The Confederates are losing the war. Food is diminishing; the doctor’s facilities are flooding. One day, Scarlett cannot stand medical work at the facility any longer and leaves. In the city, Rhett notices her, and offers her a ride home. They meet with a gathering of slaves, including some from Tara, who are creating dikes for the Confederate armed forces to safeguard Atlanta against the Yankees. Scarlett is unnerved and shows her obliviousness of history and current affairs. Rhett discovers this to be entertaining; he begins to prod her, and they wind up talking about why he never endeavors to kiss her. He states that she is excessively youthful for legitimate kissing and says he is holding up to the point that she is no longer in love with Ashley. Visibly frustrated, she gets down from his carriage and promises never to address him again.
Boys and old men must go to the battle now. Scarlett sees Ashley’s father, John Wilkes, just briefly; he appears to feel that he, himself, will not survive the war. Later in the chapter, Scarlett discovers he is correct. The Confederates withdraw into Atlanta, where Yankee warriors lay attack to the city and move past it, assaulting regions closer to Tara. Numerous families escape Atlanta; however, Melanie is presently too heavy in her pregnancy, and reasonably weak, to move. Pittypat leaves the city; yet Scarlett, bound by her assurance to Ashley to care for Melanie, must stay put.