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In Their Own Words

July 03, 1864

Diary Entry on Fall of Marietta

William King lived in Cobb County and witnessed the fall of Marietta personally, along with all its hardships, as he recorded in his diary.

3 July. Sunday. 1864. “I arose early and took my breakfast, our infantry still passing through and gathering up the remaining chickens. About 6 o’clock the last of our infantry had passed, and our Cavalry skirmishers were collecting in the yard, they informed me that a detachment of our Cavalry had formed in an open field a few hundred yards south, to check the advance of the Federal Cavalry. The firing soon commenced. I placed the servants and children for safety in the stone wood cellar, where I remained with them the most of the time, the firing continued about half an hour while the Federal Cavalry were advancing from the Powder Springs Road to our house. Many of them were killed or wounded–near the house, our Cavalry fell back near 1 o’clock, some passing over the Railroad embankment, and others over the Atlanta Road, and for some time kept up a fire on each other with small arms, the balls falling about the yard. After 7 o’clock all was quiet again on the premises, and we in possession of the Federal Army. The advance Cavalry was a detachment under command of Lieut. Harvey of 15 Ill. Reg. of Gen’l Hooker’s escort, his behavior was very gentlemanly, he asked me if I had any Rebel soldiers. I told him but one, who was sick, and him I delivered up. A Major and Col. soon after made their appearances, all with the men conducting themselves very properly. I was asked what supplies I had and arms, which I informed them, Lieut. Harvey took the 3 Pistols and a Hammock leaving the double barrel gun. The Pistol and Hammock he stated should be returned to me. The corn and fodder were all wanted for the horses and mules which were greatly in need of provender. I remonstrated about the taking of all the corn as I needed a part for food for myself and servants. They offered to supply us with wheat flour, but upon my urging our preference for corn, they asked how much would be needed by us for food, I replied 20 bushels, they kindly left me 30 bushels, taking 100 for which the Q. M. (Capt. Geo. R. Cadwallader, 1 Br: 1 Div: 20 A. C.) gave me his certificate for payment, including 1000 fodder. Nothing else on the premises was disturbed by them. Lieut. Harvey left me 2 guards to remain with me until the next morning. Many officers called on me during the morning, all of whom I found to be very gentlemanly men particularly so with Gen’l Elliot Chief of the Cavalry, who remained with me about half an hour, with whose visit I was greatly gratified as a man of education, polish and laudable sentiments, and have seldom met a more agreeable companion. He promised me another visit. As my guards were to leave me the next morning, about 3 1/2 o’clock, I went to town to procure other guards for the next morning, which Col. Stone (acting Comm’t) promised to send to me in the morning. On returning home about 5 o’clock, Sharp met me at the cemetery nearly out of breath, informing me that men had broken into the House and were committing great robberies. I asked after the guards, he stated they had left, soon after I had gone to town. I immediately returned to Col. Stone, informing him of the circumstances, and asked him for a guard at once. He stated he had not a solitary man to spare me then, but he very kindly promised to ride out himself in a few minutes, which he did before I got home, and advised me as I went out, to stop at Gen. Thomas’ Hqs. and procure a guard [torn], and a guard [torn] with whom I returned home after an absence of about 2 hours, when I found Col. Stone and a guard which had been placed on the premises by Gen. Whipple during my absence in town. My short absence had afforded ample time for the robbers to commit the most thorough depredations, one of the guards left with me by Gen. Hooker’s escort, was the first to commence the robbing, he broke in the first door soon after I left, multitudes followed him, every room, closet, wardrobe, and trunk was forced open, nothing escaped their examination, and almost everything of value which they could remove was taken, and what remained was strewn about the room, but few books were taken, but nearly all the clothing for persons and beds and provisions were appropriated freely and extensively. Much was however saved by the fortunate arrival of Gen. Thomas at the House, who had much returned, and 6 or 7 of the Robbers (a chaplin among the number) were arrested, and requested Gen. Whipple to leave a guard on the premises. The 2 guards left by Gen. Hooker’s escort had left before the arrival of Gen. Thomas. Gen. Thomas very kindly sent me a message by his Ass’t A. G. (Maj’r Hoffman) that the severest penalty of the army regulations should be enforced on the robbers; many other officers called on me during the afternoon and evening expressing their sympathy and condemnation of the outrages which had been committed. The loss of so many articles of provisions, all sugar, syrup, coffee & tea, &c. and soap and most of my clothing and money will subject me and the servants to much inconvenience, but nothing connected with the loss occasioned as much grief as the entire loss of the clothing of Mr. MacLeod, the Robbers knew nothing of the sacred value placed upon those relics, but had they, it would have availed nothing towards saving them. So closed this painful Sabbath day, and leaving me a restless night to follow.”

Source: Diary of William King; Cobb County, Georgia, 1864