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In Their Own Words

May 15, 1864

Religion and Fresh Graves Noted in Atlanta

In light of the fact that Union Gen. William T. Sherman had a 100,000-man army now in Georgia with the capture of Atlanta as its primary goal, interest in religion began picking up, as indicated by the following commentary in Atlanta’s Intelligencer newspaper:

“There seems to be an extraordinary interest exhibited in religious works at the present time. The First Baptist Church continues to be crowded night after night, and many persons are seeking the way to become Christians. At Wesley Chapel, the revival progresses with unabated zeal and interest, and accounts from various parts of the army state that our soldiers are enlisting in great numbers under the banner of the Most High.”

Also in Atlanta on this day, merchant Samuel P. Richards wrote in his diary:

“After dinner Sallie and I and the children rode out to the cemetary [Oakland]. The saddest sight that I have seen is the acre of fresh dug graves that are filled by dead soldiers, the result of this terrible war. Not a blade of grass left growing there.”

Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954),Vol. I, p. 586, 590.