It is, naturally, difficult to know when a person is speaking the truth (or the truth as he sees it). A powerful ring of authenticity to this meeting between Davis and the two Northern gentlemen exists, however, and one feels that it is quite possible that Davis—and perhaps other slaveholders—had indeed persuaded themselves of this idea. According to this way of thinking, the enslavement of African Americans was a necessary thing, done in the interests of the slaves. To continue in this vein, Davis believed that he had never needed slaves—he was entirely capable of caring for himself—but that he had accepted the burden of being a slaveholder for the greater good.
Atlanta’s citizens quickly evacuated the city before the Union’s General Sherman invaded in 1864.