A second large war-related industry and producer was the Quartermaster Depot, which operated a shoe factory, a tannery, and a clothing depot that employed more than 3,000 seamstresses.
These industries and the employment opportunities associated with them swelled Atlanta's population from 9,000 people in 1860 to some 22,000 four years made Atlanta a strategically important town for the Confederacy also made it a tempting target for Union armies, and in the summer of 1864 General William T.
During the Civil War Atlanta became a home front, a major producer of war materials, and an important regional transportation and distribution center.
Many existing industries in the city were soon converted to wartime production, and newly established factories provided much-needed Confederate munitions and supplies.
The activities and freedoms of both groups of African Americans, however, were strictly controlled by laws and customs.
Gatherings of slaves and free blacks, for example, required a special sanction by the mayor, both groups had to observe strict curfews, and free persons of color could not live within the city limits without written permission of the city council.
Sherman's instructions called for engineers to level the buildings before they were torched, but eager and careless soldiers set fire to many structures before the engineers arrived.
As a result many Atlanta homes and businesses not marked for destruction were also consumed in the fires that swept the city on November 15, 1864. presidential election victory in the fall of that year.
Finally, it left Atlanta burned, barren, and bankrupt.
Before Sherman's army departed on its famous March to the Sea, however, fire and Union soldiers demolished the city's railroad depots, the roundhouse, the machine shops, and all other railroad support buildings.
Public buildings, selected commercial enterprises, industries (including the Winship Foundry and the Atlanta Gas Light Company, which were operated by Union sympathizers), military installations, and blacksmith shops were also targeted.
Two years later the city adopted a new name—Atlanta.
Supposedly a feminine version of the word Atlantic, the name was first used by John Edgar Thomson, chief engineer of the Georgia Railroad, to designate his railroad's local depot.