Atlanta And Its Builders, Vol. 2 – A Comprehensive History Of The Gate City Of The South – Thomas H. Martin
Conscious of possible deficiencies, the editor presents this result of his labors to all readers interested in the history of this beautiful town. Although the work is largely a compilation of facts and figures touching the history of Georgia’s metropolis from its founding to the first years of the 20th century and no special merit of originality is claimed for it, the reader will find much in these pages as is not elsewhere easily accessible in printed form – matter authentic and valuable for reference. Particularly is this true of the war history recorded with great fidelity and no little detail in the first volume. The facts therein contained were gathered from original sources – Federal and Confederate – mostly direct from field orders, reports and correspondence. The task involved a vast deal of research and reading, but the editor feels compensated by the belief that a fuller or more reliable narrative of the famous “Atlanta Campaign,” from Dalton to Jonesboro, was never written. The second volume, which deals with post-bellum and modern Atlanta, will be found to be brought down to date in preserving a record of the city’s upbuilding and remarkable progress. The last decade of the 19th century has completely metamorphosed Atlanta physically. Her rehabilitation after the ruthless legions of Sherman passed through her ashes to the sea was not more magical, if we may use the word, than has been her rapid transformation in this latter conquest of peace. It is surprising, at first blush, but nearly all of the better buildings of Atlanta, business and residential, have been constructed within less than these past ten years, and this means the practical rebuilding of the city and its wide expansion in that short space of time. This is volume two out of two.
Atlanta And Its Builders, Vol. 2 – A Comprehensive History Of The Gate City Of The South.
Excerpt from the text:
While there were quite a number of “irreconcilables” in Atlanta when the war closed — men whose hearts were in the sepulcher of “The Lost Cause.” and who faced the future without the courage of hope — vastly the greater number of Atlantans were full of optimism, energy and enterprise. The dominant element of the city’s population were imbued with the spirit of compromise, so far as Federal relations were concerned, and sought to make the best of a situation that could not be remedied. Andrew Johnson had succeeded to the presidency, and the South had hope that radicalism would be tempered with justice. On the 24th of July, 1865, a public meeting was held in Atlanta to consider questions of great political moment and adopt suitable resolutions thereon. The call for the meeting was signed by Mayor James M. Calhoun. John M. Clarke. W. R. Venable. J. L. Dunning, J. W. Manning and John Silvey. In explaining the objects of the meeting, the call said it was “to afford all good and true men the opportunity of expressing their honest and loyal sentiments with an earnest determination to preserve our common country and its matchless institutions on a basis that shall be true to principle and safe for all conditions both at home and abroad.”
A large crowd of representative citizens attended, and after the meeting had been called to order, Mayor Calhoun was chosen for chairman, and B. D. Smith, secretary. In explaining the object of the meeting. Mayor Calhoun said it was to give the people of Atlanta an opportunity to express their desires on the great questions of returning to the Union, on the organization of civil government in Georgia, and on the complete restoration of law and order. For himself. Mayor Calhoun declared, he could say truly and with pride that he had never favored the destruction of the Union founded by the republic’s reverend fathers, and that it was the fondest desire of his heart to return to it. He continued: “On returning to the union of our fathers, while it will be our right as citizens to claim the protection of our country’s flag — the stars and stripes, emblematic of the union of the states and of our nationality — it will also be our solemn duty to protect and defend it, and that with our lives, if necessary. Under it, in times that are gone, many of us have fought the enemy of our common country: and let us again resolve, should it ever become necessary, that we will do so again; and if, as a people, we have erred in the past, let us try to make compensation for our errors in the future: let us not cherish and keep alive any unkind feelings for the people of any section of our reunited country, but rather cultivate feelings of kindness, friendship and confidence.”
The sentiments expressed by the mayor were endorsed by other speakers, and the following committee was appointed to draft resolutions for the consideration of the meeting: John M. Clarke, Jared I. Whittaker, Alfred Austell, James L. Dunning and G. W. Adair. The resolutions brought in by the committee were as follows:
“Whereas. The constitution of the United States makes ample provision for the freedom of speech, the power of the press, and the unalienable right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to counsel with each other on all matters of public concernment and national interest; and
“Whereas, The late war having left the state of Georgia in a most deplorable, disorganized and unsettled condition, we, therefore, as a portion of the people, have this day convened to express our anxious solicitude for a speedy restoration to our original status in the Union, and hopefully anticipate that the day is near at hand when the sim of our former prosperity and happiness will again shine upon us with undiminished and even increased splendor; when each one may sit under his own ‘vine and fig tree, with none to molest him or make him afraid.”
“Resolved. I. That whether we consider its height or depth, its length or breadth, the commencement of this war will ever mark an era of surprising national and individual prosperity. And it is equally true that in the winding up of the great drama we can but behold a widespread desolation and waste, sweeping over a once happy, contented and prosperous people. And for the truth of the position here assumed, and its vindication, we confidently rely upon that calm, deliberate and impartial judgment which posterity will write, after all the hates, injuries and prejudices, the natural result of relentless war, shall have passed away and be remembered no more.
“Resolved, 2. That we profoundly congratulate our people on the termination of the war, with its dire effects; that peace once more reigns, and is installed in all our borders.
“Resolved. 3. That in the appointment of a provisional governor for our state, we trust that we may recognize an important advance toward an early reconciliation, and the resumption of our former status in the system of states.
“Resolved, 4. That we most earnestly desire a speedy restoration of all political and national relations, the restoration of mutual confidence and friendship, the uninterrupted intercourse of trade and commerce with every section; in fine, to hold and occupy our old position in the list of states, the sovereign and sole conservators of an unbroken and imperishable Union.
“Resolved, 5. That we counsel a ready and willing obedience to the laws of our country, and with cheerfulness and patient industry the fulfillment of our mission.
“Resolved, 6. That in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln we gaze upon a deed horrible and horrifying. We hold it up to universal execration, earnestly trusting that not only the immediate perpetrators of the crime, so infamous and revolting, but that all remotely concerned, may receive condign punishment.
“Resolved, 7. That we have full confidence in the administration of Andrew Johnson, the president of the United States, and that in all the trying scenes engendered by this anomalous war, justice may be tempered with mercy, and we hereby tender to the president our firm attachment, fidelity and support, and that in all time to come, we shall be known, and only known, as one people, sharing one destiny, having one interest, one liberty, one constitution and one flag.
“Resolved, 8. That we heartily endorse and approve the appointment of Hon. James Johnson as the provisional governor of the state of Georgia, a sound lawyer, an able statesman, and an honest man, and trust that under his administration the state will soon be enabled to re-occupy its old and proud position in the Union.”
The resolutions were adopted with practical unanimity, and upon motion it was decided to send a copy of the same to the president of the United States. Ex-Congressman L. J. Gartrell made a rousing speech, rejoicing in Georgia’s return to the Union and counseling conservatism and a spirit of compromise on the part of his fellow citizens. He was followed by G. W. Adair and James L. Dunning, in like vein.
The federal appointments for the state of Georgia were received with a sense of satisfaction by most of the citizens of Atlanta. Hon. James Johnson, the provisional governor, was considered a safe and honorable man for that important office. John Erskine, the judge of the United States district court, James L. Dunning, United States marshal, and A. W. Stone, district attorney, had been citizens of Atlanta before the war and were well thought of, barring their political sentiments and affiliations. Mr. Dunning was one of the city’s largest manufacturers, his roller mills being seized and operated by the Confederate government after the breaking out of hostilities between the sections.
The vote of the Atlanta precinct and Fulton county in the fall election of 1865 was as follows: Governor, C. J. Jenkins, Atlanta, 754, county. 840: congressmen, W. T. Wolford, Atlanta, 347, county, 396: J. P. Hambleton, Atlanta, 269, county, 284: H. G. Cole, Atlanta, 19; state senators, James F. Johnson, Atlanta, 418, county, 450; John Collier, Atlanta, 185; county, 228; representatives, T. W. J. Hill, 309; R. F. Maddox, 232; William Markham, 163: W. M. Butt, 134; A. Leyden, 119; T. S. Gillespie, 109; W. A. Wilson, 99; Y. A. Gaskill, 97; J. W. Price. 51. Hill and Maddox were the successful candidates.
Many citizens, of course, voluntarily refrained from taking part in the election, while many others were ineligible as the result of war disabilities imposed by congress. On the 30th of September, 1865, a mass meeting was held for the purpose of nominating Fulton county’s delegates to the state convention, which was called to be held on October 25th. Dr. John G. Westmoreland was chairman of the meeting, and W. A. Shelby secretary. A synopsis of the resolutions adopted follows: 1. That the meeting approved of the policy of President Johnson for the restoration of the Southern States to the Union because of the broad, bold and wise statesmanship embraced therein. 2. Pledging themselves to sustain the president in his wise and righteous course. 3. Approving of the president’s proclamation of amnesty, and taking upon themselves, in spirit and in truth, all the obligations imposed. 4. Promising for the delegates to be nominated at the meeting, should they be elected, to sustain the president’s plan for the restoration of the South to the Union. 5. Expressing their opposition to negro suffrage. 6. Stating that they did not intend to deprive the freedman of the results of his labor, and that the late slaves of the South had the sympathy of all intelligent. Christian, moral Southern men. 7. Repudiating any and every effort to stir up strife among those who had differed upon questions which had produced the late war, and recommending a forgetfulness of the past. Judge Jared I. Whittaker, George W. Adair and N. J. Hammond were nominated by the meeting, with great enthusiasm, and after their nomination a resolution was adopted to send President Johnson a copy of the foregoing resolutions. The election resulted in the selection by the suffragists of the candidates nominated at this meeting, by the following vote: N. J. Hammond, 364; Jared L Whittaker, 339; George W. Adair. 362; William Markham, 185; C. P. Cassin, 25; scattering, 5.
After the surrender, and before the federal authority in the city had been established, the few inhabitants of Atlanta suffered considerably at the hands of impoverished and demoralized Confederate soldiers returning from the war. Of this species of depredation Wallace P. Reed says: “After the evacuation of Atlanta by Sherman’s army, the condition of the city was deplorable, and the demoralization of the Confederate soldiers was extreme. Civil government was paralyzed, and persons and property were without protection. Neither the property of the state of Georgia nor that of the Confederate States government was safe in the city. Mules and horses, the stores of the quartermaster’s and of the commissary department, though guarded by vigilant and brave officers, were carried away by men returning from the war — by men who could then see that the cause for which they had fought for years was in a hopeless condition, and who claimed that the property belonging to the Confederate government and to the State of Georgia belonged as much to them as to anyone, and they intended to have their share. Yet, notwithstanding their own losses and necessities, they were very liberal with the food upon which they seized: for they gave it away lavishly to the crowds of women that followed them about the streets. For two or three weeks before the city was taken possession of by Colonel Eggleston there was great distress among the citizens, and as a consequence of the distress, great disorder; and hence, when Colonel Eggleston arrived in the city and developed order out of chaos, all classes of citizens, although mortified beyond measure at the failure of their cause, yet they all gladly welcomed the soldiers of the United States army, and felt perfectly secure so long as they remained.”
The Intelligencer came back to Atlanta after peace was declared and resumed its ancient prestige as the journalistic representative of the community. From one of the earliest postbellum files of this paper several facts relative to Atlanta during the war are here reproduced as worthy of preservation in this volume. The Intelligencer said:
“The headquarters of General Sherman after the occupation of Atlanta was at the residence of Judge R. F. Lyon, corner Mitchell and Washington streets. Gen. Thomas’s headquarters was at the residence of Mr. M. Meyers, on Peachtree street; General Geary’s at Mr. E. E. Rawson’s. on Pryor street; General Stanley’s at the residence of Mr. Lewis Scofield, on Peachtree street, and Gen. Slocum’s at Mr. William H. Dabney’s, on Washington street.”
“The whole number of killed and wounded around Atlanta, from the time the armies crossed the Chattahoochee river until the city was invested by the United States army, including the Jonesboro battles, is unknown to the writer, but must have been at least 18,000 to 20,000 Confederates, and as many Federals. How quickly fade from the memory of man the impressions made by the contemplation of such a scene! Yet. the citizens of this bustling city, however heedless they may be, sleep nightly in the midst of one vast graveyard. Friend and foe lie shoulder to shoulder, and will take up arms against each other no more; but must one day stand together before their Creator. Let us hope that they died with such charitable feelings, and with such faith in their Savior, as shall. secure to them the salvation of their immortal spirits.”
“By those who returned to Atlanta soon after its destruction, a disgusting and heart-sickening scene was witnessed. Ruin, death and devastation met the eye on every hand. The legions of carrion crows and vultures, whose vocation it might have been to hover over and pick at the decaying carcasses of animals that lay among the scarred and broken walls of our ruined city, were surpassed by the hosts of Georgia’s own sons, who might, otherwise, have been styled our brothers, congregated here from a distance of fifty miles, in every direction, not to guard unprotected property, but, many of them, to steal and haul away the effects of their absent and unfortunate countrymen. There were, also, numerous packs of dogs that had become wild on account of the absence of their masters, attacking citizens, and belching forth their frightful howls, as if to render the scene still more gloomy, fearful and desolate. During the months of December and January, after the destruction of the city by the Federals, some of the citizens who went South returned home. A few found shelter in their own houses, while the majority of them were compelled to take up their abode in the houses of other parties, or live in tents with their families. The .destitution consequent upon the scarcity of provisions and fuel, and the utter worthlessness of Confederate currency during the winter months of 1864 and 1865, produced an amount of suffering beyond the comprehension of most persons who did not witness the facts. For want of teams, some parties were forced to carry their fuel a distance of nearly a mile, and many suffered severely from both hunger and cold. But they managed to survive the winter, and some had. by the spring following, accumulated considerable little stores. On the surrender and parole of Lee’s and Johnston’s armies, as the soldiers were passing through Atlanta en route for their homes, they made free with everything that came in their way, leaving many, again, utterly destitute. So much for war which, under every circumstance and for whatever cause, is demoralizing in its tendencies, rendering, in some instances, the best men incapable of performing an act of kindness, or even of administering simple justice to his fellow-men.”
“Atlanta, during the year 1865, presented quite a picturesque appearance. There might have been seen small houses, put up in many instances expressly for rent, which presented the appearance of having been built of the remnants of half a dozen houses. Calico fences, too, still remain quite fashionable in some localities. But it is to be hoped that the city will outgrow the effects of the war, and that at an early day her citizens may again become comfortably situated, and that good feelings and a disposition to encourage and foster each other’s interests, may be cultivated by them. Then may we hope and expect to see education advanced, fraternity revived, Christianity practiced, and society much improved and benefited.”
The spirit of fraternity and the desire to help one another was strongly manifest in the people of Atlanta the first year after the surrender. The town was bustling with commercial activity and ambitious with enterprise, but the citizens were never too busy or self-centered to forget the duties imposed by the tribulations from which the city was slowly emerging, and “sweet charity” was ever met with an open hand. Organized relief did much for the unfortunates left destitute by the war. The charitable societies were many and the methods of relieving distress various. In the good work the ladies were especially active. They held bazaars, and fairs, and entertainments, and balls with great frequency the first few months after the return of peace. On January 18-19, 1866, a large fair was held by the ladies of Atlanta, which was well attended and patronized. All the churches of the city took part in contributing to the success of the fair, as will be seen from the following list of names of the general committee and the churches represented: Central Presbyterian church, Mrs. P. P. Pease, Mrs. George G. Hull and Mrs. William Rushton; First Presbyterian church, Mrs. E. A. Gordon, Mrs. James Robinson and Mrs. T. G. Simms; Wesley chapel, Mrs. J. N. Simmons, Mrs. Joseph Winship and Mrs. Willis Parker; Trinity church, Mrs. E. E. Rawson, Mrs. O. H. Jones and Mrs. L. S. Salmons; First Baptist church, Mrs. Jared I. Whittaker, Mrs. I. R. Foster and Mrs. J. J. Thrasher; Second Baptist church, Mrs. Ed. White, Mrs. J. J. Toon and Miss Ellen Chisholm: St. Philip’s and St. Luke’s churches, Mrs. William Solomon, Mrs. J. M. Ball and Mrs. Richard Peters; Church of the Immaculate Conception, Mrs. J. H. Flynn, Mrs. Dooly and Mrs. Hayden. Ward Committees — First ward, Mrs. J. A. Taylor; Second ward, Mrs. F. M. Richardson; Third ward, Mrs. Caroline Larendon; Fourth ward, Mrs. W. B. Cox; Fifth ward, Mrs. A. Leyden. The committee met at Wesley chapel on the 20th to ascertain the amount of the net proceeds and to provide for the distribution of the fund. Dr. J. N. Simmons, chairman of the relief committee, was instructed to prepare for publication in the local papers, a statement of the amount cleared by the fair, which was done. The net proceeds amounted to $1,535.90. The ladies passed resolutions thanking the Masons for the use of their hall, and the press, merchants and public generally for their assistance. The sum thus raised was judiciously distributed and was instrumental in relieving much real suffering in Atlanta that winter.