William King Diary Entry
Cobb County, Georgia
3d. Sept. 1864.
I went to town this morning, & learnt that Hood had evacuated Atlanta the night before last & it was occ’d by the Federal Army, the notice posted in the street was “Atlanta is ours–Glory to God”– I heard there had been heavy fighting on the Macon Road, particulars I could not learn. How anxious do I feel about my little Boy, if I could only hear that he was safe & well, how grateful would I feel. What sad anguish & anxiety does this needless political war occasion. What a curse to a Nation are these professional Politicians. I made a visit to Mrs. Harrison & Mrs. Earle this morning, found them all well, & met there Capt. & Capt. Campbell from Kentucky. I find him a very pleasant & intelligent young man, he surprized me much to see what bitter sentiments he indulged to the South and Southern men, but I soon discovered he was jesting, & his views were intelligent, he promised to make me a visit soon, & that we would settle the affairs of the nation.
The very heavy Rain prevented my going to Mrs. Wilson’s to dinner & detained me in town, I took dinner with Mr. Goodman, Mrs. G. has been quite unwell for some days, Mr. G. in rather better spirits, but still in much trouble for the future. He says where can a safe Home be found for his family? it is not here nor in Georgia, & at the North he fears worse in the coming Presidential election. When the Fed. Army leaves here for Atlanta we will all be exposed to much annoyance from the wicked marauders running over the Land, stealing & destroying every thing. Wherever the 2 Armies pass & in that vicinity the foundations of civilized society seem broken up. I learn that a number of the Marietta people [torn] Home under a guard, the liberties of many have been greatly restricted [torn] the causes, I have been greatly favored & treated with the [torn] for which I cannot but feel very grateful; for my wife [torn] I have done so freely here, giving free utterance to all I felt & thought, [torn] of my Heart to citizens, officers & privates & then [torn] my intercourse with the Federal army has [torn] all,with the exception of Major Carter’s case, has been very gratifying. When we differed we discussed our differences freely & fully, but agreeably & always gentlemanly, the results have been to impress me very favorable towards the general opinions, feelings & conduct of the Federal Army; & from all I hear, my course of unrestrained intercourse, has impressed them no less favorably towards me. I shall always feel grateful for the many kind visits & other acts of kindness towards me during my sad loneliness here. I cannot think the course of Mr. S. . . . in adopting a bitter exclusion from them has been a wise or just one, bitter feelings give life to this sad War, by allaying such bitterness & correcting wrong impressions the War might soon be taken out of the hands of politicians & brought an honorable termination. It is 2 months today since I have been within the Federal Lines, & I can say with greatest truthfulness, that with the exception of the Robbings of the first day, during my absence in town, the conduct & opinions of Mj’r W. W. Carter, and of our drunken soldier of Col. Eggleston’s command, nothing has occurred nor opinion expressed during the past 2 months to myself, which could occasion any unkind feelings towards, nor unfavorable opinion of, the Federal Army; it has been a source of great amazement to me, that in mixing freely with such a multitude of men, many of whom must be very bad, to watch the remarkable delicacy with which all seem to avoid even alluding to any subject which might be painful to my feelings–the case of the John Brown song a marked one– inducing me to believe that in most cases where others have treated with unkindness, or with harshness, the suffering parties were probably much in fault.
From Documenting the American South- UNC Chapel Hill