Barnard’s Photographic Views of the Sherman Campaign

George Barnard's photograph of William T. Sherman and his generals, circa 1866.

In May of 1864, General William T. Sherman and his Union force of 110,000 soldiers invaded Georgia from Chattanooga, beginning a series of battles with Confederate forces in north Georgia that historians later referred to as the Atlanta Campaign. Union troops captured the city of Atlanta on September 2 that same year. Following a brief occupation of the city, Sherman divided his army and began a march to the sea, passing through Milledgeville (Georgia’s capital at the time) and eventually capturing Savannah in December of 1864 before marching north through the Carolinas.

Barnard's photograph of ruins in Columbia, South Carolina, circa 1866.

United States Army photographer George N. Barnard followed Sherman’s forces through Georgia and captured the aftermath of the battles in Atlanta and Savannah. Following the conclusion of the war, Barnard traced back through Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina to photograph the battle sites of the Sherman Campaign. The result of his work can be found in the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Barnard’s Photographic Views of the Sherman Campaign collection, which contains digitized versions of sixty-one albumen prints taken by Barnard around 1866. These powerful photographs portray both the natural beauty of the South and the destructive consequences of the war.