On Nov. 15, 1864, after destroying Atlanta and cutting his communications to t he North, Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman, USA, began his destructive campaign for Savannah - the March to the Sea. He divided his army (US) 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, crossed the Ogeechee River near Louisville, then marched on Savannah by two routes: the 14th Corps (Davis) on the old road along the Savannah, the 20th Corps (Williams) via Springfield. Both Corps approached Savannah via Monteith.
The Right Wing (15th and 17 Corps), Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard, USA, marched south via Jackson and Gordon and crossed the Oconee River at Ball's Ferry. The 17th Corps (Blair) then moved via Tennille and the railway, destroying it enroute. The 15th Corpse (Osterhaus) moved via several roads to Summerville (Summertown), from which place two divisions moved near the river on the old Savannah road and two via Statesboro.
On Dec. 4th, Hazen's and Smith's divisions, 15th Corps, camped at Statesboro, and Woods and Corse's near Mill Ray (9 miles NE). Next morning, both columns moved toward Jenk's Bridge (on US 80) from which point the final movements toward Savannah were begun.