On Nov. 15, 1864, after destroying Atlanta, Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman, USA, began his March to the Sea. His army (650,000 infantry and 5,500 cavalry) moved in two widely separated wings. The Right Wing (15th and 17th Corps), Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard, USA, moved via Jackson toward Gordon (20 miles E), feinting on Macon. The left Wing (14th and 20th Corps), Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum, USA, moved via Decatur and Eatonton toward Milledgeville (34 miles NE), feinting on Augusta. The 3rd Cavalry Division, Brig. Gen. J. L. Kilpatrick, USA, covered the Right Wing.
On the 18th and 19th, the Right Wing crossed the Ocmulgee River at Planters' Factory (Seven Islands), 30 miles NW of Macon. On the 19th, Kilpatrick reached Clinton (12 miles NE) and turned toward Macon, the Right Wing continuing toward Gordon. The infantry had marched from Atlanta almost unopposed; but Kilpatrick had skirmished steadily with Wheeler's cavalry [CS], which was now contesting his advance toward Macon.
Next morning, he attacked the defenses of East Macon. Repulsed by Wheeler and the Georgia Militia, he retired to Griswoldville (9 miles E) where he found Walcutt's Brigade, 15th Corps [US], posted there to protect the passage of the wagon trains of the Right Wing. They destroyed several miles of track, and burned the pistol factory, a soap and candle factory and other facilities in Griswoldville, but no further attempt was made on Macon during the March to the Sea.