December 2nd, 1864

Dec. 2nd, 1864:

Sherman and the Right Wing move into Millen.  Sherman stays here for a day so that he can communicate with all parts of his army.  Soldiers give reports of the deplorable conditions found at the abandoned Camp Lawton just north of town.  Nearly the entire town is burned to the ground over the next day or so.

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At one time this field was enclosed by a stockade and house overflow POW’s from Andersonville.  Now the site is Magnolia Springs State Park.  The POW’s had all been moved prior to the arrival of the Federal troops, but the Federals were able to witness the deplorable conditions first hand.
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Archeologist and their students from Georgia Southern University have been conducting digs onsite in an effort to better understand the conditions of the prison camp.
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Earthworks of the Fort that guarded the stockade at Camp Lawton are still visible with a hiking trail that leads area.
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These railroad tracks located less than a mile east of the stockade, carried prisoners to and from the stockade.  They would disembark the train here and march to camp down a dusty dirt road.  These tracks move north towards Augusta and south to Savannah.
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POW’s passed across these railroad tracks in Milen on their way to Camp Lawton just north of town.  Sherman’s forces destroyed much of the railroad in the area.
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Not much of Milen from before the Civil War exist today, as the Federals, angered by the nearby prison camp, burned the town to the ground.
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December 1st, 1864

Dec. 1st, 1864:

The Right Wing, who Sherman is now traveling with, is making its way towards Millen and passes through the area of Herndon and Birdsville, west of Millen.

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Birdsville Plantation, still a private residence and owned by the same family since the land was granted by the King in the 1700’s, was visited by elements of the Right Wing of Sherman’s Army.  Bummers, ransacked the house and in an attempt to find valuables, they dug up fresh graves in the family plot, all they found were the bodies of twin children that had recently died.  This home was built around 1789 and local legend holds that the home is haunted with apparitions, the sound of footsteps, voices, children crying and doors that open and close by their selves.
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A small community sprung up around the plantation and at one time this served as the school.
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A classic southern oak lined road leading to Birdsville Plantation.

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.

150 Years Ago Today: Dec. 1st – Dec. 5th, 1864

Dec. 1st, 1864:
     The Right Wing, who Sherman is now traveling with, is making its way towards Millen and passes through the area of Herndon and Birdsville, west of Millen. 

Dec. 2nd, 1864:
     Sherman and the Right Wing move into Millen.  Sherman stays here for a day so that he can communicate with all parts of his army.  Soldiers give reports of the deplorable conditions found at the abandoned Camp Lawton just north of town.  Nearly the entire town is burned to the ground over the next day or so. 

Dec. 3rd, 1864: 
     The Left Wing passes through the area of Buckhead Church where on the 28th the Federal Cavalry under Kilpatrick clashed with Wheeler’s Confederate Cavalry.  The Left Wing then marches into Millen.  Parts of the Right wing have started moving out of Millen and are moving past Scarboro.

Dec. 4th, 1864:     The Battle of Waynesboro
     On the morning of the 4th, Kilpatrick’s Cavalry supported by two Brigades of Infantry marched on Waynesboro.  Their objective was to capture the town and burn all the bridges over Brier Creek.  As they approached the town they encountered General Wheeler’s skirmishers and drove them in toward the main line of works.  Being out numbered by the Federals who were advancing rapidly on their position and were about to over run them, the Confederates fell back to another line of prepared work in the streets of Waynesboro.  As Wheeler was again about to be overrun by a larger force, he ordered his Texans and Tennesseans to charge, thus delaying the Federals long enough for Wheeler to move his forces to block the Augusta road should Kilpatrick turn that way.  After quickly taking control of the town, the Federals burned the bridges over Brier Creek and set fire to the town.  The towns people were able to suppress many of the fires saving a great deal of the town. 

Dec. 5th, 1864:
     General Hardee is now well aware of the Sherman’s intent to move on Savannah and has placed his command between Sherman and Savannah.  The Right and Left Wings are both moving in a south easterly direction using the main roads into Savannah.  On the 5th, Sherman, traveling with the 17th Corps reaches the Ogeechee Church in what is now Oliver.  He took possession of a private home for his headquarters and remained here for several days to coordinate the movements of his command.  They were now within 50 miles of Savannah.