On The Home Front – Panel 2 / PDF of On The Home Front panel
When war began in 1861, men rushed to enlist causing hardships at home.
Cobb County families owned few slaves, and mostly women and children were left to tend farms. They made homespun uniforms and supported the troops in the field by sending much-needed blanket, shirts, socks, soap, and other essentials. Most schools simply shut down in this very rural area.
As the conflict progressed, even older men and teenagers were drafted – draining additional manpower. Runaway inflation made needed staples too expensive to purchase. By 1863, Confederate currency became so worthless that most people simply bartered for goods.
As Sherman’s army approached in May 1864, some families abandoned their homes and became refugees. Many had no place to go. Most saw their food and possessions taken, and livestock and wagons driven off. Some former slaves followed the Federal army and its promise of freedom. Survivors that remained behind, both white and black, faced harsh realities as they struggles to survive.
When State Senator John Gann heard that Union troops were nearing, he sent his children, slaves, and animals to his native Clarke County. Gann and his wife stayed on in the house until they heard shots fired, but as they headed for the railroad station, Union soldiers turned them back. Later their two grandsons would say Mrs. Gann had to cook, wash, and iron clothes for the Union Soldiers, while Gann shined boots, chopped wood, and did other tasks. For some reason, the soldiers spared the Gann home.