Atlanta, a city, capital of Georgia, and also of Fulton county, and next to Savannah the largest and most important city in the state, 101 m. N. W. of Macon and 171 m. W. of Augusta; pop. in 1860, 9,554; in 1870, 21,789, of which 9,929 were colored. It is an important railway centre, the Atlanta and West Point, Atlanta and Richmond, Western and Atlantic, Georgia, and Macon and Western railroads connecting here. There is also a street railroad company. Atlanta lies nearly 1,100 ft. above the sea, and is built upon hilly ground. It is laid out in the form of a circle, about 3 m. in diameter, the union passenger depot occupying the centre. Oglethorpe park, at the terminus of Marietta street, about 2 m. from the depot, contains fine drives, lakes, etc. The chief public buildings are the state capitol, the city hall, the first Methodist church (South), the opera house, and the Kimball house, one of the largest hotels in the South. The principal manufactories are a rolling mill, three founderies, three planing mills, several flour mills, two railway shops, a brewery, and several tobacco factories. The business of the city amounts to about $35,000,000 annually.
The valuation of property in 1872 was $13,545,585. There are two national banks, with a capital of $400,000, a loan and trust company, and two savings banks. The city is governed by a mayor and a board of 14 councilmen (two from each ward). The police force consists of 55 officers and privates. There are three steam fire engines, two hand engines, and a hook and ladder company. Atlanta contains a branch of the Baptist orphans1 home and a ladies' relief society. Steps were taken in the autumn of 1869 to establish a public school system, and in 1872 three school houses had been erected, and 29 teachers were employed. Other institutions of learning are the North Georgia female college, Atlanta medical college, Oglethorpe college, Atlanta university (colored), two business colleges, an English and German select school, an orphans' free school, and a colored school. Oglethorpe college has a library of 5,000 volumes; the young men's library association possess about 3,000 volumes; and the state library contains 16,000 volumes. Three daily and two weekly newspapers and three monthly periodicals are published.
There are 28 churches, viz.: 6 Baptist (1 colored), 1 Roman Catholic, 1 Christian, 1 Congregational, 2 Episcopal, 1 Jewish, 1 Lutheran, 13 Methodist (9 Southern and 3 colored), and 2 Presbyterian. - Atlanta was incorporated as a city in 1847. During the civil war it acquired great importance as the chief entrepot of trade between the western and Atlantic and gulf states, the principal manufacturing town in the south, and the seat of various government works of the confederacy. It was then strongly fortified. Gen. Sherman began an advance upon it from Chattanooga at the beginning of May, 1864, with 98,000 men and 254 guns. The defence was intrusted to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, with about 50,000 men, occupying a position at Dalton. By a series of flank movements, and some severe fighting, particularly at Resaca, New Hope church, and Kenesaw and Lost mountains, Johnston, though skilfully manoeuvring, was forced to retire from position to position, to the very defences of Atlanta, which he reached before the middle of July. On the 17th he was superseded by Gen. Hood, who assumed the offensive, making three heavy attacks on the federal forces (July 20, 22, and 28). These were repulsed with great loss, and Atlanta was besieged till Sept. 1, when Hood was compelled to evacuate it by a flank movement of Sherman's army which covered the lines of railroad in the rear of the confederates.
Before abandoning the city, to fall back on Macon, Gen. Hood set fire to all the machinery, supplies, and munitions of war which he could not remove. The federal losses from Chattanooga to the occupation of Atlanta were 30,400 men and 15 cannon. The confederate losses amounted to about 42,000 men, 40 or 50 guns, and 25,000 stand of small arms. Both armies had been reinforced during the four months' contest. When Sherman moved his base of supplies to Chattanooga in November, the machine shops, depots, government buildings, etc, were set on fire. After the reconstruction of the state and the adoption of the constitution of 1808, Atlanta became the capital, since which time it has increased in population with remarkable rapidity.