I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.
It is downtown Atlanta the first week of August 1864.
Two weeks ago, four miles North of here Union and Confederate armies fought at Peachtree Creek.
It was at 1 o’clock on that day - July 20th - that the first Union shells fell into the heart of the city.
Now, after being halted at battles North, East, and West of Atlanta, Sherman aims his cannon into the city to drive the Confederate army out of its fortifications.
For the nearly 3,000 civilians remaining in Atlanta, it is horrifying –
Martha Powell writes....“my husband and I took our children in our arms and left the house as General Sherman’s army began shelling the town – I shall never forget that night of terror as we were escaping.”
The bombardment intensifies until “that red day in August” - as described by one historian - – august 9 – when nearly 5,000 shells fall inside the city.
Solomon Luckie, a free African American, runs a barber shop and bathing salon in the Atlanta Hotel.
While at the corner of Whitehall and Alabama streets that day, Luckie is struck by shell fragments.
He dies a few hours later, one of the first civilians to die during Sherman’s siege, which is just beginning.
I’m Masud Olufani and this is week sixteen.