1782 – 1859 | 1860 – 1864 | 1865 – 1877 | 1878 – 1899 | 1900 – 1930 | 1931 – 1960 | 1961 – 1986
1860 – 1864
- A Mercantile Association meets to remedy discrimination against the city, by boycotting northern merchants. The group is the forefunner of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
- Senator Stephen A. Douglas, candidate for President, comes to Atlanta and speaks against seccession.
- Presidential votes cast by Atlantans: 1,070 for John Bell of Tennessee and VP Edward Everett of Massuchusetts (Consitutional Union Party), 835 for John Breckinridge of Kentucky and VP Joseph Lane of Oregon (Southern Democrat), 336 for Stephen Douglas of Illinois and VP Herschel Johnson of Georgia (Democrat). The winners, Republicans Abraham Lincoln of Illinois and VP Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, were not on the ballot.
- The “Minute Men Association” of Fulton County, organized to defend against “a black Republican government,” meets to announce readiness “to second any action that the sovereign State of Georgia may take in asserting her independence by separate State action, or in unison with her sister States of the South in forming a Southern Confederacy.”
- City Council donates six 15-by-30 foot lots to Atlanta’s Jews for burials in the Atlanta City (Oakland) Cemetary.
- Atlanta has a ten-second earthquake on the afternoon of January 3.
- Seccession Convention at Milledgeville votes 208 to 89 in favor, making Georgia the fourth state to leave the union.
- In Montgomery, Alabama, Georgia’s Alexander H. Stephens is named Vice-President of the Confederacy, under President Jefferson Davis.
- Jefferson Davis visits Atlanta and is given a party at the Trout House hotel, near Five Points.
- By August, 11 companies of Atlanta and Fulton County volunteers are in Confederate military service.
- James J. Andrews and 21 other northern soldiers, wearing plain clothes over their uniforms, commandeer the locomotive “General” at Big Shanty, near Kennesaw, and drive it north toward Chattanooga, attempting to sabotage rail lines behind them. They are chased by the locomotive “Texas,” driven backwards by “General’s” engineer William A. Fuller, who along with help from Rebel soldiers, capture the Yankees just five miles short of their goal.
- Andrews escapes from jail but is recaptured, and days later, is hanged near the corner of present day Juniper and Third Streets (a block or so from the Fox Theater). His body is buried under a nearby pine. (In the 1880s, his body will be moved to the National Cemetery in Chattanooga.)
- Seven of the Andrews Raiders are hanged near what is now Memorial Drive and Park Avenue. Eight others escape Fulton Country jail and make it back to Union lines. The other six will be exchanged early the following year. All of the Andrews Raiders will later be awarded the USA’s first Medals of Honor. (At least two movies were made about the incident: “The General,” starring Buster Keaton, and Disney’s “The Great Locomotive Chase,” starring Fess Parker.)
- Atlanta becomes the war supplier of the south, manufacturing railroad cars, revolvers, cannon, knives, saddles and spurs, buttons and belt buckles, tents and canteens.
- Atlanta now being a military post, martial law is established.
- Smallpox hospital constructed to deal with the epidemic in the city.
- Col. L.P. Grant begins supervising construction of fortifications around the city, including the ferries on the Chattahoochee River. He authorizes hiring slaves for the work, paying their owners $1 per slave per day. By the end of October, the forts are nearly complete.
- Mayor James Calhoun issues a proclamation noting “the more than probability of an early raid on this city” — Federals having two months earlier raided Rome, Georgia — “…I do now request every citizen able to bear arms … to enroll their names upon some company list…”
- By military order, whiskey can no longer be sold in retail stores.
- Entered into the city code this year: “Sec.292. No man slave or person of color shall walk with cane, club or stick (unless blind or infirm), nor smoke a pipe or cigar in any street, lane, alley, or on the square used by the State; and, upon conviction of a violation of any part of this section, such slave or person of color shall receive not exceeding thirty-nine lashes.”
- Gen. Howell Cobb is named commander of Georgia state troops, headquartered in Atlanta.
- A private female institute, located on corner of Courtland and Ellis streets since 1860, is taken over for a Confederate hospital, relocating the school to the Neal home at Washington and Mitchell streets, now the site of Atlanta City Hall. (In the following year, Yankee Gen. Sherman will take over the Neal house for his Atlanta headquarters.)
- In early May, union Gen. William T. Sherman begins moving his troops out of Chattanooga, along the railroad route toward Atlanta.
- Mayor Calhoun calls on all capable males to report for induction into military units, adding “All male citizens who are not willing to defend their home and families are requested to leave the city at their earliest convenience, as their presence only embarrasses the authorities and tends to the demoralization of others.”
- After a series of battles through northern Georgia in which Sherman’s army beats back the lesser forces of Confederate General Joseph Johnston, the Rebels take a stand at Kennesaw Mountain (just northwest of Atlanta) that lasts for several days and results in the death of Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk, an Episcopal bishop.
- Sherman’s troops cross over the Chattahoochee and a frustrated President Davis replaces Gen. Joe Johnston with Gen. John Bell Hood.
- The Battle of Peachtree Creek (in present-day Tanyard Park on Collier Road, near Piedmont Hospital) is a victory for the north. A Union colonel in that battle, Benjamin Harrison, will go on to become a US President. Atlanta in July, 1864
- While shells are lobbed into the city from the north of town, Hood’s army strikes out south in the darkness of night, then northeast in vain hopes of dividing the Federals approaching from Decatur. The armies meet in what becomes known as the Battle of Atlanta, which results in the death of Confederate General William Walker and one of Sherman’s top generals, James B. McPherson.
- West of Atlanta, the battle of Ezra Church ends in what some historians called the most one-sided victory of the war for the Yankees, who sustained 600 casualties to the Rebels’ three-to-five thousand.
- Down in Jonesboro, Union soldiers succeed in totally isolating Atlanta by destroying the rails from the south. Hood is forced to evacuate Atlanta, setting fire to major supply dumps on the way out of town.
- On September 2, Mayor Calhoun leads a city delegation northwest on Marietta Street to seek out Union troops to surrender the city. He finds some and does so at what is now the corner of Marietta and Northside Drive.
- Civilians are ordered out of the city by Sherman, despite the protests of Gen. Hood.
- Up north, Abraham Lincoln wins reelection on November 8.
- More than two months after taking the town, Sherman orders it burned. Included in the 400 structures allowed to remain standing are five churches, thanks to the personal pleadings of catholic Father Thomas O’Reilly.
- The next day, Sherman marches his troops to the south, beginning the “march to the sea,” with plans to pillage farms along the way rather than maintain a supply line back to Union territory.
- About a week later, the Confederates reoccupy the burned city, and civilians begin returning. Newly re-elected Mayor Calhoun looks into the city treasury and finds $1.64.