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Our Vanished Sisters; Roswell Women - In Sherman's Words

Discussion in 'The Ladies Tea' started by JPK Huson 1863, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    roswell mills.jpg
    Early sketch of Roswell Mills, Georgia.


    In stories on the war, you can frequently find some positive thread or outcome or a way to come away from a story intact. Please excuse this one. There just is no positive spin. For anyone not familiar with this story, please be careful which account you read? This is an even account, albeit restrained- which is why I chose it. It does link a political org and I cannot do a thing about that- s ever, it's the women who are the point of the thread. No North/South, please.
    http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/deportation-roswell-mill-women




    roswell housing2.jpg Roswell, Georgia was a very pretty, wealthy town, described as such by travelers ( yes, I have sources ). These were some of the houses erected to house the factory workers. When the Union Army approached, the wealthy fled, leaving workers, under orders, at their machines and work stations. In the path of an Army.

    Photo from the Georgia History site.


    Gave a huge amount of thought before posting this thread. There's another, cluttered and as unattractive as this topic. It was an awful war. Those who suffered, whether or not they survived the war- and we'll never have numbers, sleep and deserve restful slumber. The thing is, Ladies, all of us, owe a huge amount to our ancestors, all of them. If they could not speak, it's up to us to get it right.

    The following writer was just relating a story, that's it. No agenda unless you count being contemptuous about scared, displaced, powerless poor people and agenda. It's part of one of those half page reports officers sent papers.

    fp roswell wis.JPG
    fp roswell wis2.JPG
    " Are to be sent to various places in the city to work "

    fp roswell wis3.JPG
    But wait! There really is more. Newspapers are not adequate sources, I know. This writer from 1864 is terribly disparaging about this group of prisoners. I did not snip most of the guy's discourse on how uneducated, unsightly and ignorant he found them.

    People simply vanished during the war. Ask Clara Barton whose boundless commitment to being human included her famous searches for lost soldiers, post war. These were soldiers, at least on someone's radar- gone. Our black citizens, newly adrift fought mightily for footholds, a whole, ' nother story. Vanished? Of course. Terrific example of free black citizens, poof- gone, were those swiped out of their shoes and taken south, from Gettysburg. If there's a record any were able to come home I cannot find it.

    So when a few hundred disappear from History, while in plain sight, it's baffling. That may be a baffling statement by itself. The thing is, when white noises generated by various Agenda reach a certain pitch, you're tempted to throw your hands in the air. And stop looking. After all, it was 150 years ago, they're not here anymore. Why care?

    Well, because hundreds of poor women vanished, sort of.

    From " Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of War ", at the second session, 38th Congress
    fp roswell sherman order.JPG
    'Arrest.... owners and employees, send them under guard to Marietta. ... hang the wretch "

    fp roswell sc.JPG
    Yes, a South Carolina paper. Yes, we know how unreliable they are- not that Sherman's orders are ambiguous. And optimistic. They were in prison, at least at first.

    fp roswell sheman order 2.JPG

    So there's the crux- deprive the factories of labor. Oh. And treasonous labor, which is why the entire civilian population was also arrested and sent North?

    fp roswell sherman order3.JPG
    There's that howling female thing again. " Let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, whence I will send them North by cars... " I cut out interspaced bombast- he keeps coming back to getting these people out of there. Not to better food or housing or jobs- just out. The ' where they can live in peace and security '- why not at home, or, if so concerned, send all citizens? Only the factory workers were sent.

    The Northern papers got their hands on the story.
    fp roswell ohio1.JPG
    fp roswell ohio2.JPG
    Ohio, 1864, picked up in part by other cities. Sherman held firm- and reacted poorly.
    fp roswell sherman order 4.JPG




    Tainted with treason, will get rid of them to Indiana. Some were sent to Kentucky- reports from there vary . I do expect this thread also to become cluttered. We can but try.


    This is just what is out there. History is History. Changing it doesn't change it- all it does is lay down one, more tectonic plate on which we're expected to build our future. And those shift.

     

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  3. NH Civil War Gal

    NH Civil War Gal Sergeant

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    Thank you for posting this thread. And the huge amount of work you put into it for gathering all this info. I was just thinking about Roswell this past week so this is timely. I really do not understand the actions here. Not one of Sherman's shining moments. I really like the Hartford article and agree with them.

    I often wondered what happened to these poor women and children. Were they ever reunited with their husbands? What happened to the children? And the factory owners surely have their lives on their hands by abandoning them to keep working and surely realizing something bad was going to happen to them, but they were only concerned about money, not women and children.

    A very ugly side of the war and very sad.
     
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  4. 18thVirginia

    18thVirginia Captain Forum Host

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    NH Civil War Gal, I went back and looked at some of the letters/dispatches/orders from Sherman and his subordinates about the Roswell women in a previous thread. JPK will have to forgive me for citing it. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/our-roswell-women-sisters-in-the-mists.101971/page-3

    Sherman didn't deal very well with civilian women, just as Jefferson Davis was totally inadequate in addressing the women who rioted in the Food Riots in Richmond. What occurred to me in looking back over the thread is not just that these men were in positions where their first priority was the War, but that they had very little contact with or knowledge of the kind of women of the lower classes who worked in the textile factories of Georgia or the cartridge factories in Richmond. They simply didn't know what to do with them, because they were not just highly placed government officials, but also men who were from the elite classes, who'd spent their time at West Point and then in relatively restricted social environments.

    Perhaps an Abraham Lincoln as a military commander, who was born to the lower classes and as a lawyer would have dealt with all kinds of people, could have fashioned better solutions for women who were displaced from their ordinary lives. Elite aristocrats, not so much.

    The factory owners, however, willingly left hundreds of women with no resources in the face of an invading army while they fled.
     
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  5. NH Civil War Gal

    NH Civil War Gal Sergeant

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    Excellent points 18thVirginia. I hadn't thought of it that way but you are right. Sherman, Davis, and others are examples of just not having the least idea of what very lower-class working women's lives were and how little ability to get out of it there was. Just whisk them away to get on with the war. The OWNERS of the factories knew what would happen once an army marched into town. The women/children were just tools for them, nothing more. They didn't identify with them either - even though they were Southerners together.
     
  6. Lusty Murfax

    Lusty Murfax Corporal

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    It was Lincoln who loosed Sherman and others like him on the people of the south, including those working class ladies described here. Once the decision was made to make war on and invade the South, incidents like Roswell became routine.
     
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  7. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    I've never understood why Sherman felt any compulsion to do anything with the workers. The factory was providing material support - literally - to the Confederate war effort; just destroy it and move on.
     
  8. NH Civil War Gal

    NH Civil War Gal Sergeant

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    I never understood either. Other places they just destroyed and moved on. Does anyone have any more background info on this particular situation? I've never seen where there are other sources but I also didn't have this raised to my consciousness until fairly recently.
     
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  9. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    I think one would want to read the book, Charged With Treason: The Ordeal of 400 Mill Workers During Military Operations in Roswell, Georgia, 1864-1865, by Michael D. Hitt.

    It answers many questions, has many historical sources and on page 152 of the book, gives the following account:

    "...With the war over, most of the mill workers, charged with treason, returned home...
    ...Many others returned, according to S.H. Causey, a former Sweet Water Factory Employee:

    "Great was the rejoicing when the smoke of battle had cleared, and by the end of the summer of 1865 practically all of them rejoined their husbands, fathers and sweethearts in their former Roswell and Sweetwater homes. ...as soon as peace was declared they returned home, making the trip aboard the same train which had taken them north a year before."
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  10. NH Civil War Gal

    NH Civil War Gal Sergeant

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    Thank you - that makes me so much happier - not that I understand the reasons (yet) but at least they got home.

    Literally, the pile of books I have for reading is now up to my knee!
     
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  11. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Destroying the South "With malice towards none, with charity towards all...."
     
  12. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    "And disregard the suicide attempt by some..."
     
  13. AshleyMel

    AshleyMel Sergeant

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    Interestingly enough, the UDC magazine has an article on this event. I had never heard of the account! Thank you for the newspaper clippings!
     
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  14. 18thVirginia

    18thVirginia Captain Forum Host

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    The mill owner of the Roswell textile mills owned several factories throughout Georgia. It's possible that these women could have been shifted to those mills--all of which were profitable for the owner's family. The women apparently lived in housing at the mills--I think there are photos of the mill worker housing. With the mill owner and most of the wealthier townspeople having fled, an occupying army in the area, the mill worker women would probably have been very destitute had they remained in the area.
     
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