Did Sherman know about the actions at Cassville, Georgia?

As originally published in “The Crescent Chronicle”, Vol. 1, No. 8, September 1990
Union Field Order Cartersville, Ga October 30th 1864

         Lets look at the book From Marching Through Georgia: Story of Soldiers and Civilians During Sherman’s …
By Lee B. Kennett


And then look at a quote from Sherman’s 1864 Trail of Battle to Atlanta by Philip L. Secrist

A frustrated and vengeful Sherman ordered the entire town burned in November 1864. The town deserved better.”

Here are some more Sherman Orders

General Sherman also wrote to U.S. Brigadier General Louis Douglass Watkins at Calhoun, Georgia, on Oct. 29, 1864: “Can you not send over to Fairmount and Adairsville, burn 10 or 12 houses of known secessionists, kill a few at random and let them know it will be repeated every time a train is fired upon from Resaca to Kingston.”

Brigadier General Edward M. McCook, First Cavalry Division of Cavalry Corps, at Calhoun, Georgia, on October 30, 1864, reported to Sherman, “My men killed some of those fellows two or three days since, and I had their houses burned….I will carry out your instructions thoroughly and leave the country east of the road uninhabitable.”

Sherman, on November 11, 1864, telegraphed Halleck, “Last night we burned all foundries, mills, and shops of every kind in Rome, and tomorrow I leave Kingston with the rear guard for Atlanta, which I propose to dispose of in a similar manner, and to start on the 16th on the projected grand raid…..Tomorrow our wires will be broken, and this is probably my last dispatch.”

Many theories were offered for why the town was burned. Confederate Guerrillas, the name change to Manassas and just out and out meanness. Either way things did not bode well for Cassville or its citizens.

Kennesaw Gazette  March 1st 1889 Vol IV No.5
Old Cassville Ga
Editor Kennesaw Gazette
Cassville was once a beautiful and attractive village
situated within a little less than three miles of the W. &
A. Railroad, north of Cass Station, near the center of
Bartow County; but happening to be directly in Sherman’s
war-path, it was shorn of its glory and laid in ashes by
the federal Torch. Various reasons are assigned for the
cruel deed. Some said it was on account of the name of the
place being changed by our legislators from Cassville to
Manassas, soon after the battle of Bull Run; others said
it was done in revenge for the waving of a black flag at
Cass Station by two young ladies whose patriotism was
greater than their prudence. Again it was said that being
so near the railroad it was a harbor for the rebel scouts.
The Federals entered Cassville on the night of May
19th 1864, and seemed eager to apply the torch at once.
Early the next morning they burned one of the hotels. Next
day Col. Akins residence was burned. On the 24th Wheelers
cavalry made a raid on a wagon train near Cassville and
captured a number of prisoners, wagons, mules, etc. Orders
were repeatedly issued for the citizens to leave, and the
utter destruction of the place was threatened; but the
threats were not executed till October 12th, when the male
college and several private residences were burned. The
male college was burned by a detachment of Wilder’s Brigade
composed of parts of the 98th Illinois, 1st, 3rd & 4th
Ohio regiments and on the 5th of November Col. Heath of
the 5th Ohio came with about three hundred cavalrymen and
completed the destruction which left many poor women and
children without shelter from the storms of winter which
were fast approaching.
The morning was bright and clear, but in the
evening the smoke arose and formed a dark and threatening
clouds, which for a while suspended over the doomed spot
and then seemed to melt away in the tears of grief. It
seemed as if nature was weeping over the sad fate of old
Mrs. B.B. Quillian


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