THE STORY OF THE ROSWELL MILL WORKERS DEPORTATION
On July 5, 1864, Federal General Kenner Garrard's cavalry reached
Roswell and finding it undefended, occuiped the city. General Garrard
reported to General William T.Sherman on July 6, 1864 that..."
there were fine factories here.I had the building burnt, all were
burnt. The cotton factory was working up to the time of its destruction,
some 400 women being employed."
Former Associate Dean of Emory University, Webb Garrison writes
of the destruction of the Roswell Mills. He says..."incidents
of this occurred repeatedly throughout the Civil War. Had the usual
attutides prevailed, the destruction of the industrial complex would
have ended the matter. That it did not was due to the temperament
and inclination of the man (Sherman)."
When General Sherman did next would shock good people in the North
and create a mystery that has endured to this day. On July 7,1864,
Sherman reported to his superiors in Washington... "I have
ordered General Garrard to arrest for treason all owners and employees,
foreign and native (of the Roswell Mills), and send them under guard
to Marietta, whence I will send them North."
On July 7, 1864, Sherman wrote to General Garrard..."I repeat
my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected
with those factories, no matter the clamor, and let them foot it,
under guard to Marietta, then I will send them by cars to the North."
A northern newspaper correspondent reported on the deportation...
" only think of it! Four hundred weeping and terrified Ellen's,
Susan's, and Maggies transported in springless and seatless army
wagons, away from their loved ones and brothers of the sunny South,
and all for the offense of weaving tentcloth."
On July 10,1864 General Thomas reported the arrival of four to five
hundred mill hands, mostly women, in Marietta. Other documents indicate
that an undetermined number of children accompanied their mothers.
Webb Garrison writes of the women's arrival in Marietta..."
for the military record that closed the case in which women and
children were illegally deported after having been charged with
treason." He further writes... " had the Roswell incident
not been followed immediately by major military developments, it
might have made a lasting impact upon opinion. In this century,
few analysts have given it emphasis it deserves."
In conclusion Dr. Garrison writes..." The mystery of the Roswell
women, whose ultimate fate remains unknown, is one of major importance
in its own right. Even more significant is its foreshadowing of
things to come."
The mystery of the Roswell women is made up of four to five hundred
tragedies. Most of these stories are lost to history; however, three
men invloved in the monument are either related to or desended from
the mill workers. Wayne Bagley of the Roswell Mills Camp of the
Sons of Confederate Veterans is related to Adeline Bagley Buice.
Adeline was a seamstress working at the Roswell Mills while her
husband was off to war. Deported north with the other women, she
went all the way to Chicago. Left to fend for herself as best she
could, it would be five years before Adeline and her daughter would
return to Roswell on foot . In time, thinking her dead, he remarried.
Adeline's grave, in Forsyth County is maintained with a special
marker by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
George Kendley, also a member of the Roswell Mills Camp, is descended
from John R. Kendley who served early as a Sergant in Company H,
known as the "Roswell Guards", 7th Regiment, GVI, Army
of Northern Virginia. He was captured, paroled, and returned to
work in the mill. Johnlater served as a Lieutenant in Company A,
Roswell Battalion. Because he was paroled, he had to leave early
when Union troops got close. If captured, he would have been shot
on the spot.
Wayne Shelly is a member of the Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp of the
Sons of Confederate Veterans in Rome, Georgia. His grandmother was
a teenage mill worker and her mother and her grandmother also worked
at Roswell Mills. All three were charged with treason and dpeorted.
The mother died on a train between Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee.
The grandmother died on steamship on the Ohio River, after being
carried aboard in a rocking chair. Wayne's grandmother married a
Confederate Veteran in Louisville, Kentucky. The two tried to make
a new life in Indiana; however, the deportation had ruined the health
of the young mill worker and a doctor advised that she she would
not live through another Indiana winter. The couple moved south
The War Between the States was without question Roswell's moment
on the stage of world history. If Roswell has a history, it is surely
in the part the mill workers story.