I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.
It is October 1864.
George Barnard, Sherman’s photographer, climbs with his camera to the top of Atlanta’s female institute.
The three-story school for young women sits atop a hill. Its rooftop provides a panoramic view of the occupied city.
The peaceful scene is deceptive – the munitions factories and railroad depots seem far away – though discernable in the hazy distance.
Following damage from a month of shelling, the demolition of Atlanta continues as the union army builds fortifications within the city.
Ten-year-old Carrie Berry writes that her mama and papa, “took a walk this evening and they say they never saw a place torn up like Atlanta …. Half of the houses are torn down.”
The female institute, too, is destroyed to make way for a Union fort –
And its bricks used to build chimneys for the army’s winter quarters.
Even Orlando Poe – Sherman’s chief engineer and the man responsible for the demolition – had hoped to save the female institute.
But in late October, it is pulled down –creating an awful crash.
“It seems a pity to destroy such buildings,” writes Union Sergeant Rufus Mead,
“…. Such is the work of ruthless war.”
I’m Masud Olufani and this is week twenty eight.