The Lost Mill Workers of Roswell
Theophile Roche, a French citizen, had been employed by the cotton mills and later the woolen mill. In an attempt to save the mills, he flew a French flag in hopes of claiming neutrality. However, the letters “CSA” (Confederate States of America) were found on cloth being produced. For two days the mill was spared, but on July 7, after it was proven that the claim of being neutral was false, General Sherman ordered everyone connected with the mill to be charged with treason. The nearby cotton mill was also destroyed. Mill workers, mostly women and children since the men were fighting the war, were arrested, charged with treason and sent north to uncertain fates. One of the women involved in this tragedy was pregnant and working as a seamstress at the mill. She was sent north to Chicago and left to fend for herself. It would take five years before she and her daughter would return, on foot, to Roswell, only to find that her husband had remarried because he thought she was dead. A monument, dedicated to the 400 women and children, is located in Sloan Street Park.
Roswell has over 640 acres of vintage homes, historic sites, museums, monuments, churches, and cemeteries, with 122 acres listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Be sure to stop at the Roswell Visitors Center where you will see a video of the area and receive printed materials to help you enjoy the history of Roswell. Pick up a free, self-guided walking tour map and step back in time. Or, hike Roswell’s historic Vickery Creek Trail and view the mill ruins and dam. Roswell Historical Society docent led tours are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays, by appointment. Roswell Mill Village Walking Tour or 800-776-7935.
Great Oaks (1842)
Located on Mimosa Boulevard Originally the residence of Rev. & Mrs. Nathaniel Pratt. Local clay was used for the bricks, which were hand-molded by slave labor. The Pratts remained in the house during the Civil War, even though General John A. Logan headquartered there and his troops encamped on the lawns. Rev. Pratt wrote, “My front and back yard were full of horses and tents and quartermasters stores up to my very door.” (an events facility)
Roswell Presbyterian Church
Mimosa Boulevard Completed in 1840, the church was used as a hospital for Union soldiers from July 8, 1864 until shortly after July 17. A cabinet still carries the imprint of a checker board carved there by convalescing soldiers.
On the banks of Vickery’s Creek, ruins of the Roswell Mills can be found. The largest mill building was constructed in 1853 and the area is now a city park. A few hundred feet down stream from that location, is the site of Roswell’s first cotton mill which was built in 1839. These mills were burned by Union forces on July 7, 1864, with the help of some of the Roswell Mill employees. Only the 1853 mill was rebuilt after the war and used until destroyed by fire again in 1926. These mills were known as the Roswell Manufacturing Company. The mill seen today was built in 1882 as an addition to the complex and is now restored as offices.
Mimosa Hall (1842)
Originally built in 1842 the structure was of wood but burned during its house-warming. It was rebuilt of brick covered with stucco and scored to resemble stone. During the Civil War the home was used as a hospital. (private residence)
Chattahoochee River Crossing
Located on Atlanta Street near Azalea and Riverside
The original covered bridge was built in 1857 by the Roswell Manufacturing Company to aid in shipping to the railroad hub in Atlanta. The bridge was actually burned by Confederate troops to prevent the Union cavalry from gaining a crossing of the Chattahoochee River. When General Sherman was notified that the bridge had been destroyed he responded: “The bridge at Roswell is important and you may destroy all Georgia to make it strong.” In only 3 days, Union forces rebuilt the bridge that measured 14 ft. high and 710 ft. long. Sherman had his troops burn this bridge on August 7, 1864 after they crossed, to prevent the Confederate forces from using it. In 1869, the bridge was rebuilt and used until the current bridge replaced it in 1925.
Roswell Town Square
The 400 who were charged with treason were held overnight, under guard, in the Town Square until they could be sent by wagons to Marietta and transported by train to the north. “I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, whence I will send them by cars to the North … The poor women will make a howl.”
Teaching Museum North
793 Mimosa Boulevard, Roswell, GA 30075 ~ 770-552-6339
Exhibits of political, social and historical interests document the history of the United States, Georgia and Roswell. Housed on the site of the original Academy, Roswell’s first school. Fulton Schools Teaching Museum North
Roswell Ghost Tours
Stories of the spirits said to dwell behind the walls of the mansions and the toilsome tales of the mill village will capture your imagination. Civil War lovers are said to inhabit the area. www.roswellghosttour.com
For additional information about the Civil War in Roswell, please visit:
Roswell Historical Society/City of Roswell Research Library & Archives
2nd Floor Roswell Cultural Arts Center
950 Forest St. – Roswell, GA 30075;
For hours & times call 770-594-6405