Confederate History Month Series
A Confederate History Minute (16)
by Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
The Deportation of the Roswell Mills Workers
On July 5, 1864, Union General Garrards’s Cavalry reached Roswell, Georgia and finding it undefended, occupied the city. General Gerrard reported to General William T. Sherman on July 6, 1864…."there were fine factories here. I had the building burnt, all were burnt." The cotton factory was working up to the time of its destruction, some 400 women being employed.
Former Associate Dean of Emory University, Webb Garrison wrote of the destruction of the Roswell Mills. He wrote, "incidents of this sort occurred repeatedly throughout the War Between the States. Had the usual attitudes prevailed, the destruction of the industrial complex would have ended the matter. That it did not was the temperament and inclination of one man (General William T. Sherman)."
What Sherman did next would shock the good people of the North and create a mystery that has endured to this day. On July 7, 1864, Sherman reported to his superiors in Washington, D.C…..
" I have ordered General Garrard to arrest for treason all owners and employees, foreign and native (of the Roswell Mills) and send them under guard to Marietta, whence I will send them North."
A Northern newspaper correspondent reported on the deportation,
"…only think of it. Four Hundred weeping and terrified Ellens, Susans, and Maggies transported in springless and seatless wagons away from their loves and brothers of the sunny South, and all for the offense of weaving tent cloth."
A marker today marks the spot in Roswell, Georgia, that was dedicated by the Roswell Mills Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, to the memory of the Roswell mill women.
These women might have been our Great Grandmothers and we should all remember during April–Confederate History Month.
The source of information on this Confederate History Month minute came from an article written by Webb Garrison.
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