November 27th, 1864

Nov. 27th, 1864:

The Left Wing has reached the Ogeechee River and begins to cross at Fenn’s Bridge.  A series of sharp cavalry battles ensue in the area of Waynesboro when Sherman feints toward Augusta.  The Left Wing also provides support for Kilpatrick as he operates and clashes with Wheeler between Millen and Waynesboro.

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Ga. 88 now crosses the Ogeechee River at the site of Fenn’s Bridge.  Confederate Cavalry General Wheeler had left the bridge intact for his own operations in the area, but upon returning to destroy it, his units were met by Federal troops preventing their attempt to destroy the bridge.
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The courthouse of downtown Waynesboro.  Federals and Confederate Cavalry clashed and skirmished for several days in the area and on December 4th they fight the Battle of Waynesboro.
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November 26th, 1864

Nov. 26th, 1864:

The Right Wing occupies Oconee and have taken the abandoned lines of the Confederates at Ball’s Ferry.  The Left Wing enters Sandersville where they clash with cavalry as the enter town and fight a running skirmish through the town square.  Elements of the Left Wing move out from Sandersville and move toward Tennille and Davisboro.

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Court House and monument in downtown Sandersville.  This sits at the town square.  The monument predates the civil war and has a few scars from the battle. 
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Town square of Sandersville where elements of Sherman’s left wing clashed with Confederate Cavalry. 
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The Brown House is now a museum, but once served as General Sherman’s headquarters overnight as he moved through Sandersville with the Left Wing.
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After skirmishing through Sandersville, parts of the Left Wing moved out again and moved into Temmille. 

November 25th, 1864

Nov. 25th, 1864:

The Left Wing begins to move towards Sandersville and begin to meet active Confederate resistance and begin to skirmish almost constantly as they advance.

November 24th, 1864

Nov. 24th, 1864:

General Kilpatrick takes his cavalry column and leaves the Right Wing and feints toward Augusta with elements of the Left Wing.  General Hardee arrives at Ball’s Ferry to assess the situation.  He decides that their lines must be abandoned and they withdraw during the night.

They Left Wing begins to leave Milledgeville and moves through Hebron.

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The Confederates abandoned their position here along the high ground just east of the Oconee River at Ball’s Ferry.

November 23rd, 1864

Nov. 23rd, 1864:

The Left Wing of Sherman’s army moves into and occupies the Georgia State Capital of Milledgeville.  At one point, soldiers occupy the state house building and hold a mock session of the legislature.  They have speeches and vote to repeal secession.  General Sherman takes the Governor’s Mansion as his headquarters.  The Governor had taken all the furnishings with him to Macon leaving the mansion empty.  Sherman slept in his bedroll on the floor.

The Right Wing reaches the Oconee River north east of Macon.  After passing through McIntyre and Toombsboro they are delayed at Ball’s Ferry by stiff Confederate resistance.

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The Georgia’s old Capital building in Milledgeville, was built in 1804 with the first meeting of the legislature happening in 1807.  It was here that Federal troops of Sherman’s Left Wing held a mock congress.
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The old State Capital Building is now part of Georgia Military College.  It houses offices, classrooms and the Old Capital Museum. 
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This was the Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville.  When the Governor escaped from Milledgeville prior to the arrival of the Federals, he made sure to pack everything, including the furniture for his escape.  General Sherman slept here while the Federals were in town.
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The Oconee River at Ball’s Ferry.  The Federals of the Right Wing arrived here on the 23rd and found the Ferry on the east(right side) bank of the river under a Confederate Guard.  The Federals attempted to cross the river up stream and were able to push the Confederates back for a short time.  The Confederates were reinforced and were then able to drive the Federals back across the river.  By the 25th, the main Federal columns of the Right Wing reached Ball’s Ferry.  They were able to attack the Confederates from the front while another Federal force crossed the river upstream and attacked the Confederate flank forcing a retreat.
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This high ground on the east side of the Oconee River at Ball’s Ferry was once occupied by Confederate forces defending the river crossing.

November 22nd, 1864 The Battle of Griswoldville

November 22, 1864:

The 20th Corps, part of the Sherman’s Left Wing, reached Milledgeville.  They marched into town past unoccupied Confederate earthworks and were completely unopposed.  Mayor R.B. DeGraffenreid surrendered the town and asked for protection from looting and destruction.  Two regiments camped on the state house grounds and acted as the provost.  They also raised the first U.S. Flag over the state house since the start of the war.

The Right Wing fought what is thought to be the largest battle of The March to the Sea at the Battle of Griswoldville.  On the morning of the 22nd, General Hardee dispatched three brigades of Georgia Militia from Macon to August to help defend the city.  Hardee was hoping that the Federal column had already passed and that the militia would be moving behind them and have a clear path to August.  Weather and choked roads, along with delaying actions by Wheelers cavalry, had caused the Right Wing to slow down.  The Militia were under orders to retreat if the encountered any resistance.

General P.J. Phillips was in command of the Militia, after they marched north east from Macon they met up with the 4th Brigade that had marched out the night before.  They told Gen. Phillips about the skirmishing between Wheeler and the Federals.  Phillips also learned that his detachment outnumbered the Federals and decided to disobey his orders and attempt to overrun the Federal position.  They were to attack across open fields that were nearly 700 yards in distance and try to reach a deep ravine about 100 yards from the Federal lines.  The Federals were caught off guard by the attack as it came unexpectedly, but they quickly regrouped and formed up for a fight.

The Militia, made up of old men and young boys, made a concerted, if not confused, effort to attack the Federal position.  Many of the Militia had never seen combat, some fired on their own men by mistake, some even attacked in the wrong direction.  The battle hardened veterans of the Federal army opened up with a withering fire from their position and the bodies of the dead and dying Militia were littering the field.  Yet they still advanced, time and time again under the constant fire of the Federals.  The Militia reached within 50 yards of the Federal line before they finally retreated.  The Militia lost 51 men killed and 472 wounded.  The Federals lost 13 men and only had 79 wounded.

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This memorial stands on the Griswoldville Battlefield.  The Federal forces would have been in the tree line stretching north towards the railroad and south, crossing Baker Rd. towards and parallel to Griswoldville Road.
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Federal lines would have been in the tree line in the distance.
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Looking Southwest down Baker Road toward Griswoldville Rd.  The Federal lines would have been behind the camera and the image shows the direction that the Confederate attack came from.
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The railroad was a strategic element throughout the war.  It was used to move men and supplies great distances in a short time and it was often a target of destruction.  These tracks are in Griswoldville and connect Macon to Savannah.

November 21st, 1864

November 21, 1864:

Parts of the Right Wing of Sherman’s army pass through Gordon and move on east to Irwinton.  Their column stretches out for miles as they choke the roads.  The Left Wing continues to move closer to Milledgeville.  Sherman remarks in his memoirs that they only made 8 miles on this hard, cold, windy day.  That night an uncommon early season snow storm blanketed the army with snow.  The southern civilians accuse the yankees of bringing the cold weather with them.

General Hardee, in command of the Confederate forces in Georgia, is in Macon where he has been preparing to defend the city.  His scouts have reported that the Federal columns have turned away from Macon and have started on a move eastward.  Hardee now realizes that the Federal objective is most likely Augusta or Savannah.  General Hardee begins to shift his troops as well as Wheeler’s cavalry to the east in an effort to slow down the Federal Advance.