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.
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.
The Left Wing of Sherman’s army moves from the Ogeechee River at Fenn’s Bridge to Louisville and Bartow. The Right Wing Occupies Riddleville and Wrightsville. Both of the wings are getting closer to each other and will eventually merge as they close on Savannah.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.