William King Diary Entry
Cobb County, Georgia
7th. Aug’t. 1864.
Sabbath again, every thing noisy & bustling about. Clear, bright& cool this morning. I went over to Mr. Shepard, heard no news, there I met Capt. Wilson a Chaplain (Rev’d Mr. McFarland) from Ohio, he was unwell& taking rest at Mr. S. for a few weeks.
Soon after returned Home, the Chaplain commenced his services, under the trees in the Yard. I sat in the Room Window and attended his services, not 1/3 of the men attended & but few of the officers; those who attended were very attentive; the services were short, the whole occupying less time than an hour. The sermon was from 1 Rom: Verse, a plain good discourse, but not exhibited the spiritual unction I had expected. A number of the men from Stoneman’s Raid are coming in today, many without shoes, Hats & coats, and almost all on foot & well worn out, these Cavalry Raids must be very uncomfortable undertakings. In the afternoon the Chaplain had other services, I did not attend but went to visit some of the neighbours, his services at night I attended, he had a larger audience, but much noise & disturbance around. The officers do not seem to feel much interest in the services, neither attending themselves nor using their influence to preserve order. During the afternoon I visited Mrs. McClatchy & Mr. Marks, all half sick at Mrs. McC. caused I think more by cares & anxieties than anything else. I saw many officers & men while out & was generally pleased with them & their conversation, but the unanimous feelings all seem to express, although opposed to the War & anxious for peace, are that they cannot stop short of a restoration of the Union & the abolition of slavery, they generally hate the negroes, & believe they are better off as they are than to be freed, but they say slavery is the cause of the War, and that there can be no permanent peace between the 2 sections, if slavery is allowed to remain, & to continue it would be to retain the causes for future disturbances.
On my return home I found my young friend and former guard (W. Vickers) who had come all the way from the vicinity of Atlanta to make me a visit & to remain with me until tomorrow morning, and then to return to his command near Atlanta, his term of service expires within 2 weeks when he returns to his Home in Ohio, he is a fine & sensible young fellow, a Harness Maker by trade. While out this afternoon I learnt that Rev’d Mr. Benedict had been guilty of some imprudencies a few days ago (the nature of which I could not learn) and that he was closely confined to his House under a guard–being deprived still of the privilege of holding intercourse with the town people & they with us in the country, we know but little of what is going on there; they say the restriction will be removed in a few days, but such has been the promise for some time pass. I suspect it will continue until the Federal Army occupies Atlanta. I have seen no Negro Troops in this Army, nor can I hear of any being with it, there are more or less Negroes in every regiment, but all employed as servants, cooks, and in performance of the low & menial duties, the soldiers general hate them.
From Documenting the American South – UNC Chapel Hill