On Nov. 15, 1864, after destroying Atlanta and cutting his communications with the 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, to feint at Augusta but to turn southeast and converge on Milledgeville. The 14th Corps, accompanied by General Sherman, moved via Covington and Shady Dale, the 20th Corps via Social Circle, Madison and Eatonton.
The Right Wing (15th and 17th Corps), Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard, USA, marched south via McDonough and Jackson, crossed Ocmulgee River at Seven Island (27 miles NW) and moved toward Gordon (15 miles SE) where it would be in communication with the Left Wing, at Milledgeville, to received orders for the next move.
The 15th Corps (Osterhaus), preceded by Kilpatrick's cavalry division, marched via Clinton (2 miles SW), from which place Kilpatrick feinted on Macon, skirmishing heavily with Wheeler's cavalry [CS] as far as East Macon. The 17th Corps (Blair) moved via Blountsville (8 miles NE) toward Gordon without incident.
On Nov. 22nd, Walcutt's brigade, 15th Corps, on the extreme right, was attacked near Griswoldville (10 miles S) by a division of Georgia Militia [CS] under Brig. Gen. P. J. Phillips. After three hours of battle, Phillips was forced to retire.