On July 20, 1864, Union forces under Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman, USA, were closing in on Atlanta. Hq. 2nd Cavalry Division [US], Brig. Gen. Kenner Garrard, was in Decatur, 6 miles E of Atlanta. Garrard's three brigades were guarding bridges over the Chattahoochee River and picketing the left flank. That night, Garrard was ordered to assemble his command and march to Covington (18 miles S) to burn the bridges over the Yellow and Ulcofauhachee (Alcovy) rivers and destroy the Georgia Railroad in that area.
He marched late on the 21st. Next morning the destruction was begun. At Covington, he burned the depot, a newly built hospital center, 2,000 bales of cotton, and large quantities of quartermaster and commissary supplies. After destroying 2 railroad and 4 wagon bridges, 3 trains and 6 miles of track, he turned north toward Loganville, arriving here about noon on July 23rd.
After sending Minty's brigade to Lawrenceville (11 miles NW) on the same mission, Garrard stripped this vicinity of horses and mules, then marched back to Decatur, arriving on the 24th.
Garrards's raid cut off all communication between Atlanta and Augusta and destroyed any hope that the Army of Tennessee [CS] - the hard-pressed defenders of Atlanta — might receive supplies or reinforcements from the Eastern Confederacy.