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Week 20

(September 1 - September 7)

It is late August, 1864.
In Chicago, the Democratic Party nominates George McClellan on a platform calling for peace.
Sherman marches around Atlanta to destroy its remaining supply line, the Macon Railroad.
Atlanta is doomed. Hood must evacuate the city or risk entrapment and starvation.
He ignites a trapped ammunition train.
Union troops march in. Sherman telegraphs Lincoln about his conquest.

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Episode Transcript

I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.
It is late August, 1864.

In Chicago, the Democratic party nominates George McClellan on a platform calling for peace.
They say the war is unwinnable.
But 600 miles away in Atlanta, Sherman is winning it.

After abandoning the siege lines around Atlanta, Sherman leads his army on a wide flanking march.
Fourteen miles south of Atlanta he reaches Atlanta’s last remaining supply line …. The Macon Railroad.

Sherman’s veterans begin ripping up the tracks.

Near the town of Jonesboro, Confederate counterattacks are repulsed with heavy casualties.
Atlanta is doomed.

A reporter writes that the news “falls like a thunderclap upon the unsuspecting inhabitants.”

Cut off, Hood is forced to evacuate Atlanta or risk being trapped in the city and slowly starved out.

On the night of September first, Hood's men set fire to an ammunition train trapped in the city.
Eighty boxcars of ammunition go up in a massive explosion that shakes buildings all over town.
In Jonesboro, Sherman hears the explosion and knows what it means.

The next morning, the first Union troops march into Atlanta.

Sherman telegraphs Washington:
“And so Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.”
It is the greatest turning point in the war.

I’m Masud Olufani and this is week twenty.