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In Their Own Words

September 06, 1862

Determination for Southern Independence in Diary

In his diary, Atlanta merchant Samuel P. Richards recorded his belief that no matter what happened on the battlefield, southern states would never return to the Union:

“We have closed our store at dark this week, being so hard at work all day that we were tired out by night. Our sales continue good and our profits also good, but yet I would willingly go back to old trade and moderate profits if we could only have peace and independence. We live now in a state of feverish excitement and disgust that gain cannot render bearable or desirable. When will the people of the North return to their senses? When will the fact that is so evident to all around them force itself upon their minds; that eight millions of freemen who are resolved to be free cannot be subjugated by them. Our people are far more united and determined to fight until death than were our forefathers of the former Revolution. It is possible that they may destroy both themselves and us, and some foreign power may then step in and take the spoils - but the once happy Union cannot be restored. They have killed it dead.”

Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), pp. 535.