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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

September 09, 1864

Diary Recorded Reaction to Sherman Moving People Out of Atlanta

An Atlanta man wrote in his diary the effect Sherman’s plan to move citizens out of Atlanta was having on the people, in particular his slaves.

“We have had several days of great excitement, as it was understood that order had been, or were about to be, issued to the effect that everybody not belonging to the army must leave the city, going North or South as they saw fit, except the families of those men who had left the city before the Yankees came, and such must go South … . But as yet no orders have been published specifying anything and we do not know what we have to do… . The Yankees have not molested us much at the house, and have generally behaved pretty well. One unpleasant feature of present circumstances is the impudent airs the negroes put on, and their indifference to the wants of their former masters. Of course they are all free and the Yankee soldiers don’t fail to assure them of that fact. Jabe’s ‘Sally’ has come out of her hole now and is independent as can be. ‘George’ and ‘Clem’ are said to be in the city too. So our negro property has all vanished into air.” Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of original 1954 volume), Vol. I, p. 643.