Dec. 12th, Kilpatrick is dispatched with his cavalry to locate an assault route to Fort McAllister. Fort McAllister protects the mouth of the Ogeechee River and must be taken in order for Sherman to begin supplying his army. After locating a route and informing Sherman, Kilpatrick rides to Midway and makes his headquarters at the Midway Church and then sends forces to Sunbury in an attempt to contact the Federal Fleet.
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. 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.
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.
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.
November 15th, 1864:
The March to the Sea began this morning. The right wing and Kilpatirck’s cavalry move southeast along the railroad towards Jonesboro. Slocum’s 20th Corps, part of the left wing, moved east toward Decatur and Stone Mountain. Sherman, along with the remainder of the left wing and the rear guard of the right wing, stayed in Atlanta. Sherman supervised the last details of loading the wagon trains and the final destruction of Atlanta. In the late afternoon of the 15th the orders were given and the torch was put to Atlanta. An enormous fire soon erupted and began to consume the city. Artillery shells and other explosives had been placed in some structures and as the fire raged, they began to explode, sending debris and shell fragments through the air in all directions. Some soldiers remarked that they could not sleep because the light from the fire was too bright. Sherman remarked to a staffer that he thought the fire could possibly be seen as far away as Griffin, nearly 40 miles away.
November 13th, 1864
Sherman and his staff continue on toward Atlanta. They move south from Allatoona and passed through Acworth. All but a few homes in Acworth were destroyed. Major Connolly described it as “a heap of ruins”. Many officers were unable to or perhaps unwilling to stop the destructive and plundering nature of the soldiers under their command. As Sherman and his staff approached Marietta, they passed through some of the earthworks that had been abandoned during the summer. As they traveled they were able to see large, black columns of smoke coming form Marietta. General Kilpatrick and his cavalry were in the town. Guards had been posted to prevent Arson and looting, but were not able to do so and some officers were greatly disturbed by the unauthorized burning of the town. While in Marietta, Sherman reviewed General Kilpatrick’s command. He rode past and reviewed 5000 cavalry and at the end he took up a position to watch as they all road past cheering their General. The business district of the town around the square had been burned and destroyed.
August 31st, 1864:
After learning of the impending attack on Jonesboro and the railroad by the Federals, Hood dispatched Hardee’s Corps and S.D. Lee’s Corps to Jonesboro to protect the railroad.
By mid afternoon, both Hardee’s Corps and S.D. Lee’s Corps were in place at Jonesboro. Hardee deployed with his corps to the left and as he was in overall command of the operations, Cleburne was commanding the corps. Cleburne deployed with Lowery’s Division to the left and Brown’s Division to the Right. He held Maney’s Division in reserve. S.D. Lee’s Corps was deployed to the right of the Confederate line. Stevenson’s Division was on his left adjacent to Hardee’s right and Clayton was on the far right of the Confederate line. Stovall’s and Higley’s Brigades were held in reserve and were later moved forward to the left of S.D. Lee’s lines.
Hardee’s plan was to have Cleburne advance and wheel to their right(north) and attack the Federal right flank. Once they were engaged and the Federals shifted troops to protect the flank, their center would be weakened and then S.D. Lee’s Corp’s would initiate a full frontal assault on the Federal Lines.
Howard deployed his Federals on high ground between the Flint River and Jonesboro. He placed Logan’s XV Corps on the Federal left where they were facing the railroad and the town of Jonesboro. Ransom’s XVI Corps was deployed to the Federal right in a “refuse” in the line connected with Logan’s right and turned back west toward the Flint River and across it. Blair’s XVII Corps was held in reserve.
At 3:00pm Hardee ordered the attack to begin. As the advance began, Lowery’s Division made contact with Kilpatricks Federal Cavalry and was able to push them back rapidly across the Flint River. Lowery’s Division was moving so fast that they were not able to maintain contact with Brown’s Division. Brown’s Division struggled to advance through swampy terrain and a deep ravine. As they were unsupported on their left, Brown’s Division suffered heavy losses from the entrenched Federals on the high ground above the ravine.
S.D. Lee, who had only been in command of a Corps for about a month, ordered an all out assault at the first sounds of rifle fire from Cleburne. His inexperience caused him to attack too quickly and before the Federals could shift troops to the flank that was under attack. So, when Lee’s Corp attacked, they engaged the fully fortified and full strength lines of Logan’s Corps. Lee’s Corps over ran the Federal skirmishers, but were repeatedly repulsed by the Federal main line. Lee suffered heavy losses.
While the Battle of Jonesboro ensued. Schofield’s XXIII Corps and Stanley’s IV Corps reached the Western and Atlantic railroad south of Rough and Ready. After a short skirmish with some Confederate Cavalry, they began destroying the railroad.
Hood, still not convinced that this was the main attack and thinking it was only a diversion, was anticipating an attack on Atlanta. Without knowing the status of the battle in Jonesboro. Hood orders S.D. Lee’s Corps back to Atlanta thinking he is going to be attacked. Around midnight, Lee’s Corps, beaten, crippled, and worn out begins the long march back to Atlanta.
August 20th, 1864:
After leaving from Fairburn on the 19th, Kilpatrick moved his column towards Jonesboro. He once again met resistance from Ross’s Texas Brigade, first to his rear and then after Ross moved south below Kilpatrick and made it across the Flint River before Kilpatrick, he was then in Kilpatrick’s front. Ross’s Brigade removed the planks on the bridge over the Flint River and formed a line of battle on the high ground on the east side of the river. Kilpatrick had his artillery open open up on the Confederates and then had his Cavalry dismount and cross the bridge on its stringers. They were able to force Ross’s Brigade, which was a smaller force, back towards and eventually through Jonesboro. Kilpatrick reached Jonesboro around 5:00pm on the 19th and began to destroy the tracks and was able to burn the Railroad Station and other structures. Heavy rain prevented the Federals from making fires to heat the railroad tracks for bending so they removed it from the railroad bed and tossed it to the side.
On the 20th, after learning that a Confederate force of unknown strength was approaching, Kilpatrick decided to abandon his efforts in Jonesboro and move towards Love Joy’s Station. As he approached Love Joy’s Station he did not know the strength of the Confederate forces there. They Rebels had hidden themselves in a railroad cut and waited. When the Federal Cavalry dismounted and approached the railroad, the Confederates waited until they were within about 50 yards before making themselves known and opening fire on the Federals. The Federals were quickly repulsed and soon they were attacked from the rear by Ross’s Texans. Kilpatrick had limited options. He quickly decided to fight his way out and formed his units into several tight and compact columns and made a counter attack on the Confederate forces to his rear. Minty’s Brigade lead Kilpatricks column and as they approached the Rebels across an open field, they drew their sabers and charged. They were able to cut their way through and Kilpatrick’s column was able to escape and make for the Federal lines east of Atlanta. They moved north east from Love Joy’s Station toward McDonough and from there they made for the South River, which they crossed and the went through Lithonia and form there to Decatur.
August 18th, 1864: Several days earlier, General Hood dispatched General Wheeler and his Confederate Cavalry to the north in an effort to disrupt Sherman’s supply lines coming from Chattanooga. Sherman, who has quickly become restless during the siege, has started planning the movement of his entire army to the the south of Atlanta to destroy the Confederate supply line coming up from Macon.
Sherman has also learned that Wheeler’s Cavalry has made it to Tennessee and is therefore to far to offer any support to Hood or oppose Kilpatrick and his Cavalry. Sherman decides to delay the movement of his army around Atlanta and instead he orders Kilpatrick to move on the railroad in Jonesboro with his three Brigades and two more attached to him from Garrard’s Cavalry.
On the night of the 18th, Kilpatrick and five Brigades of Federal Cavalry, begin their move towards Jonesboro. They leave from Sandtown and head towards Fairburn. They are opposed by only one Confederate Brigade. Ross’s Texas Brigade spends the night of the 18th harassing and slowing down the Federal Cavalry. These actions slow down the Federal Cavalry considerably and delay the raids time table.