Tools Menu

Share Your Feedback

Winner of two 2013 Emmy Awards from the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

Today in Georgia History
is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.

November 12

Get Adobe Flash player

Destruction of Atlanta

November 12, 1864 - Atlanta, Augusta, Athens, Macon
With fires burning brightly, this day was still one of the darkest in Atlanta’s history.

Atlanta was the gateway through which most of the traffic passed between the south Atlantic seaboard and the regions to the west, and the city became a major prize during the Civil War.

Sherman captured the city in September after a five-month campaign, but he knew he couldn’t hold it for long, as his army’s supply line ran hundreds of miles back to Nashville, Tennessee.

He decided to split his army in two, sending half back toward Nashville under General George Thomas to keep the Confederate army of Tennessee busy, while he would lead the other half on a march across Georgia. Before evacuating Atlanta, Sherman directed his men to destroy everything of military value.

Most of the business district was torched along with many private homes.

Sherman’s army was now cut off from its supply line and on its own, and 40 percent of Atlanta lay in ruins after the destruction that began on November 12, 1864, Today in Georgia History.

Resources

Vocabulary

Daily Activity

Learn More & Image Credits

Related Topics

nineteenth century, Civil War, Sherman; military, Individuals groups and Institutions, Power Authority and Governance

Related Articles
& Links

Destruction of Atlan...

John B. Gordon...

Henry Wirz...

Fast Fact

While occupying Atlanta, Northern generals moved into some of the city's nicer homes.

GHS Finding Aids

Alva Sinks letter

J.H. Everett letters