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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

September 04, 1864

Diary Entry on Atlanta Occupation and Proposal to End War

William King of Cobb County wrote in his diary, mention the Union occupation of Atlanta, and in interesting conversation he had with a soldier from Iowa on the prospects of ending the war, and how it should be done.

“…Sabbath again–another week gone, & I one week nearer Home; & Atlanta being occupied by the Federals, I may soon be able to get a passport to return Home–& what anxiety must I feel until I can hear from Home, not knowing what sad changes may have taken place during the long, anxious period since I have last heard from them. After the hard Rains yesterday, we have today a bright, clear & cool Sabbath. I have not left the House, not being able to hear of any Church services in town. I may walk into town this afternoon for exercise. Dr. Miller (Chief Surgeon at Military Ins: Hosp:) made me a pleasant of over 2 hours this morning, he is a very intelligent & pleasant man from Iowa. He told me he would like to move to this country after the war was over, & we united, but he apprehended the feelings would be too much opposed to all Northerners. I told him I did not think it would be so towards him, he has been so very kind to Mrs. McC. & others. We had a long & pleasant discussion about the waging of this War & the prospects of its termination. I told him if the North was contending for the Union & the Constitution as they professed, an early reunion may take place, but if they intended to act in violation of the Constitution, on the subject of Slavery or in any other way, they had to subjugate the South & force it back & keep it in by many Bayonets, which would violate all principles of a free government, to effect this purpose it would require years of bloody War. He said it was a sad state, but the North was so convinced that we could not live together in harmony with slavery, that it became necessary to if possible to get rid of the [torn] still he admitted that the North could not determine on any feasible [torn] of the Negro, to place them in a condition of happiness & usefulness [torn] slavery–he admitted that the difficulties were very great in [torn] but thought that without a reunion with the South, [torn] up into fragments & go to ruins, in which I agreed with [torn] but as perfect equals …” Source: Diary of William King; Cobb County, Georgia, 1864