Shelling of Atlanta

Lincoln65

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I have always been fascinated with the destruction, especially shelling, of cities during the war. Precious few examples exist, however. The only ones that I know of are: Vicksburg, Charleston, and Atlanta. This brings me to the topic of this thread: Does anybody know how severely Atlanta was shelled? Accounts by people in Atlanta would be helpful. I have seen some pictures of occupied Atlanta, and things don't seem too bad as far as damage goes (before it was burned that is). Also, does anybody know of any other cities that were shelled during the Civil War? Thanks.
 

JeffBrooks

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Petersburg was shelled regularly during the siege, wasn't it?

And Fredericksburg was shelled during the Union river crossing to drive out the sharpshooters, if I recall correctly.
 

brass napoleon

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Petersburg was shelled regularly during the siege, wasn't it?

And Fredericksburg was shelled during the Union river crossing to drive out the sharpshooters, if I recall correctly.

True, on both accounts. Here's a description of Fredericksburg:

As Union engineers attempted to assemble the pontoon bridges on the Rappahannock, they were fired upon incessantly by Confederate sharpshooters positioned in buildings in town – preventing them from making progress on the bridges. In an attempt to suppress the sniper-fire, Burnside ordered Union artillery to bombard the town. The ensuing barrage damaged nearly every house. The shelling of Fredericksburg was arguably the first time a commander deliberately ordered a large-scale bombardment of a city during the Civil War.


One Union bystander described the violence: “Report followed report in quick succession – a number at a time seeming to be simultaneous – a heavy crashing thunder rolling over the valley, and up the hills by which it was flung back in deep reverberations; columns of smoke were seen to rise and bright flames were seen, a number of buildings being on fire.”


Source: http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fredericksburg/fredericksburg-history-articles/10-facts.html
 

Lincoln65

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I thought Petersburg was too far away. I did read that shells sometimes did land at the very edge of the city, but not inside. Do you have any pictures or accounts of the shelling? I forgot about Fredericksburg, but do you know of any large cities where civilians were still inside that were shelled?
 

brass napoleon

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Here's some info on the shelling of Carlisle, Pa, by J.E.B. Stuart on July 1, 1863:

In commemoration of what is probably the single most significant and emotional event in the long, proud history of Carlisle, Historic Carlisle will present “The Shelling of Carlisle- July 1, 1863” on the 150th anniversary of the Shelling. On the evening of July 1, 1863, Confederate Cavalry forces, commanded by Major General JEB Stuart demanded the surrender of Carlisle and the Union forces, commanded by Union General William “Baldy” Smith. The confederate general threatened to subject the town to artillery fire if the town was not surrendered. “Baldy” Smith answered the challenge, “Shell Away and be Damned”!

In the course of about seven hours, some 130-140 artillery shells were fired on Carlisle by the Confederate forces from the east side of the town. Other southern troopers set fire to buildings at Carlisle Barracks and the Carlisle Gas Works. But the town and its defending Union soldiers held fast through the long night and by daybreak, the Confederate Cavalry had been recalled to join the Battle of Gettysburg, already in progress.

The Grand Commemoration will take place at 7:00 pm, the exact time when the shelling began in 1863. All four streets from the Square will be closed at 6:30. The Carlisle Town Band will perform before the ceremonies and program at 7:00. Military and civilian re-enactors, including both Confederate and Union artillery, infantry, Gen. Smith and Gen. Stuart, civilian “Home Guard”, and others will act out the story as it is narrated on a large PA system.

Following the 30 minute program, Historic Carlisle will conduct downtown tours of “Lee Calling Cards”. Interpreters in 19th attire will lead groups to sites in the immediate area which were scarred by the artillery shells. The tours will last about 70 minutes.


All events are free to the public.

Source: http://www.historiccarlisle.com/hcievents.shtml
 

Lincoln65

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Here's some info on the shelling of Carlisle, Pa, by J.E.B. Stuart on July 1, 1863:

In commemoration of what is probably the single most significant and emotional event in the long, proud history of Carlisle, Historic Carlisle will present “The Shelling of Carlisle- July 1, 1863” on the 150th anniversary of the Shelling. On the evening of July 1, 1863, Confederate Cavalry forces, commanded by Major General JEB Stuart demanded the surrender of Carlisle and the Union forces, commanded by Union General William “Baldy” Smith. The confederate general threatened to subject the town to artillery fire if the town was not surrendered. “Baldy” Smith answered the challenge, “Shell Away and be ****ed”!

In the course of about seven hours, some 130-140 artillery shells were fired on Carlisle by the Confederate forces from the east side of the town. Other southern troopers set fire to buildings at Carlisle Barracks and the Carlisle Gas Works. But the town and its defending Union soldiers held fast through the long night and by daybreak, the Confederate Cavalry had been recalled to join the Battle of Gettysburg, already in progress.

The Grand Commemoration will take place at 7:00 pm, the exact time when the shelling began in 1863. All four streets from the Square will be closed at 6:30. The Carlisle Town Band will perform before the ceremonies and program at 7:00. Military and civilian re-enactors, including both Confederate and Union artillery, infantry, Gen. Smith and Gen. Stuart, civilian “Home Guard”, and others will act out the story as it is narrated on a large PA system.

Following the 30 minute program, Historic Carlisle will conduct downtown tours of “Lee Calling Cards”. Interpreters in 19th attire will lead groups to sites in the immediate area which were scarred by the artillery shells. The tours will last about 70 minutes.


All events are free to the public.

Source: http://www.historiccarlisle.com/hcievents.shtml
Thanks. How badly was Carlisle damaged?
 

brass napoleon

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Thanks. How badly was Carlisle damaged?

Don't know for sure. But if only 130-140 rounds were fired at an entire city, I doubt it was seriously damaged. Compare that to the several thousand shells, many of them incendiary, that were lobbed at Fort Sumter in April, 1861.
 

Lincoln65

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Thanks Andy. from the website, "The building [the female seminary] had been designed by William Gabbit (the man who had laid out and named the City Park near the Car Shed) and built by contractor E.A. Allen. Being on a hilltop and featuring a cupola, the building was useful to Federal artillerists who used the building to gude their shells into the city. The first such shell is said to have killed a 10-year-old girl as she and her parents were crossing the corner of Ivy (Peachtree Center Avenue) and East Ellis streets."

It didn't seem that Atlanta was too badly shelled from the pictures that I saw on the website. Most of the damage seems to have come from the departing Confederates at the railroad station
 

AndyHall

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I suppose how severe the shelling was depends on which end of it you were on. And obviously, if one hit your own house, it wouldn't really matter to you what the damage was overall. But yeah, Barnard's images don't seem to show a devastated city.
 

JCM6395

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Reading on my relatives regiments that surrounded the city of Atlanta and its defenses.... they describe it as being a first class fireworks show 24/7. Soldiers in the Union lines would sometimes climb up into the trees after dark and watch the shelling of Atlanta. It was a spectacular sight. The guns would start firing from their far right and work all the way around to the left. They also talked of when Hood blew up the ammo trains before evacuating the city. The entire area shook as the ammo went off. It must have been a heck of a show.
 

rpkennedy

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Don't know for sure. But if only 130-140 rounds were fired at an entire city, I doubt it was seriously damaged. Compare that to the several thousand shells, many of them incendiary, that were lobbed at Fort Sumter in April, 1861.

Calling Carlisle (then or now) a city is very generous.

In any case, from what I recall when talking to Wayne Motts when he was at the Cumberland County Historical Society, there was some damage but nothing extensive.

R
 

Eric Calistri

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Austin Texas
I have always been fascinated with the destruction, especially shelling, of cities during the war. Precious few examples exist, however. The only ones that I know of are: Vicksburg, Charleston, and Atlanta. This brings me to the topic of this thread: Does anybody know how severely Atlanta was shelled? Accounts by people in Atlanta would be helpful. I have seen some pictures of occupied Atlanta, and things don't seem too bad as far as damage goes (before it was burned that is). Also, does anybody know of any other cities that were shelled during the Civil War? Thanks.

Baton Rouge was shelled by the Navy in response to guerrilla activity:

"The expedition returned to Baton Rouge on the 29th [May 1862] and Williams took up a permanent occupation of the city. During their absence there had been a brief outbreak of violence in the city. When the chief engineer of the USS Hartford, John Kimball, and three men attempted to deliver some laundry to a local washwoman they were fired upon by a force of guerillas. Three of the sailors were injured and Farragut ordered the Hartford and the Kennebec to open fire on the city. The shelling killed one woman and injured three other people. Two people drowned trying to swim away from the barrage. When it was believed the guerilla band had disappeared the shelling stopped. A delegation of citizens rowed out to the Hartford and apologized for the guerilla attack, over which they claimed to have no control, and asked that no more fire be sent into the city. The return of Williams and his men from Vicksburg secured the city and avoided any more such incidents. "
 

AndyHall

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Galveston came under bombardment several times during the war by the U.S. Navy, the first occasion in early August 1861. In each case that I'm aware of, the blockaders were firing at specific (and legitimate) targets, but the gunnery was so atrocious that the shells fell more-or-less randomly, all over the place. There were not many casualties from this, and the physical damage was limited.
 

ErnieMac

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IIRC Lexington, Missouri, was subjected to some artillery fire during the First Battle of Lexington (Battle of the Hemp Bales) in September, 1861.
 

cash

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I have always been fascinated with the destruction, especially shelling, of cities during the war. Precious few examples exist, however. The only ones that I know of are: Vicksburg, Charleston, and Atlanta. This brings me to the topic of this thread: Does anybody know how severely Atlanta was shelled? Accounts by people in Atlanta would be helpful. I have seen some pictures of occupied Atlanta, and things don't seem too bad as far as damage goes (before it was burned that is). Also, does anybody know of any other cities that were shelled during the Civil War? Thanks.

Here's Stephen Davis talking about Atlanta from his book, What the Yankees Did to Us.

I'm in the front row.

 

cash

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Calling Carlisle (then or now) a city is very generous.

In any case, from what I recall when talking to Wayne Motts when he was at the Cumberland County Historical Society, there was some damage but nothing extensive.

R

If I recall correctly from an article Eric Wittenberg did on it, the gas plant was destroyed.
 
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