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[691] Monticello to Clinton; whence he made a dash at Macon, driving in the enemy's cavalry; but was unable to carry the defenses, which were held by infantry and artillery. He burned a train of cars, and broke up the railroad; covering all the roads which diverged eastward from Macon, by the aid of Wolcott's brigade of infantry, which was sharply assailed from Macon, but worsted and beat off its assailants; while the right wing marched by to Gordon.

Howard now advanced1 to the Oconee at Ball's ferry, where a small force in his van crossed on a raft, but was driven back with loss. When his two corps had been brought up, and a detachment thrown across the swift current in boats, the enemy had decamped. Meantime, the Georgia Central railroad had been demolished, and the right wing pushed on, keeping to the right of that road, and encountering no serious resistance. Sherman was here with Blair; Howard with Osterhaus.

Slocum had moved out of Milledgeville simultaneously with Howard's advance from Gordon, and had concentrated at Sandersville,2 driving out a small party of Wheeler's cavalry. Thence, the left wing followed the Central railroad, breaking it up to the Ogeechee, which it crossed3 at Louisville; whence it kept north of that road, striking out for the Savannah river. The roads and bridges in our advance, bad at best, were of course made worse by the enemy; while the great swamps wherein this region abounds rendered the movement of our trains and guns a matter of difficulty, and taxed the best efforts of our engineers and axmen.

At Millen, on the Central railroad, halfway from Sandersville to Savannah, was a great prison-camp, where some thousands of our captured soldiers had long endured unspeakable privations. Sherman was intent on reaching and liberating them. To this end, he had sent Kilpatrick, with most of our cavalry, far to our left, so as to give the impression that he was making for Augusta rather than toward the coast, lest the prisoners should be removed from Millen. Kilpatrick had advanced from Milledgeville by Sparta and Gibson to Waynesboroa,4 skirmishing with Wheeler, who constantly menaced, but did not seriously attack him; and now Kilpatrick learned that the enemy had taken the alarm and removed the prisoners from Millen: so he judged it wiser to fall back on the left wing than to persist in a hazardous, unsupported advance, which had no longer a motive. In effecting this retreat, Kilpatrick and his staff, with the 8th Indiana and 9th Michigan, were, through a misapprehension of orders, cut off from the main body and very nearly surrounded by Wheeler; but they fought their way out and rejoined their comrades with little loss. Wheeler pressing on, Kilpatrick dismounted, selected a good position, threw up a breastwork, and received the enemy's charge; which, though desperately made, was repulsed at all points with little loss. He then moved on a few miles and camped, unpursued; being soon reenforced by Col. M. C. Hunter's brigade of Baird's division, which Jeff. C. Davis, hearing of his peril, had

1 Nov. 24-5.

2 Nov. 26.

3 Nov. 28-9.

4 Nov. 25-28.

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