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[289] flank, when the rebels came out of Macon and attacked Wolcott in position, but were handsomely repulsed, and driven back with a loss of six hundred men.1 Meanwhile Howard continued his movement along the Savannah railroad, tearing up the rails and destroying the iron. At the Oconee river a slight resistance was offered, but a pontoon bridge was quickly laid, and the right wing crossed.

On the 23rd, the next stage of the march was ordered. Howard was to move by roads south of the Savannah railroad, and the left wing to Sandersville, while the cavalry was directed to make a circuit to the north and march rapidly for Millen, a hundred miles away, and rescue the national prisoners confined there. The rebel cavalry, under Wheeler, had now moved around to Sherman's front, and Hardee was in command of about ten thousand irregular infantry, to oppose the national army. There was, however, nothing but skirmishing, except in Kilpatrick's front. A brigade of rebel horse was deployed in front of Sandersville, but was driven in by the skirmish line of the Twentieth corps. At this place the enemy themselves set fire to stacks of fodder standing in the fields, and Sherman at once made known to the citizens that any attempt to burn food or fodder on his route would ensure a complete devastation of the country. This had the desired effect, and the destruction of food along the road by rebels ceased, The two wings marched on, tearing up the railroads and feeding on the fatness of the land.

Meanwhile, Kilpatrick was moving rapidly towards

1 Report of G. W. Smith, the rebel commander.

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