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Macon, Georgia

The Illustrated London News, vol. 43, no. 1224, p. 342.

October 3, 1863


The town of Macon, in the heart of Georgia, is about forty miles south-west of the capital Milledgeville, one hundred miles south-east of Atlanta, and within one hundred and fifty of Chattanooga, on the borders of Tennessee.

The importance of Macon has greatly increased since the commencement of the civil war. Though for many years it has been a handsome and enterprising town, new foundries and factories have lately sprung up; it is the dépôt of large Government stores; and as danger approaches its neighbourhood so does its consequence augment. Macon will probably become the base of operations and supplies for the Confederate army of the west; and Atlanta, on the line of railway from Tennessee, must be protected.

The direct route between Virginia and central Georgia has hitherto been by the Virginia and Eastern Tennessee Railroad, through Knoxville and Chattanooga. The loss of these two places will now compel the Confederates to abandon that portion of this very important line of traffic, their sole remaining one between the capital and the south-west, and thus greatly hamper their future communications with Georgia, Alabama, and West Florida.

Macon and Atlanta are each the central point of diverging railroads, and to retain these two towns is now of the utmost importance. The little town of Rome, where a portion of General Bragg's army is at present stationed, is at the termination of a branch railway at the extreme north-west of Georgia.

Macon has hitherto felt comparatively few of the sufferings consequent on the war and blockade. Ordinary provisions remained abundant, and were sold at their usual prices long after luxuries had vanished from the borders of the Confederacy. It is situated upon the Ocmulgee River, a branch of the Altamaha.

Owing to the abundance of trees that conceal the buildings, our Engraving conveys a somewhat inadequate idea of the size of the town, which has a population of some six or seven thousand people. Like most other Southern towns, the very wide streets have a row, sometimes a double row, of thickly-planted trees dawn the middle and another along each side, bordering the pavements, or "sidewalks," where, as well as in the private gardens, the catalpa, mimosa, ailanthus, and other flowering trees, with varieties of oak and willow, flourish luxuriantly.

College Hill, from which the sketch is taken, is one of a high range, adorned with handsome public institutions and private residences, the roads and approaches to which remain in primitive wildness. Mulberry-street, which the hill commands, is one of the principal thoroughfares. At the extremity is the County Courthouse; on the right is the tall spire of the Presbyterian, and on the left the tower of the Episcopal Church. Here and there another church or cupola and some taller buildings peep forth from the trees, gleaming white and dazzling in the bright sunshine; and the undulating distant country spreads in a chequered landscape of dark forests and crops of golden corn.

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