The whole force was moved rapidly and grouped about Atlanta on the 14th of November. In the meantime Captain O. M. Poe had thoroughly destroyed Atlanta, save its mere dwelling-houses and churches, and the Right Wing, with General Kilpatrick's cavalry, was put in motion in the direction of Jonesborough and McDonough, with orders to make a strong feint on Macon, to cross the Ocmulgee about Planters' Mills, and rendezvous in the neighborhood of Gordon in seven days, exclusive of the day of march. On the same day General Slocum moved with the Twentieth Corps by Decatur and Stone Mountain, with orders to tear up the railroad from Social Circle to Madison, to burn the large and important railroad bridge across the Oconee, east of Madison, and turn south and reach Milledgeville on the seventh day, exclusive of the day of march. In person I left Atlanta on the 16th, in company with the Fourteenth Corps (Bvt. Major General Jeff. C. Davis), by Lithonia, Covington, and Shady Dale, directly on Milledgeville. All the troops were provided with good wagon trains, loaded with ammunition and supplies, approximating twenty days' bread, forty days' sugar and coffee, a double allowance of salt for forty days, and beef-cattle equal to forty days' supplies. The wagons were also supplied with about three days' forage, in grain. All were instructed, by a judicious system of foraging, to maintain this order of things as long as possible, living chiefly, if not solely, upon the country, which I knew to abound in corn, sweet potatoes, and meats.
My first object was, of course, to place my army in the very heart of Georgia, interposing between Macon and Augusta, and obliging the enemy to divide his forces to defend not only those points, but Millen, Savannah, and Charleston. All my calculations were fully realized. During the 22nd [20th] General Kilpatrick made a good feint on Macon, driving the enemy within his intrenchments, and then drew back to Griswoldville, where Walcutt's brigade of infantry joined him to cover that flank, whilst Howard's trains were closing up, and his men scattered, breaking up railroads. The enemy came out of Macon [22d] and attacked Walcutt in position, but was so roughly handled that he never repeated the experiment. On the eighth day after leaving Atlanta (namely, on the 23rd [22d]) General Slocum occupied Milledgeville and the important bridge across the Oconee there, and Generals Howard and Kilpatrick were in and about Gordon.
General Howard was then ordered to move eastward, destroying the railroad thoroughly in his progress as far as Tennille Station, opposite Sandersville, and General Slocum to move to Sandersville by two roads. General Kilpatrick was ordered to Milledgeville, and thence move rapidly eastward, to break the railroad which leads from Millen to Augusta, then to turn upon Millen and rescue our prisoners of war supposed to be confined at that place. I accompanied the Twentieth Corps from Milledgeville to Sandersville, approaching which place, on the 25th, we found the bridges across Buffalo Creek burned, which delayed us three hours. The next day we entered Sandersville, skirmishing with Wheeler's cavalry, which offered little opposition to the advance of the Twentieth and Fourteenth Corps, entering the place almost at the same moment.
General Slocum was then ordered to tear up and destroy the Georgia Central Railroad, from Station 13 (Tennille) to Station 10, near the crossing of Ogeechee-one of his corps substantially following the railroad, the other by way of Louisville, in support of Kilpatrick's cavalry. In person I shifted to the Right Wing, and accompanied the Seventeenth Corps (General Blair) on the south of the railroad, till abreast of