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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

September 07, 1864

Diary Entry on Fall of Atlanta and Four Sons Fighting

A Columbus man recorded in his diary about the fall of Atlanta, and the retreating Confederate forces - which included four of his sons. Three other sons had already died in the Atlanta Campaign.

“Important events since I last made entries in my diary. Atlanta has been besieged by Sherman, the commander of the Yankee Army, for many weeks. Hood, the Confederate commander, evacuated the place at night of the 1st. Some fighting before the evacuation in which the Confederates were defeated and many killed and wounded on both sides. The retreat was successful via McDonough to Griffin, where our army now is. George, Sims, Gilmer and Elbert were in the retreat. This defeat has changed our prospects and makes this a dark day of the war. We have had considerable fighting about Petersburg, Va. We sustain ourselves better at all points than in Georgia.” Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), p. 34.