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Week 5

May 19 - May 25

It is the third week of May, 1864. Fifty miles from the city, Sherman’s men fan out across hills south of the Oostanaula. Near Cassville, Confederate General Johnston spies an opportunity to destroy an isolated column of Sherman’s army. But it never happens: Johnston finds Union soldiers on his flank. Johnston retreats south as the city readies for attack, Sherman now only thirty miles from Atl.


Episode Transcript

I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.

It is the third week of May 1864. Sherman is fifty miles north of Atlanta.

His men fan out across the rolling hills south of the Oostanaula River.

Near the town of Cassville, Confederate General Joe Johnston sees a chance to destroy an isolated column of Sherman’s army.

On the morning of May 19, he tells his men he is leading them into a battle that will send Sherman reeling. But it never happens.

Johnston discovers union soldiers on his flank and has to cancel the attack. He retreats south across the Etowah River. His army is frustrated and dispirited.

In Atlanta, a forty year-old book seller named Sam Richards confides in his diary: “the past week has been one of great excitement in our city, the army having fallen back continually and refugees from upper Georgia constantly arriving.”

“For several days … our citizens have heard … artillery at the front. Governor brown has called out the militia and . . . I have joined a company of printers for city defense. I trust we may never be called into action – I hate the sight of a musket.

After Johnston’s retreat, Sherman is now only thirty miles from Atlanta.

I’m Masud Olufani and this is week five

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