I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta history center. It is late April, 1864. General William t. Sherman plans to push his union armies of 110,000 men out of Chattanooga using the one supply line that takes him directly south … the western and Atlantic railroad.
It also leads him directly to Atlanta, the confederate supply base. confederate forces are entrenched near Dalton, eighty miles north of Atlanta. They rely on the same railroad to bring 400 tons of supplies every day from Atlanta. This single railroad will now be the lifeline for both the union and confederate armies.
By 1864, Georgia is home to the South’s most essential war industries… Hundreds of factories far from the front and safe from attack … for now.
Everything … Guns, swords, bullets, beltplates, and cartridge boxes – is made in Georgia…. Much of it made in Atlanta … and nearly all of it moves by rail through Atlanta.
This is why Sherman is in Georgia – and why Atlanta is his target.
“We have been fighting Atlanta all the time,” he complained, “... capturing guns, and wagons, marked Atlanta and made here ... “
“Since they have been doing so much to destroy us … we have to destroy them.”
Sherman’s war in Georgia is about to begin.
I’m Masud Olufani and this is week one.