150 Years Ago Today: November 17th, 1864

November 17th, 1864:
     The Right Wing of Sherman’s forces continue their march south and pass through Jackson, Flovilla, Worthville, and Indian Springs.  General Howard’s forces camped for the night near Jackson and prepared to cross the Ocmulgee River on the following day at Planter’s Ferry in the area known as Seven Islands. 
     The Left Wing, accompanied by General Sherman, moves through Conyers, Covington, and Social Circle while also crossing the Alcovy River.  While in Covington, the Federal Troops march through the town with their flags waving and their bands playing.  They are greeted with much trepidation from the southerns, but the slaves were joyous in their arrival and began to sing, dance and pray.  They crowed around General Sherman on his horse in great celebration.  Sherman camped for the night by the Ulcofauhachee River about four miles east of Covington.  Here, Sherman met an elderly slave and engaged him in conversation.  He asked the old man to spread the word to others to not follow the army as it would hamper their movements and burden them with more mouths to feed and people to care for.  He also said that the army would hire young and strong men to work for the army along the way as pioneers and some as teamsters and cooks.  Sherman told the old man he would not be successful in his mission if he was encumbered by masses of freed slaves as he attempted to move through the country and fight the Confederates.  The old man agreed and began to spread the word.  During the March to the Sea, many freed slaves did follow the army, but not nearly as many as could have. 
    On this day, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, appointed General William Hardee to command all the Confederate forces in Georgia.  Confederate Cavalry General Joseph Wheeler had made his Headquarters in Griffin and on the 17th, he ordered his men to place pickets on all the roads to Macon, Columbus and Augusta.  Wheeler and his men were to harass and slowdown Sherman’s Army as much as possible. 
     On the morning of the 17th, the Federal Cavalry under the command of General Kilpatrick, moved from Hampton towards Griffin and Forsyth.  The threat was really a feint to distract Wheeler, but was enough of a threat to cause Wheeler to burn the bridge over the Towaliga River and start a small firefight.

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Photography Day 42 is Done!

     Day 42:  My friend Jeff and I were going to my Dad’s house in Woodbine, Ga. for a weekend of fishing, so, I decided to make the most of the drive and photograph as many locations of the March to the Sea as I could.  We mostly followed the right wing for the trip.  I was able to photograph 11 antebellum structures that were visited by Federal troops on the march.  Three of them by Sherman himself. 
     We started at Jarrell Plantation Historic Site where I photographed the plantation house.  From here we went to Round Oak where I photographed the area around the Battle of Sunshine Church.  Not technically part of the March to the Sea, but for logistical reasons I photographed it out of sequence.  From Round Oak we drove down to Clinton, where I photographed several home.  One of which was Kilpatrick’s Headquarters while the March to the Sea moved through the area.  After Clinton, we drove a short distance to the Griswoldville Battlefield.  This was the site of the only major engagement or battle along the March to the Sea. 
     We left Griswoldville and headed toward Ball’s Ferry.  Along the way we passed through Irwinton and Toomsboro.  I photographed the river and surrounding area at the location of Balls Ferry.  From here we traveled through Wrightsville and Kite and then made our way into Swainsboro, where we had lunch at the Crossroads Cafe.  I had the Reuben and it was really good, but the best thing I had was their Chocolate Chip Toffee cookie. 
     From Swainsboro we traveled north toward Midville where we took Ga. 17 east toward Millen.  Along the way I stopped at several cotton fields to make images.  Before Millen, we took a detour to a place called Birdsville.  It is the site of an antebellum plantation that suffered tragically from the passing of Sherman’s Army.  It is you classic plantation with the ancient Live Oaks overhanging the lane that leads to the front of the house.  It was truly a beautiful location.  It has been in the same family since the King granted them the land in 1785.  From Birdsville we went to Buckhead Church on Buckhead Creek. 
     After leaving Buckhead Church, we drove through Millen and then continued on Ga. 17 towards Savannah.  Along the way we stopped to photograph the Little Ogeechee Baptist Church and then passed through Guyton and between Guyton and Bloomingdale, I photographed Zion Lutheran Church. 
     All in all it was a very productive day and I turned what is normally a six hour drive in to a 12 hour drive.

Below is an image of Birdsville Plantation.