they had to disembark and travel to Love Joy’s Station by wagon. About half the cities population went north and the other half went south. There were some civilians that were allowed to stay as they were given jobs by the Federals.
Poe, Sherman’s Chief Engineer, immediately started to rebuild and strengthen the defensive line around the city. He built artillery forts connected with infantry trenches. With much of the city in ruin, the soldiers started to use building materials from destroyed structures to begin building small shacks as living quarters. Sherman also began to rest and resupply his armies in preparation for his next sortie into the heart of the Confederacy.
Many of the period images that exist of Atlanta come from this time of the campaign. George Barnard entered the city to document the Federal occupation. There are many iconic images of the Federals and their forts in Atlanta.
Note: All the images below are attributed to George Barnard. These images are all open source and were downloaded via wikicommons. They are all in the National Archives or the Library of Congress.
November 10th, 1864 General Sherman sent word via telegraph to General Corse, who was in command of the garrison at Rome. Corse, who had distinguished himself in early October at the Battle of Allatoona Pass, was to begin destroying anything in Rome that had or could have military value to the Confederates. The most important items of military value were the Noble Foundry and the Rail Road. The Foundry was destroyed with explosive charges and the remainder of the majority of the city was put to the torch. While many buildings were not designated as being of military value, some were set on fire by over zealous soldiers and others burned because of their proximity to military targets. By morning there were very few buildings still standing. The ones that survived were isolated from the main part of town that burned. The Federals destroyed two train depots and a warehouse as well as a livery stable still containing horses. As Corse and his men moved south to rendezvous with the remainder of Sherman’s Army, they began to destroy the railroad. In Atlanta, Sherman’s Chief Engineer, Capt. Orlando Poe, was busy at work destroying anything of military value and was focusing much attention on the railroad and its related facilities. Poe had built a battering ram with an iron bar that was just over 21 feet long and suspended from a ten foot tall wooden suspension system. This was used to destroy the round house and depot. Some buildings were also rigged with explosives to be set off upon their departure. In five days, as the Federals leave Atlanta, it will be nothing more that a smoldering ruin.