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[476] on Jonesboro, the county town of Clayton County, about twenty miles south of Atlanta, General Hood sent two corps under General Hardee to confront him at that point, in the hope that he could drive him across Flint River, oblige him to abandon his works on the left, and then be able to attack him successfully in flank. The attack at Jonesboro was unsuccessful. General Hardee was obliged, on September 1st, to fall back to Lovejoy's, seven miles south of Jonesboro on the Macon and Western Railroad. Thus the main body of the Federal army was between Hardee and Atlanta, and the immediate evacuation of that city became a necessity. There was an additional and cogent reason for that movement. Owing to the obstinately cruel policy which the United States government had pursued for some time, of refusing on any terms to exchange prisoners of war, upward of thirty thousand prisoners were at Andersonville in southwestern Georgia at this time. To guard against the release and arming of these prisoners, General Hood thought it necessary to place our army between them and the enemy, and abandon the project, which he thought feasible, of moving on Sherman's communications and destroying his depots of supplies at Marietta.

Upon abandoning Atlanta, Hood marched his army in a westerly direction, and formed a junction with the two corps which had been operating at Jonesboro and Lovejoy's under General Hardee.

General Sherman, desisting from any further aggressive movement in the field, returned to Atlanta, which had been formally surrendered by the mayor on September 2d, with the promise, as reported, on the part of the Federal commander, that noncombatants and private property should be respected. Shortly after his arrival, the commanding general of the Federal forces, forgetful of this promise, and on the pretense that the exigencies of the service required that the place should be used exclusively for military purposes, issued an order directing all civilians living in Atlanta, male and female, to leave the city within five days from the date of the order (September 5th). Since Alva's atrocious cruelties to the noncombatant population of the Low Countries in the sixteenth century, the history of war records no instance of such barbarous cruelty as that which this order designed to perpetrate. It involved the immediate expulsion from their homes and only means of subsistence of thousands of unoffending women and children, whose husbands and fathers were either in the army, in Northern prisons, or had died in battle. In vain did the mayor and corporate authorities of Atlanta appeal to Sherman to revoke or modify this inhuman order, representing in piteous language ‘the woe, the horror, and the suffering, not to be ’

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