Field Trips

Two Southern Mills, One Civil War

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
State Standards:
Georgia Performance Standards: SS5H1c, SS5H1e, SS5G2a, SS5G2b, S5CS4a, S5CS4b, S5CS4c, & S5CS4d.


Through this field trip to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, students will understand the causes, major events, and consequences of the Civil War; the effects of war on the North and South; what happened during the Atlanta Campaign; and how to use ideas of system, model, change, and scale in exploring scientific and technological matters. The attached packet includes pre, onsite, and post-visit activities.

During the 1800s, the Chattahoochee River witnessed a large amount of industrial growth along its banks. Mills were built and used water power to make items such as cotton, wool, paper, tenting, roping, flannels, and yarn. Many of these goods were sent to the main railroad line in Atlanta, where they could be shipped to other parts of the country. The mills were an important part of Atlanta’s industry, and the river was an important part in keeping the mills running.

In 1864, during the Civil War, General William T. Sherman crossed the Chattahoochee River and ordered his troops to burn the mills, therefore weakening the South’s development. Because a number of the mills were making uniforms and supplies for the Confederate soldiers, their destruction was a hard hit to parts of the southern troops. Following the Civil War, however, many of the mills were rebuilt and their ruins can still be seen along the river today.

Two industrially important mills along the Chattahoochee River were the Marietta Paper Mill at Sope Creek and the Ivy Woolen Mill at the mouth of Vickery Creek. Students will take a closer look at each of these mills and see how they were run back in the 1800s.

Additional Resources

“Sherman's Atlanta Campaign and the Importance of Railroads”

Civil War Series, The Campaign for Atlanta


The Water Wheel

Sope Creek Manufacturing Complex by Everett E. Bronski, Jr. Georgia Institute of Technology

March 10, 1978




Download Field Trip Packet

Last updated: October 6, 2015