August 4, 1864

William King Diary Entry

Cobb County, Georgia

4th. Aug’t. 1864.

Col. Ward left me at 5 o’clock this morning, he said as his Reg’t would probably for some time be engaged in guarding the Wagon trains to the Front, he would often be camped near me for the night, & if agreeable to me he would often spend the nights with me. I told him I should be pleased to have him with me any night. Mr. Shepard called early this morning to get one of the Servants to go over to his House to wash for one day. I told him I had no objections, provided he would protect her from the soldiers while going & returning, he promised to do so, and Tabby went with him. I keep the servants on the premises nearly all the time, they seldom go off, soldiers & vagabonds too numerous for them to move about safely. We have had a clear & cool day, reminding me of the approach of fall, but still 2 1/2 months more to pass away before I can expect to return Home. My former complaint of weakness of my Legs & prickly sensation has troubled me much this Summer, more so than any time for the past 2 years; I do not know how to account for its return [torn] then my constant nervous excitement & anxiety since I have [torn]& not having regularly taken my accustomed exercise, having had to remain at Home so much of the time to take care of every thing, and having been compelled to witness so much suffering and distress–how I hope to enjoy Life again when I am permitted to return to my family–but what satisfactory arrangements for safety to property can I make to justify my leaving here in the fall?

        I went to see Mrs. McClatchy this afternoon, all well. I met an Ox Wagon load of Women & children with 3 men going to town from the powder Springs Road, to look for work & something to eat, as they had been stripped of everything. The 2 younger men told me they had deserted from our Army as it fell back & exposed their Homes & families, and that they have been compelled to conceal themselves the greater part of the time to avoid our scouts, that while on the Road today about 7 miles below town, they were overhauled by some of our scouts, who seemed determined to shoot them as deserters, but told them on a/c of the women & children with them they would spare them. What a time of care & watchfulness we in this county are passing through, the danger to life & property demands vigilance on the part of every one. War reduces even civilized men to a state of barbarism. The men from Stoneman & McCook’s Cavalry Raids are coming into Marietta every day although this Raid did much damage to the West Point & Macon R. Road, they have from all I can hear been defeated in their main designs & scattered; and were coming in in straggling parties, many without Shoes & Hats. We are still kept out of town & will probably be until Atlanta is occupied by the Federal Army. The close exclusion in & from town deprives me of much social enjoyment.

From Documenting the American South – UNC Chapel Hill