Baptists and the American Civil War: August 28, 1864

Sherman in the trenches near Atlanta.

Sherman in the trenches near Atlanta.

Union General William T. Sherman‘s grinding offensive against Atlanta continues as the Federal siege grows ever tighter around the critical Southern city.

Destroying the rail lines supplying Atlanta is a key part of Sherman’s strategy. Cutting off Atlanta from the rest of Georgia and the Confederacy would be a significant Union victory and vastly accelerate the declining fortunes of the South.

In the environs of Atlanta this day, Federal forces, largely uncontested, continue cutting rails to the west and south of Atlanta, including the Atlanta and West Point Rail Road.

In addition to the destruction of rails, a Baptist church in Fulton County suffers from the Union offensive.

Days earlier used as a hospital by Sherman’s Federal armies, the Shadnor Baptist Church, founded in 1840, is now emptied of soldiers. With the building evacuated, Sherman orders the burning of the structure.

The destruction of the Baptist meeting house–alternatively referred to as New Hope, Shadna, and Sideling church during the war–foreshadows the impending fall of Atlanta to Union forces.

Sources: “Shadnor Baptist Church,” Historical Markers Across Georgia (link); “Shadnor Baptist Church Cemetery,” USGenWeb (link)