Baptists and the American Civil War: August 30, 1862

The Atlanta (later Confederate) Rolling Mill

The Atlanta (later Confederate) Rolling Mill

Samuel Pearce Richards (1824-1910) is a member of Atlanta’s Second Baptist Church and an Atlanta bookseller that, having “no ambition to acquire military renown and glory,” has managed to avoid service in the Confederate Army. The former Unionist maintains a home front diary during the war, and today, amidst noting family affairs, worries that he may yet be forced into military service.

The business of the month has closed. I suppose that we have sold more than any previous month we have been in business. Our cash sales have been $6000. But I do not enjoy the times the prospect for the future is so cheerless and uncertain. Our Congress now in session will probably amend the Conscription Act so as to include us and I see no way of getting off from service. Much as I rejoice to see that our invading cruel foes are being destroyed, I cannot feel willing to engage in the work of slaying them.–Our baby Alice is walking all about the house with confidence. She first ventured off alone last Tuesday week the 19th inst[ant]. She don’t talk yet though. Jabez brought home a little negro girl name “Medora” and they seem to intend calling her ‘Dora though they know that we don’t approve of it. How would they like for us to buy a dirty little brat and call it “Annie?” Several of our citizens were arrested by the military authorities this week for supposed disloyalty or treasonable intentions; James Sturges was one!

Life in Atlanta is tolerable for now. This will not last, however.

Sources: August 30, 1862 diary entry in Samuel P. Richards, Sam Richards’s Civil War Diary: A Chronicle of the Atlanta Home Front, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009, p. 123 (link); graphic of Atlanta (later Confederate) Rolling Mill that produced iron rail, canon and other iron products for the Confederacy (link)