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For example, the Committee on Public Safety, organized in 1861, and the Vigilance Committee, formed the following year, focused much of their attention and energies on ferreting out suspected spies and exposing abolitionists and Union sympathizers.

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In the process a number of civilians were killed, and property and buildings in the city were badly damaged.On September 2, 1864, Sherman's troops captured the city, and the remaining residents (about 3,500 people, according to one estimate) were ordered to evacuate.Both of these actions sparked increased settlement and development in the upper Piedmont section of the state and led to Atlanta's founding.Indian removal and the discovery of gold encouraged new settlement in the region, but it was the railroad that actually brought Atlanta into being and eventually connected it with the rest of the state and region.Governor Lumpkin, on the other hand, is said to have maintained that the city's new name was yet another tribute to his daughter, whose middle name was Atalanta, although this story appears to be to 9,554 people and was already the fourth largest city in the state.

Enslaved African Americans and free persons of color were part of this population, although in smaller numbers than in the older, larger port cities of the South.

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.

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.

Located in the northern portion of the state, Atlanta enjoys a high mean elevation—1,050 feet (320m) above sea level—which distinguishes it from most other southern (and eastern) cities and contributes to a more temperate climate than is found in areas farther south.