December 12th, 1864

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.

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Looking west across the Ogeechee River from Fort McAllister.  Sherman need to capture this fort in order to open the river for the Union Navy to bring in supplies.  Kilpatrick’s Cavalry found a route to the fort by land, which they reported to General Sherman.  Kilpatrick then moved southwest to Midway.
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Midway Church, constructed in 1792 as a replacement for a previous meeting house that was burned in 1779.  Kilpatrick’s Cavalry camped here at the church and Kilpatrick used it as a headquarters while he operated in the area.
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Across the road on the far side of the church is a walled cemetery where many notable people from Georgia’s history are buried.  After raiding and looting the surrounding plantations, the Federal Cavalry soldiers used the cemetery as a coral for the livestock they liberated from near by citizens. 
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The Battle of Waynesboro

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.

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The court house in downtown Waynesboro.

December 3rd, 1864

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.

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Cavalry units of both sides fought for control of this creek and the bridge that crossed it.  The Confederates were not able to stop the Federal advance and soon retreated.  They burned the original bridge to slow the Federal advance.
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Buckhead Creek
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Buckhead Church.  The congregation was formed in 1774, this structure was built in 1855.  Federal troops camped at this site.
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After Confederate Cavalry destroyed the original bridge at Buckhead Creek, the Federals used pews and other materials from the church to construct a new bridge across the Buckhead Creek.

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.

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 15th, 1864

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.

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The railroad at Rough and Ready.  The Right Wing of Sherman’s Army moved south along the railroad towards Jonesboro.
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After giving the order to put the torch to Atlanta, the Left Wing of Sherman’s Army moves towards Decatur.

November 13th, 1864

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.

 

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Much of Acworth was destroyed by the time Sherman made his way through and as the last trains passed through the tracks were rendered useless.
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The Marietta Square saw a great deal of action during the civil war.  As Sherman’s troops were preparing to leave, some of them began burning the town.  Only a few period buildings remain.
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Marietta has grown into a large suburb of Atlanta and is known for hosting special events on the town square.
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Suburbanites not soldiers now fill the streets as they shop at the Saturday morning Farmers Market.
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The Marietta Museum of History in the historic Kennesaw House, is one of the few surviving period structures in the downtown business district.  At one time it functioned as a hotel and several of Andrew’s Raiders stayed here before stealing a train.  During the later part of the war, it functioned as a hospital for soldiers of both sides.