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[302] passage, or powerful enough to administer even a moderate check, could be accumulated in their path. Roads were indeed blockaded, and bridges destroyed at important points, but these obstacles were quickly removed by pioneer corps, and crossings speedily reestablished through the intervention of convenient pontoon trains. Constant and heavy was the skirmishing maintained between the Confederate cavalry, commanded by Major-General Joseph Wheeler, and the Federal cavalry, led by Brigadier-General Judson Kilpatrick. Sometimes affairs of moment transpired which might be almost classed as hotly-contested battles. Among these will be specially remembered the encounters near Sandersville, at Waynesboroa, and near Buckhead Creek. ‘My force,’ says General Wheeler, ‘never exceeded 3,500 men, and was so distributed in front, rear, and on both flanks that I seldom had more than 2,000 under my immediate command, which 2,000 frequently charged and routed more than double their numbers. The enemy had been falsely informed by their officers that we took no prisoners, which caused them to fight with desperation and to run very dangerous gauntlets to escape capture, which frequently accounts for the large proportion of killed.’

And now, my comrades, much as I desire to do so, time will not permit me to enter upon a detailed account of the Federal demonstration against Macon; of the battle of Griswoldville, which, while it reflected great credit upon the gallantry of the Confederate and State forces engaged, in no wise crippled the movements of the enemy, and entailed upon us a loss which, under the circumstances, was unnecessary and utterly unproductive of any good; of the stubborn tenure of the Oconee bridge; of the resistance offered at Millen, at No. 42 on the Central railroad, and at Montieth, until these defensive lines were consecutively abandoned under heavy pressure by the overmastering United States columns; or of the rapid transfer of the Georgia State forces to Grahamville, in South Carolina, in the vicinity of which town, on the 30th of November, 1864, a noble battle was fought, which resulted in the effectual and bloody repulse of a Federal army, under General Hatch, seeking to sever the railway communication between the cities of Charleston and Savannah.

This victory at Honey Hill relieved the city of Savannah from an impending danger which, had it not been thus averted, would have necessitated its immediate evacuation under perilous conditions, maintained the only line of communication by which reinforcements were expected for the relief of the commercial metropolis of Georgia,

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Joseph Wheeler (2)
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