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. George Stoneman, with three cavalry brigades (2112 men and 2 guns) to cut the Central of Georgia R.R. by which the city's defenders [CS] were supplied. On the 27th, Stoneman left Decatur, crossed the Ocmulgee (Yellow) River near Covington (53 miles NW), and turned down the left bank toward Macon.
At Clinton, early on the 30th, he detached parties of the 14th Illinois Cavalry which wrecked the railway facilities at Gordon, McIntyre and Toomsboro (all SE of Clinton) and at Griswoldville (11 miles S). They burned four trains, many loaded cars standing on sidings, large stocks of supplies, several trestles and the long railway bridge over the Oconee River east of Toomsboro.
At Macon (12 miles SW), he was turned back by Georgia Militia, strongly intrenched. Unable to advance, he shelled Macon briefly, then attempted to retreat. Early next morning, Sunday the 31st, he was brought to bay at Sunshine Church (7 miles N) by Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson, Jr., CSA (born here in Clinton of distinguished parentage) who, with 1300 cavalry [CS] had marched to intercept him. Deceived by Iverson into believing that he was bring surrounded, Stoneman covered the escape of two of his brigades, then surrendered with about 600 men to what Iverson had contrived to convince him was a substantially superior force.