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[27]

On the morning of the fifteenth, the corps reached Atlanta, and bivouacked in the suburbs of the city. The remainder of the day and night was spent in issuing clothing to the men, filling up empty wagons with provisions, equalizing and assigning trains to the different commands, with a view to rapid marching.

On the morning of the sixteenth, the head of the column marched on the road leading to Covington, through Decatur, and made an average march of fifteen (15) miles. On the seventeenth, moving in the same order of march, and destroying the railroad from Lithonia to Yellow River, the corps went into camp on the west bank of the river and vicinity, late in the evening.

During the night, Colonel Buell, commanding pontoon-train, laid two excellent bridges across the river, and early on the morning of the eighteenth the advance was resumed. Passing through Covington, the whole command went into camp during the afternoon, on the Uleofanhatchie River.

The bridges were repaired across the stream, and the march resumed at daylight on the morning of the nineteenth, in the direction of Eatonton, by the way of Shady Dale, in the vicinity of which place the whole command encamped for the night.

On the twentieth, the corps marched for and went into camp near Eatonton Factories. The advance of the Twentieth corps from Madisonville, on the main Milledgeville road, required a deflection to the right in the movement of my column, in order that the two corps should move on separate roads; and in compliance with orders from the General-in-Chief, whose headquarters moved with my column on this part of our campaign, I ordered the head of the column in the direction of Milledgeville, by the way of Farrar's Mill, on Murder Creek. Owing to the heavy rain which had fallen during the night, and was still pouring down upon us, the progress of our trains was exceedingly slow, and the night of the twenty-first was spent in mud and water, crossing Murder Creek.

On the twenty-second, the weather partially cleared off, and the corps marched and went into camp in the vicinity of Cedar Creek. On the twenty-third, the weather cleared off, and the roads having dried up so as to be quite passable for trains, the whole command marched, and went into camp in the vicinity of Milledgeville by the afternoon.

The Twentieth corps had already reached the city, the evening previous, from the direction of Madisonville.

On the twenty-fourth, Carlin's and Morgan's divisions, with their trains, crossed the river, and went into camp a few miles beyond the bridge, preparatory to the advance upon Sandersville. This place was reached on the twenty-sixth after two days good marching, the head of the column reaching the town about the same time as did the Twentieth corps.

A part of Wheeler's cavalry was handsomely driven from the town, by the advance skirmishers of the two corps.

November twenty-seventh, the corps trains, under escort of Carlin's division, moved by the way of Davisboro upon Louisville; while Baird's and Morgan's divisions, unembarrassed with trains, moved on the Finn's Bridge road; thus protecting our left flank from any demonstrations the enemy's cavalry might make from that direction upon our trains.

These two divisions, under command of Brigadier-General Baird, marching on a road between the Ogeechee River and Rocky Comfort Creek, reached Louisville early in the afternoon of the twenty-eighth, and immediately laid a pontoon-bridge across the creek, and commenced the passage of troops.

Owing to the movements of the Twentieth corps and trains, occupying the main road from Davisboro to Louisville, Carlin's division and my corps trains moving on that road were only able to reach the Ogeechee about three o'clock P. M.

Colonel Buell's pontooniers immediately commenced laying their bridges, and repairing the roads destroyed by the enemy, under the personal supervision of the General commanding the wing, and before night the troops and trains were passing both streams into their camps around Louisville. The road, running, as it does here, through an immense cypress swamp, required considerable labor to put and keep it in condition for the passage of trains, and it was not until noon the next day that the entire column succeeded in getting into its camps.

Early on the morning of the twenty-ninth, I received from a staff-officer a report from General Kilpatrick, commanding the cavalry, that he had succeeded in cutting the road at Waynesboro, and burned the railroad bridge across Briar Creek, and that on his return he had been for several days hard pressed by Wheeler. He also reported his command about ten (10) miles from Louisville, on the road leading direct to Buckhead Bridge. At his request, I immediately sent a brigade of infantry from Baird's division, commanded by Colonel Morton C. Hunter, to his support. He, however, experienced less difficulty than was apprehended; and joining my command during the day, went into camp on the east side of Bay Creek, supported by Colonel Hunter's brigade, until the general advance was resumed, December first.

November thirtieth, my troops occupied the same position, skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry, who made several pertinacious attempts to drive in our pickets; except General Carlin's division, which, in compliance with orders from wing headquarters, marched to Sebastopol, with a view to uncovering the crossing of the Ogeechee by other troops advancing in that direction.

December first, in the general advance of the army upon Millen, my general instructions required my column to cross Buckhead Creek, at some point between Waynesboro and Birdsville, for which place the Twentieth corps was moving.


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