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[301] might well have been characterized, in advance, as a holiday excursion on a gigantic military scale, and not as a martial enterprise involving exposures, dangers, and uncertainties.

Having completed his preliminary arrangements, General Sherman, on the morning of the 15th of November, 1864, put his right wing, accompanied by Kilpatrick's cavalry, in motion in the direction of Jonesboro and McDonough, with orders to make a strong feint on Macon, cross the Ocmulgee about Planter's Mills, and rendezvous in the neighborhood of Gordon in seven days, exclusive of the day of march. The same day General Slocum moved with the Twentieth Corps by Decatur and Stone Mountain, with instructions to tear up the railroad from Social Circle to Madison, burn the railroad bridge across the Oconee east of Madison, and, turning south, reach Milledgeville on the seventh day, exclusive of the day of march. General Sherman left Atlanta on the 16th in company with the Fourteenth Corps, brevet Major-General Jeff. C. Davis commanding, and moving by way of Lithonia, Covington, and Shady Dale, advanced directly on Milledgeville.

By the 23d General Slocum was occupying Milledgeville and the bridge across the Oconee, and Generals Howard and Kilpatrick had massed their troops in and around Gordon.

Promptly advised by Major-General Wheeler of the Federal movement, General Beauregard, then in command of the military division of the West, ordered a concentration of all available forces, with a view to an interruption of General Sherman's march. He also suggested to General Hood the necessity for immediate and continued offensive operations in the hope of distracting the enemy's advance. ‘Adopt the Fabian system.’ Thus did he telegraph to the Confederate General officers commanding in Georgia. ‘Do not run the risk of losing your active forces and guns, available for the field, to hold any one place or position, but harrass at all points.’

The General Assembly being in session at Milledgeville, then the capital of the State, in acknowledgment of the imminent danger, and in earnest effort to compass the protection of the Commonwealth, on the 18th of November, 1864, passed an act authorizing a levy, en masse, of the population of Georgia for the preservation of her liberty and independence.

So rapid, however, was the progress of the Federal columns, so strong were they, and so wide a front, completely enveloped by Kilpatrick's cavalry, did they present in their sweeping march toward the coast, that no Confederate forces sufficient to dispute their

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