In July, 1864, Maj. Gen W.T. Sherman's army (US) closed in on Atlanta. Finding its fortifications "too strong to assault and too extensive to invest," he sought to force its fall by sending Maj. Gen. Geo. Stoneman, with three brigades (2112 men and 2 guns) of the Army of the Ohio cavalry, to cut the Central of Georgia R.R. by which the defenders (CS) were supplied. On the 27th, Stoneman sent Garrard to Flat Rock (12 miles SE) to protect his rear, then left Decatur, crossed the Ocmulgee (Yellow) River near Covington, and turned down the left bank towards Monticello and Macon.
Near Macon on the 30th, he detached part of the 14th Illinois Cavalry which wrecked railway facilities at Griswoldville, Gordon, McIntyre, and Toomsboro (east of Macon), and burned trains, trestles, and the long railway bridge over the Oconee River.
At Macon (95 miles SE), he was turned back by the Georgia Militia, strongly entrenched. Unable to advance, he shelled Macon briefly, then attempted to retreat. Early the next morning, Sunday the 31st, he was brought to bay at Sunshine Church (19 miles NE of Macon) by Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson, Jr., who, with only 1300 cavalry (CS), had marched to intercept him. Deluded into believing that he was surrounded, Stoneman covered the escape northward of Adams' and Capron's brigades, then he surrendered, with about 600 men and his artillery and train, to what Iverson had managed to convince him was a substantially superior force.