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In Their Own Words

September 07, 1864

Fall of Atlanta Noted in Journal

Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign took on a particular significance to John Banks of Columbus. He had seven sons to serve in the Confederate infantry companies from Georgia. Three sons were killed before the fall of Atlanta. This left four sons in Hood’s army. On this day, Banks recorded in his journal the fall of Atlanta and the retreat of his four sons:

“Important events since I last made entries in my diary. Atlanta has been besieged by Sherman, the commander of the Yankee Army, for many weeks. Hood, the Confederate commander, evacuated the place at night of the 1st. Some fighting before the evacuation in which the Confederates were defeated and many killed and wounded on both sides. The retreat was successful via McDonough to Griffin, where our army now is. George, Sims, Gilmer and Elbert were in the retreat. This defeat has changed our prospects and makes this a dark day of the war. We have had considerable fighting about Petersburg, Va. We sustain ourselves better at all points than in Georgia.”

Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), p. 34.