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Week 17

August 11 - August 17

It is the third week of Sherman’s bombardment of Atlanta.

Union artillery rains shells on the city at an alarming rate: 6-10 a minute for hours on end.

The terror of bursting shells drives residents to bombproof structures, even underground, for refuge. Young Lucy Caldwell finds sanctuary in a pit dug six feet deep in her neighbor’s yard.

An estimated 100,000 shells are fired over 37 days.


Episode Transcript

I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.

It is the second week of Sherman’s bombardment of Atlanta.

From batteries placed on high ground North and West of downtown Atlanta, Union artillery shells the city day and night.

The shells fall everywhere, sometimes at the rate of six to ten a minute and for eight or ten hours at a time.

Union guns fire an estimated 100,000 shells during the thirty-seven day bombardment.

Those who can, build bombproof structures or pits in hills or gardens to escape the artillery.

Young Lucy Caldwell uses the pit in her neighbor’s yard, dug six feet in the ground and covered with timber and earth ; inside were a few chairs.

In her words - “Thither we would go, when the shelling began.”

Yet, even those in shelters cannot stand the whizzing zip and the terror of bursting shells:

A ten year old Carrie Berry writes....“How I wish the Federals would quit shelling us and we could get out of the cellar and get some fresh air, the shells get worse and worse every day.”

A newspaper reporter writes...“When the city is furiously shelled at night, the whole community may be said to be underground.”

I’m Masud Olufani and this is week seventeen.

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