Diary of Orrin Brown, Atlanta, Georgia
Just after day light we were aroused by the boom of Artillary by the Rebs within 1 mile of our Camp on the East. Some of the boys said they saw the shell they fired either 10 or 20 shots and then all was quiet for about 30 minutes. Then they attacted our forces on the west about 3 miles from our Camp with Artilery and musketry it lasted I think about two hours. we could hear it very plain. There were about 30 ot the rebs attacted our forces on the east. they done that to call our forces that way so they would haave abetter chance on the west. our men picked up two dead rebs on the east but I have not heard how they came out on the west.
We drew rations about 8 AM. I went over to the hospital to get some midicin for Clark, he is about the same as he was yesterday. I went over to the Berrying ground this afternoon, there is some beautifull monuments there but they were most of them got up in Philadelphia Pa. nearly every thing in the South was manufactured in the North. I also went over to the large Iron Rolling Mill that the rebs destroyed when they left they also destroyed 150 or 200 cars all burned, some of our men went yesterday and knocked a piece out of the flange of every car wheel so the rebs could not use them again, from all appearances I think this place will be evacuated and burned by our forces. The weather today has been Cloudy and warm so that I am sweating now sitting here writing, wrote a letter to Malissa this evening.
The Atlanta Rolling Mill, opened in 1858, became the South’s 2nd most productive iron works, specializing in re-rolling railroad rails, as well as cannon and iron cladding for the navy. The Confederate army destroyed the mill along with most other strategic sites as they left Atlanta on 1 September 1864.
On 9 November 1864, Gen. William T. Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 120, outlining the code of conduct on the upcoming march through Georgia. This included in part:
IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command, aiming at all times to keep in the wagons at least ten day’s provisions for the command and three days’ forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass, but during a halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and to drive in stock of their camp. To regular foraging parties must be instructed the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road traveled.
V. To army corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility.
VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or bridges. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts, and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.
VII. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along, but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one and that his first duty is to see to them who bear arms.