Yankee Occupation of Atlanta
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Dedicated to Sergeant Thomas W. Florence (1831-1864) of Harris County's "Chattahoochee Guards", Co. E, , CSA, wounded August 31, 1864 defending Jonesboro, GA, and died of his wounds at Ocmulgee Hospital, Macon, GA, October 26, 1864.

Yankee Occupation of Atlanta

Sep - Nov 1864
From September - November 1864, George N. Barnard made these photographs and 3D stereographs of Atlanta. Unfortunately, much of what he photographed was destroyed and the rest burned down after Sherman's departure on November 15, 1864.

High resolution images from the Library of Congress scanned from the original photographic plates and other sources during 2002-2003 by JJT, Inc., of Austin, Texas.

High resolution images from various collections at the National Archives listed by Record Group or ARC Identifier .

These images ARE NOT available from the Library of Congress web site or the National Archives web site
at this resolution, compression, or format .

Image locations compared with assessment of the destruction of old Atlanta. Also see the Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel , December 15, 1864. Additional details courtesy of the .
Click on the thumbnail image below to view high resolution, digitally enhanced image.
WARNING: Images are HUGE (10M pixels or more).
These images are original source material from 1864-1866. There will be visible defects in the picture.
Image enhancing process used tends to make the Georgia soil look white in the black and white photos.

First Published: January 7, 1997
Webmaster: Dick Weeks
Under Sherman's orders Capt. O. M. Poe "thoroughly destroyed Atlanta, save its mere dwelling-houses and churches." The destruction was by fire purposely applied to buildings, and permitted to spread, as was expected, from house to house until the defenseless city was almost entirely reduced to ashes. No efforts were made to prevent the spread of the conflagration, and scarcely any structure was designedly spared. Only about 450 buildings escaped this ruthless burning, among them many churches, which in those days generally stood apart from other buildings. The thoroughness of the destruction can be realized, when we consider that by the census of 1860 Atlanta had a population of 10,000, which in 1864 had increased to 14,000. More than 4,000 houses, including dwellings, shops, stores, mills and depots were burned, about eleven-twelfths of the city. Capt. Daniel Oakey, of the Second Massachusetts volunteers, says: "Sixty thousand of us witnessed the destruction of Atlanta, while our post band and that of the Thirty-third Massachusetts played martial airs and operatic selections." Sherman himself noted the rising columns of smoke as he rode away from the city. Considering that he had been in possession of the city since the 3d of September, he had had ample time to utterly destroy everything in it that could be of advantage to an enemy, without the wanton and inexcusable method to which he resorted. It was no more necessary from a military point of view to destroy mercantile establishments than private dwellings or churches. The destruction of Atlanta can never be excused. The name of the Federal commander will always be associated with this barbarous act.

Intersection of Washington and Mitchell Streets. Churches are Second Baptist and Central Presbyterian. City Hall just out of view on right, directly across from Central Presbyterian Church.

"Before being burnt : by order of Gen. Sherman"
"From the Cupola of the Female Seminary."
View looking south from north of Depot.


Top of Episcopal Church tower just visible in background, upper right.

Engine image from right-hand plate pasted into left-hand image. Both plates in poor shape.
low resolution image
(National Archives: Record Group 165)


high resolution image of vintage print

Machine Shop Ruins?
Roundhouse in background, on left.

Taking up the tracks

high resolution image, part of vintage stereograph
high resolution image, part of vintage stereograph

low resolution image

Near west end of Hunter Street? Macon and Western RR engine house just right of center?
high resolution image of vintage print

Alabama Street

Anaglyph 3D Experimental Image
(This image is Alabama Street from Whitehall to Lloyd Street. Gate City Hotel in center, also Central Railroad Bank near center. Georgia RR engine house in background.)

Whitehall/Peachtree Street

The two lines in the above photos are the telegraph wires.

From Alabama Street looking southwest. Shoe Factory in center "way down the street". The "hat on the pole" marks J. M. Holbrook hats, caps, straw goods and trunks business.

Five Points

Peachtree Street - Hunnicutt's Drug Store on right and Marble Shop on left at intersection.

H and Drug just visible on right

Decatur Street

(foreground to background)
Masonic Hall, Trout House, and Atheneum

(foreground, Lloyd Street)

City Hall

low resolution image
(National Archives: Record Group 165)


high resolution image of vintage print

"During the Battle of Atlanta, Mr. Ponders house was used by Confederate sharpshooters, and was heavily bombarded by Union artillery causing extensive damage. After the battle, the house was never rebuilt or reoccupied by the Ponder family."

South of the railroad, looking in a southerly direction, out of town?

Detail of stained glass window

From Harper's new monthly magazine. Volume 31, Issue 185, p. 574, 575 -
When the army commenced its southward march Atlanta was given to the flames. Under date of November 15, Major Nichols writes:
"A grand and awful spectacle is presented to the beholder in this beautiful city, now in flames. By order, the chief engineer has destroyed by powder and fire all the store-houses, depot buildings, and machine-shops. The heaven is one expanse of lurid fire; the air is filled with flying, burning cinders; buildings covering two hundred acres are in ruins or in flames; every instant there is the sharp detonation or the smothered booming sound of exploding shells and powder concealed in the buildings, and then the sparks and flame shoot away up into the black and red roof, scattering cinders far and wide. These are the machine-shops where have been forged and cast the rebel cannon, shot and shell that have carried death to many a brave defender of our nationís honor. These warehouses have been the receptacle of munitions of war, stored to be used for our destruction. The city, which, next to Richmond, has furnished more material for prosecuting the war than any other in the South, exists no more as a means for injury to be used by the enemies of the Union."

Phoenix Rising from the Ashes


high resolution image of vintage print

(Broad Street Bridge just visible in the background. The Cupola, background left, is Engine House No. 2 of the Mechanic Fire Company.
NOTE: Cupola is just off camera in alternate high resolution image.)
high resolution image of vintage print

Ruins of Georgia RR Bank. Many buildings are "new" -- a few could be repaired. Note Phoenix Building, background right.

History of Fulton County, GA
Personal correspondence with Michael Rose, Executive Director,