I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.
It is early December 1864, the third week of Sherman's march to the sea.
His army meets little resistance –
Confederates are not sure of Sherman’s destination, believing Augusta or Macon may be the target.
In late November, a battle East of Macon at Griswoldville inflicts severe casualties on the Confederates – mostly old men and young boys in the Georgia militia.
With General Hood’s army in Tennessee, there is little defense against Sherman.
So, Confederate authorities urge the people to delay – if not stop – the Union advance across Georgia.
General P.G.T. Beauregard, Commander of coastal forces opposing Sherman, advises the public:
“Destroy all the roads in Sherman's front, flank, and rear” –
and, “be trustful in providence”
But for thirty-six days, the Union army marches through Georgia with little opposition.
When the state capitol in Milledgeville surrenders, Sherman occupies the governor's mansion.
Union troops convene a mock legislature and gleefully void the state’s secession – pretending to return Georgia into the Union.
In Washington, an anxious president Lincoln has had no news for weeks.
The confederates don't know where he is going.
Sherman is on the loose in Georgia.
I’m Masud Olufani and this is week thirty-three.