Diary of Orrin Brown, South of Dalton, Georgia
We layed here at Dalton all day. There is hardly a building in the town that has a window and they are tarring down what buildings there is here and burning them to keep the soldiers warm and cook their vituals, there has 8 trains passed us here today mostly loaded with soldiers. I read 10 Chap. in Testament today, we find all of these southern vilages are in a ruinous condition and the whites mostly leaving either North or south the most of them North. We left Dalton at about 8 PM while there we layed in a good supply of wood, got a large flat stone built a fire on it and were very comfortable, but our rations have run out and we cannot draw any more till we get to Atlanta.
End of the First Part of Journal
Dalton, Georgia, had a population of 1,649 in the census of 1860. This part of Georgia had been home to the Creek indians until the mid 18th century, when the Cherokee pushed into the area. The Cherokee were removed in 1838 on the Trail of Tears. That was within the lifetime of young Pvt. Orrin Brown when he found his way into the burn-out burg. That would be as if the land under your home had been forcibly taken at recently as 1988.
Dalton became a hotly contested location during the war. The first regional railroad was completed from Chattanooga to Atlanta through Dalton in 1850. This was the site of the Great Locomotive Chase in April 1862. Dalton became a battle site on May 7-12, 1864, and August 14-15, 1864. The original 1847 Western & Atlantic Railroad Station still stands at Dalton.
There is a note in Orrin Brown’s journal that this ended the “first part”. He later notes when he sent it home from Atlanta, before the supply lines were cut.