City Cafe

On This Date in 1864: A Child’s Account of the End of Battle

Carrie Berry kept a diary from 1864 until 1866, giving her account of the siege of Atlanta, including the shelling of her home and neighborhood, as well as the experience of hiding in her cellar during that shelling and life at home during this time.
Carrie Berry kept a diary from 1864 until 1866, giving her account of the siege of Atlanta, including the shelling of her home and neighborhood, as well as the experience of hiding in her cellar during that shelling and life at home during this time.
Credit Atlanta History Center

By September, there were only a few thousand civilians living in Atlanta. Most had fled. Women and children were some of the first to to so months beforeand this makes today’s installment of our “Voices of 1864” series especially remarkable.

Carrie Berry was ten years old when she kept a diary during the Union shelling of the city that summer. In this entry from 150 years ago today, she wrote about some of the final moments she witnessed as Southern forces retreated.

Broadcast version of story that aired September 2, 2014

In this entry, she writes about the Confederate detonation of an ammunition train, which destroyed the 

  rolling mill that occupied the space where the Cotton Mill Lofts stand today. She also details the panic and looting among remaining residents, and her first encounter with Union soldiers.

Carrie Berry was able to stay with her family in Atlanta throughout the occupation—and in fact, she lived in the city her entire life. In February 1875, she married, and went on to have three children. She died in May 1921.

In 1937, her daughter donated her diary to the Atlanta History Center.

This excerpt was read by Mabel Tyler. The series is produced by WABE’s Kate Sweeney. Special thanks to the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center, which provided historical content, and to Jo Howarth Noonan.

WABE brings you the local stories and national news that you value and trust. Please make a gift today.Donate Now