I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.
It is late July, 1864.
Sherman is just outside Atlanta’s fortifications – and knows he cannot attack them.
Both North and East of the city, Confederate General John Bell Hood loses at Peachtree Creek and at the battle of Atlanta - but he keeps Sherman outside the city.
Now, Sherman approaches Atlanta from the west seeking to cut the railroad that runs from Macon into Atlanta – it is the city’s only remaining supply route. If he succeeds, Sherman forces Hood to abandon the city.
On July 28, as Sherman’s troops swing around the city from East to West, Hood anticipates the move.
At a small Methodist meeting house named Ezra Church, Hood’s men attack the Union trenches.
After fierce fighting, they suffer heavy casualties – almost 5 times that of the Union army.
It is a demoralizing defeat – in the first ten days of his command, Hood loses nearly 11,000 men and with them, his offensive capability - he withdraws into the city’s defenses.
But Hood succeeds in keeping the rail line open.
Frustrated, Sherman orders his army to begin shelling the city with siege artillery.
Despite the presence of women, children and other civilians, Sherman wages war inside Atlanta.
I’m Masud Olufani and this is week fifteen.