It reads like something taken from the tragedies of Bosnia, Iraq, and Cambodia. An invading army entered a small town left undefended and proceeded to burn the cotton mills, which were the only industry native to the region and the only livelihood of the remaining inhabitants of the small town. Nearly 400 of the surviving women, children, and elderly men who worked in the mills were rounded up, arrested for treason as civilians, found guilty by the ranking commander of the invading army, and summarily sentenced to deportation out of their native region. The 400 victims were then subjected to a forced march of thirteen miles, where they were herded into locomotive cattle cars. Many did not survive the ensuing trip of more than 400 miles; and most of those who did were never heard from again in their native region.
This historical story is not that of some third world country but of Georgia citizens who suffered as the victims of war crimes at the hand of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in Roswell, Georgia during his infamous "march to the sea" during the War Between the States. The incident of July 10, 1864 ignited outrage against the atrocities of Northern troops in both the North and the South during the War and nearly resulted in the entrance of England into the War on the side of the Confederacy.
In 2000, a Victorian style monument dedicated to the memory of the 400 Roswell mill workers was erected in the park on Sloan Street in Roswell; and on Saturday, September 30, 2012, a history marker which tells the story was placed near the monument as a joint effort of the local Sons of Confederate, Veterans Roswell Mills Camp 1547 and Georgia's Civil War Commission as part of the ongoing commemoration of the Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary of the War.
More is planned in 2014 on the 150th anniversary of the deportation of the Roswell mill workers.
For interviews regarding the historical monument dedicated to the Roswell victims or for more information, please call Jack Bridwell, Division Commander for the Georgia Sons of Confederate Veterans at 1-866-SCV-in-GA or visit online at www.GeorgiaSCV.org