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Week 12

July 7 - July 13

In early July 1864, Sherman’s army cuts across Atlanta’s final defender: the Chattahoochee River. Outflanked, Johnston retreats and burns the railroad bridge in his wake.

Johnston’s men still trust him, despite his months-long inability to outmaneuver the enemy.

While Sherman closes in, Atlanta’s women face the realities of war as nurses to the injured and dying.

Civilians prepare for the worst.


Episode Transcript

I'm Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.

It is early July, 1864. Union troops are at the Chattahoochee River - the last natural barrier protecting Atlanta.

Within a few days, Sherman's army moves across the river.
Johnston is outflanked again.

As he abandons the North bank of the Chattahoochee, Johnston burns the Western and Atlantic Railroad bridge - the rail line along which so many battles have been fought.

For nearly three months, Johnston has been unable to stop Sherman - yet, Johnston's men still trust him:

Hamilton Branch of the 54th Georgia Infantry insists: "Old Joe knows what he is at and will take care of us and do what is best."

While Sherman closes in on the city, Atlanta's women endure need and hunger.

They also see the realities of war, as nurses to thousands of wounded and dying troops - over 100,000 soldiers have ben cared for in Atlanta's hospitals.

The few civilians who remain in Atlanta prepare for the worst.

"This has been a sad day in our city," writes Samuel P. Richards, "For it has been quite evident that there is a great probability of Atlanta falling into the hands of the enemy."

Now, Sherman is at the edge of the city itself.

I'm Masud Olufani and this is Week Twelve.

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