On Nov. 24, 1864, the 1st Alabama Cavalry [Union] reached Ball's Ferry (1/4 mile N) to secure it for the passage of the Left Wing (15th and 17th Corps) of Gen. Sherman's army [Union], which had left Atlanta on Nov. 15th on its destructive March to the Sea. Finding the boat on the east bank, guarded by Confederate pickets, the cavalrymen moved upstream, crossed on rafts, and dislodged the pickets, but developed a larger force [Confederate] approaching the ferry and were forced to recross the river under fire.
On the 25th, the head of the 15th Corps (Osterhaus), which had marched via Irwinton and Myrtle Spring Church, and that of the 17th Corps (Blair), which had followed the railroad from Gordon to Toomsboro, destroying it enroute, arrived. They found the defenders well entrenched on the east bank, with skirmishers up and down the stream. Osterhaus' infantry and the 12th Wisconsin Battery engaged them in front while Blair's infantry crossed upstream and worked through the swamps to their rear. Their position turned, the defenders [Confederate] withdrew without serious loss.
Pontoon bridges were laid by the 1st Michigan Engineers and, by noon on the 26th, the troops were crossing. The 15th Corps moved to Irwin's Crossroads (9 miles NE), the 17th Corps to the forks of the Oconee-Irwins roads (4 miles NE). By noon
on the 27th, the last of the trains had crossed and the bridges were being taken up and loaded in their wagons.