The stories of the Civil War that focus on men in battle are told elsewhere. The human suffering that was a result of the war is unimaginable in the United States today. The typical family farm in North Georgia has only family members working the land (slaves were a luxury many of these farmers could not afford). Each member had jobs for which they were responsible, even the children. Take one or two people out of the family and what was difficult became almost impossible.
The people of North Georgia survived for almost two years before the war moved to their farms and villages. Getting mail was a problem, especially after 1863. With many of their resources supporting the war machine, supplies became scarce. The price of flour rose to forty Confederate dollars a barrel before the end of 1862 and $125 a barrel by the end of the war. Salt was $125 dollars per bag. There was no coffee at any price because Union ships blockaded the coast from the early days of the war. And Confederate currency rapidly becoming worthless. The euphoria that spread over Georgia after the first few victories quickly wore off as life on the home front became more difficult.
An interesting phenomena developed in the state, what the papers called "women seizures." While these events occur in a number of areas, one of the best-documented cases happens in Marietta, Georgia. A Negro driving a wagon from the cotton mill at Sweetwater Creek State Park saw a group of women standing by the side of the road. This group stopped the man and his cart, making off with several bales of yarn before sending the Negro on his way unharmed.
Currency of the Confederate States of America
Almost worthless by the time this 100 dollar note was issued (April, 1864), Confederate currency continued its downward spiral for another year. In 1864 the inflation that tore at the fabric of southern culture was replaced by roving bands of cavalry and infantry, both Blue and Gray, who took what little remained including cattle, horses, and food. Farmers wives fear for their safety. One wrote "They steal our pigs and horses during the day, what will they steal at night?" Some women turn to prostitution to get money to purchase food. And as the warriors leave, the villages and farms glow from the fires that have been set by the bluecoats.
Internal politics are frequently highlighted by rifts between the states rights government of Georgia clashing with the Confederate government. Joseph E. Brown tries to maintain control of the state militia and opposes impressment, the taking war materials from frequently unwilling donors. In 1864, with the massive build-up of Union troops in the area around Chattanooga, Brown considers approaching the Federal Government with a peace offer.
Pro-Union sentiment in North Georgia causes many problems for the government. Desertions from the Confederate Army increase dramatically as North Georgia falls under Federal control. A peace movement in the western part of the state gains popularity in 1864. Cherokee and Pickens counties remain strong Union outposts throughout the war.
The story was much different in Northeast Georgia. Pro-Union sentiment ran high before the war (Union County is named in honor of the Unionists during the Nullification Crisis thirty years earlier), however, they were harder to find once the war started. Anarchy prevailed over much of the land. Armed men on horses control large amounts of the area. Governor Brown occasionally sends cavalry into the area, but they are largely ineffective.
Shortly before William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea, the Union commander communicated a peace offer to Brown on three separate occasions. Surrender the Georgia Militia and the men under his command will stay on the roads and purchase food. Brown felt the situation was hopeless and nearly capitulates. Only a last minute communiqué from Jefferson Davis convinced him not to surrender.
The end of the war brought no peace for the people. Subjugated by their oppressors, the Georgians were invaded by hoards of hungry Rebels returning home. Fear of the price the Yankee victors would extract pervaded the society and the word Reconstruction" entered the vocabulary, but that is another story.
Georgia History Articles about North Georgia history and the state in general. This section is currently being developed. For more information on Georgia History, please see The Civil War in Georgia