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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

August 04, 1864

Encounter with Desperate Deserters Recorded

William King of Cobb County recorded in his diary an encounter with some deserters - who had done so to try and provide for their families - who were in a desperate situation.

I met an Ox Wagon load of Women & children with 3 men going to town from the powder Springs Road, to look for work & something to eat, as they had been stripped of everything. The 2 younger men told me they had deserted from our Army as it fell back & exposed their Homes & families, and that they have been compelled to conceal themselves the greater part of the time to avoid our scouts, that while on the Road today about 7 miles below town, they were overhauled by some of our scouts, who seemed determined to shoot them as deserters, but told them on a/c of the women & children with them they would spare them. What a time of care & watchfulness we in this county are passing through, the danger to life & property demands vigilance on the part of every one. War reduces even civilized men to a state of barbarism. … Source: Diary of William King; Cobb County, Georgia, 1864