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In Their Own Words

November 14, 1864

Sherman Remembered Atlanta Burning

In his personal narrative of the march through Georgia, Gen. William T. Sherman wrote:

“I reached Atlanta during the afternoon of the 14th, and found that all preparations had been made … Colonel Poe, United States Engineer, of my staff, had been busy in his special task of destruction. He had a large force at work, had leveled the great depot, round-house, and the machine-shops of the Georgia railroad, and had applied fire to the wreck. One of these machine shops had been used by the rebels as an arsenal, and in it were stored piles of shot and shell, some of which proved to be loaded, and that night was made hideous by the bursting of shells, whose fragments came uncomfortably near Judge Lyon’s house, in which I was quartered. The fire also reached the block of stores near the depot, and the heart of the city was in flames all night, but the fire did not reach the parts of Atlanta where the court-house was or the great mass of dwelling-houses.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Marching Through Georgia: William T. Sherman’s Personal Narrative of His March Through Georgia (New York: Arno Press, 1978), pp. 146-147.