On Nov. 15, 1864, after destroying Atlanta and cutting his communications with the North, Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman, USA, began his destructive Campaign for Savannah — the March to the Sea. He divided his army [Union] into two wings. The Left Wing (14th and 20th Corps), Maj. Gen. H.W. Slocum, USA, moved east from Atlanta in two columns which converged on Milledgeville, cross the Ogeechee River near Louisville, then march toward Savannah by two routes: the 14th Corps (Davis) on the old road near the Savannah River (Ga 24), the 20th Corps (Williams) via Springfield. Both corps approached Savannah via Monteith. Gen. Sherman accompanied the Left Wing as far as Sandersville.
The Right Wing (15th and 17th Corps), Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard, USA, marched south via Gordon and crossed the Oconee River at Ball`s Ferry. The 15th Corps (Osterhaus) marched on roads west of the Ogeechee River, its right through Statesboro. The 17th Corps, Maj. Gen. F.P. Blair, USA, accompanied by Gen. Sherman and his staff, crossed the Ogeechee River at Midville, marched SE on the present Ga. 17 and destroyed the Central Railroad from Midville to near Savannah. It crossed the present US 301 at this point (Coopersville) on Dec. 4th. That day, the 14th Corps (the extreme left) was march on the Old Savannah Road (Ga. 24), the 20th Corps was on the Middle Ground Road (7 miles N), and the 15th Corps (the extreme right) was on the Old Milledgeville Road, between Statesboro and the Ogeechee River.