Atlanta's roundhouse, which housed the city's rail infrastructure hub, was left in ruins following the city's sack by Union forces in 1864. The destruction of Southern rail lines devastated the Confederacy.
Photograph by George N. Barnard, courtesy Library of Congress

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  • On November 15, 1864, Union forces led by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman burned nearly all of the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia. More than 3,000 buildings (including businesses, hospitals, homes, and schools) were destroyed. The Atlanta Campaign aimed to cut off Atlanta’s vital supply lines that provided Confederate troops with reinforcements, ammunition, and goods such as clothes, first-aid medicines, and equipment.
    As Atlanta lay smoldering, Sherman and his troops began their audacious, infamous “March to the Sea,” a massive scorched-earth campaign that ended in the port city of Savannah, Georgia, on December 21.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    city Noun

    large settlement with a high population density.

    infamous Adjective

    having a very bad reputation.

    massive Adjective

    very large or heavy.

    port Noun

    place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.

    Encyclopedic Entry: port
    Union Adjective

    having to do with states supporting the United States (north) during the U.S. Civil War.

    vital Adjective

    necessary or very important.