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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

September 02, 1864

Confederate Ammunition Train Destroyed; Atlanta Surrendered

By the morning of September 2, all Confederate troops had been pulled out of Atlanta - except a few cavalry with a special mission. General John Bell Hood had no intention of leaving the Union army anything of military value, so the few Confederates left behind began destroying everything they could not carry. Those Atlanta residents who still remained were awakened by terrible explosions as the seven locomotives and eighty-one loaded cars that made up Hood’s ammunition train was blown up. The demolition continued for five hours. By dawn, their work was done, and the small contingent rode out of town to join Hood’s forces retreating to Lovejoy’s Station.

After the chaos of the evacuation and destruction, Atlanta was silent. Residents (those who remained) and city officials expected the Union army to ride in immediately. Seeing no one, mayor James Calhoun and a small delegation rode out with a white flag to surrender. They met a contingent of the 20th Corps and Calhoun was instructed to submit his desire to surrender in writing. Calhoun’s letter simply stated:

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

By early afternoon, Union troops were streaming into Atlanta. The Second Massachusetts Regiment was the first unit to reach downtown. They occupied Atlanta’s city hall and raised the U.S. flag. Atlanta was now in Union hands.

Image of Massachusetts Infantry Camped at Atlanta City Hall
Library of Congress
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