Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Weekend event in Atlanta tells of war through the eyes of a young girl, others

Carrie Berry performer at Atlanta History Center
“We were fritened almost to death last night. Some mean soldiers set several houses on fire in different parts of the town. I could not go to sleep for fear that they would set our house on fire. We all dred the next few days to come for they said that they would set the last house on fire if they had to leave this place.”

Thus read the Nov. 12, 1864, journal entry of Carrie Berry, a 10-year-old girl living in Atlanta during the fall and occupation of the city. Hers is a very personal account of the shelling of her neighborhood, hiding in the family cellar and taking care of her younger siblings. In between were the seemingly mundane tasks of sewing and ironing. Carrie kept this diary from  August 1864 to January 1865.

Carrie's diary (AHC)
Carrie’s story is being told this Saturday as part of a free 11 a.m.-4 p.m. program at the Atlanta History Center.

Citizens and Soldiers: The American Civil War” tells the stories of soldiers and those enduring hardship on the home front.

Re-enactors will be on hand at an encampment on the grounds and visitors will learn about 1860s life at the Smith family farm. There will be firing and march demonstrations and a cartridge rolling activity. Families and individuals can partake in bread riot and inflation activities, meant to depict the harsh conditions in Atlanta.

Local historian Brad Quinlin will speak at noon about U.S. Colored Troops buried at a national cemetery in Cobb County. Stephen Davis, author of What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta,” is on a 2 p.m. program.

Actors will portray Carrie Berry, businessman Jasper Smith, slaveholder Celeste Johnstone and a 44th Regiment soldier, Nate Barker.

The center also will provide guided tours of its comprehensive permanent exhibition “Turning Point: The American Civil War.”

• Details of Saturday’s program

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