November 15th, 1864

November 15th, 1864:

The March to the Sea began this morning.  The right wing and Kilpatirck’s cavalry move southeast along the railroad towards Jonesboro.  Slocum’s 20th Corps, part of the left wing, moved east toward Decatur and Stone Mountain.  Sherman, along with the remainder of the left wing and the rear guard of the right wing, stayed in Atlanta.  Sherman supervised the last details of loading the wagon trains and the final destruction of Atlanta.  In the late afternoon of the 15th the orders were given and the torch was put to Atlanta.  An enormous fire soon erupted and began to consume the city.  Artillery shells and other explosives had been placed in some structures and as the fire raged, they began to explode, sending debris and shell fragments through the air in all directions.  Some soldiers remarked that they could not sleep because the light from the fire was too bright.  Sherman remarked to a staffer that he thought the fire could possibly be seen as far away as Griffin, nearly 40 miles away.

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The railroad at Rough and Ready.  The Right Wing of Sherman’s Army moved south along the railroad towards Jonesboro.
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After giving the order to put the torch to Atlanta, the Left Wing of Sherman’s Army moves towards Decatur.
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Atlanta Has Fallen

Sept. 2nd, 1864:

With the Confederate army gone and ensuing occupation of the Federal Army, Mayor Calhoun and a group of prominent citizens rode out of the city under a white flag of truce.  Prior to leaving they debated as to whether or not they should arm themselves, the decide wisely to go unarmed.  They ride out the Mason-Turner Ferry Road, now called Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, where they pass through the defensive perimeter and go by the Ponder house.  They encounter a mounted patrol of Federals whom they engage in conversation.  Calhoun informs the Colonel that he would like to surrender the city to General Sherman, the Colonel states that Sherman is at Jonesboro and has Calhoun write a note to his commanding officer General Ward, surrendering the city.  Calhoun wrote the note and the Colonel and two other officers sign it affirming its validity.  The note reads as follows:

Brigadier General Ward,

Comdg. Third Division, Twentieth Corps

Sir:  The fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands.  As mayor of the city I ask protection to non-combatants and private property.

 

James M. Calhoun,

Mayor of Atlanta

By noon Federal units have reached City Hall and hoisted their colors over the city.  Around 2:00pm, General Slocum enters the city and establishes his headquarters at the Trout House.  He sends a telegram to the Secretary of War in Washington.  The first line is “General Sherman has taken Atlanta”.

Demoralized, Hood’s troops continue their march to Love Joy’s Station to link up with Hardee.  The loss of Atlanta is a crushing blow to the Confederacy.  For Lincoln, it is a great political achievement that helps secure his spot for another term as President.

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Marietta St. at North Side Drive.  The site where Mayor Calhoun formally surrendered the City of Atlanta to Federal force essentially ending General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.
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The Georgia State Capital now sits where Atlanta’s war time city hall once sat.  By noon on the second of September 1864, Federal Forces raised the US flag above city hall.  Later as the occupation of Atlanta began in earnest, the City Hall was used as a headquarters for the Provost and the Provost guard camped on the grounds.

150 Years Ago Today: November 14th, 1864

November 14th, 1864
     General Sherman and his staff moved south from Marietta, towards Atlanta.  Along the way the roads were nearly impassable due to the numbers of soldiers marching south to the city.  The railroad had been completely destroyed.  They pulled up the rails and then made fires with the cross ties.  The rails were placed onto of the fires and the rails were heated red hot and then bent or twisted into an unusable shape.  Sherman and his staff crossed the Chattahoochee River on a wagon bridge near the railroad bridge that had been destroyed earlier in the day.  When General Sherman reached Atlanta, he established his headquarters at the Lyons House.
     By the end of the day, nearly all of Sherman’s army was in or on the outskirts of Atlanta.  They had been organized into two different wings.  The Left Wing and the Right Wing.  The Right Wing was commanded by Major General O.O. Howard and was composed of the 15th Corps, commanded by Major General P.J. Osterhaus, and the 17th Corps, commanded by Major General F. P. Blair.  The left wing was under the command of Major General H. W. Slocum and was composed of the 14th Corps, commanded by Major General Jefferson C. Davis (not to be confused with Confederate President Jefferson Davis) and the 20th Corps under the command of Brigadier General A. S. Williams.  Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick was in command of a Cavalry Division that was to operate as a separate unit operating independently and in support of the two wings.
     Having sent all the sick and injured, as well as nearly all the non combatants. Sherman fielded and army that consisted of 55,329 infantry, 5,063 Cavalry, 1,812 Artillery.  A total of 62,204 soldiers.  They carried all they needed with them and were to forage off the surrounding country side.  This is such an impressive number of men and material to move in coordination with each other, on foot, horseback and by wagon.  Many accounts exist of how well fed everyone was during most of the march due to the region being fairly untouched by the war until now.  Some accounts report that by the end of the march in December, that their livestock was in better condition than when they started out from Atlanta. 

150 Years Ago Today: Sept. 3rd, 1864

Sept. 3rd, 1864:
     General Sherman, having followed Hardee from Jonesboro on the previous day, has formed his troops in a line of battle across from what is left of Hardee’s Corps.  Skirmishing continues throughout the day, buy Sherman does not order an assault.  Just before breakfast, Sherman receives a dispatch from a courier sent by Slocum in Atlanta advising him that they have entered and secured the City of Atlanta and that the remainder of Hood’s forces have evacuated toward Love Joy’s Station via the McDonough Rd.  Sherman, fearing that all of Hood’s forces have reunited, holds off on attacking the Confederates and with his objective “fairly won”, he decides to hold his position a day or two longer and destroy more railroad track, before returning to Atlanta.  Slocum’s entire XX Corps has entered the city and is attempting to restore some semblance of order.

150 Years Ago Today: Sept. 2nd, 1864 Atlanta Has Fallen

Sept. 2nd, 1864:
     With the Confederate army gone and ensuing occupation of the Federal Army, Mayor Calhoun and a group of prominent citizens rode out of the city under a white flag of truce.  Prior to leaving they debated as to whether or not they should arm themselves, the decide wisely to go unarmed.  They ride out the Mason-Turner Ferry Road, now called Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, where they pass through the defensive perimeter and go by the Ponder house.  They encounter a mounted patrol of Federals whom they engage in conversation.  Calhoun informs the Colonel that he would like to surrender the city to General Sherman, the Colonel states that Sherman is at Jonesboro and has Calhoun write a note to his commanding officer General Ward, surrendering the city.  Calhoun wrote the note and the Colonel and two other officers sign it affirming its validity.  The not reads as follows:
     Brigadier General Ward,
          Comdg. Third Division, Twentieth Corps

     Sir:  The fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands.  As mayor of the city I ask protection to non-combatants and private property.
           
                                                                   James M. Calhoun,
                                                                   Mayor of Atlanta

By noon Federal units have reached City Hall and hoisted their colors over the city.  Around 2:00pm, General Slocum enters the city and establishes his headquarters at the Trout House.  He sends a telegram to the Secretary of War in Washington.  The first line is “General Sherman has taken Atlanta”. 
     Demoralized, Hood’s troops continue their march to Love Joy’s Station to link up with Hardee.  The loss of Atlanta is a crushing blow to the Confederacy.  For Lincoln, it is a great political achievement that helps secure his spot for another term as President.