Forever Changed by War
—Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail —
Dallas became the seat of government for Paulding County, Georgia in 1852. By 1861, the town's population was approximately 200 citizens. The Civil War era courthouse was located across Main Street east of the building that succeeded it in 1892. The intersection of two wartime roads led generally south from Dallas on the Villa Rica road (present day Hardee Street) and a less traveled road (on present day Main Street) toward Pumpkinvine Creek Church. In May 1864 nearly 170,000 soldiers in the Federal and Confederate armies faced each other in Dallas and throughout Paulding County for almost two weeks. The massive number of men, wagons, horses, mules and other livestock changed Dallas and Paulding County forever.
The first soldiers to march into Dallas were with the Federal "Army of the Tennessee" under Major General James B. McPherson. These soldiers marched northeast from around Pumpkinvine Creek Church beginning May 26th using Main Street. General McPherson made his headquarters at the Henderson House just east of the courthouse. The 15th Corps of McPherson's army, commanded by Major General John A. "Black Jack" Logan, made its headquarters on present day Glenn Street southeast of downtown Dallas. Both Confederate and Federal soldiers constructed trenches opposing one another to the north, south and east of Dallas for a total
length of nearly twelve miles.
As the May 1864 battles of New Hope Church (25th), Pickett's Mill (27th) and Dallas (28th) raged many casualties from the opposing armies were brought into Dallas. The town experienced the harshness of war on the 28th when Confederate Major General William B. Bate's division probed General Logan's line and was repulsed with heavy losses.
After the Battle of Dallas, Union Major General William T. Sherman began moving his armies north and east toward Acworth and Kennesaw Mountain. When Confederate soldiers briefly re-occupied Dallas on May 30th they encountered many make-shift hospitals housing wounded soldiers. Ed Porter Thompson, a captain in General Bate's division, related the experience of an accompanying brigade were in Bate's division who "greeted by the painful spectacle of finding our wounded, some twenty or thirty, who, on the 28th, had penetrated the enemy's lines, and fallen into his hands, lying in hospitals and uncared for, some of them with limbs amputated, and undressed for two days, until, from neglect-the weather being warm-insects had found a lodgment in every wound. There were no attendants, and neither medicine nor provisions left for the wounded prisoners who were found there."
One of these impromptu hospitals, Dallas's first schoolhouse, still stands off North Johnston Street four blocks
north of the town's center. It was moved there from a nearby lot and has subsequently housed the Paulding County Museum. The scattered remains of trenches, campsites, battlefields and soldier's graves are still present today throughout the modern City of Dallas and Paulding County.