March of Destruction
Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman conducted a campaign from Atlanta to Savannah to inflict damage to the homefront and war-making industry across the State of Georgia. His orders were to "enforce devastation on anyone who resists." This march of destruction began in Atlanta on November 15, 1864 and ended in Savannah on December 21.
Trail of Tears for the Creek People
After decades of war with the US and many broken treaties, the Creek War of 1836 ended. Over 14,000 Creek men, women, and children made the agonizing three month journey to Oklahoma over 1,200 miles over land and water taking only what they could carry. Over 3,500 of them died along the way.
Contact and Conflict
As early as 1540, European explorers contacted the American Indians living in the Southeast. Spaniard Hernando DeSoto encountered the thriving towns and culture built by the ancestors of the Muscogee (Creek) people. His expedition's 600 men and 300 horses devastated local food supplies and epidemics of European diseases decimated many populations.
War Erupts in Indian Territory
British fur traders operated trading posts throughout the Southeast. The British also enslaved American Indians to work on Caribbean sugar plantations. The Yamassee War began in 1715 when the Creek, Yamassee, and other tribes protested and attacked hundreds of colonists. In retaliation, the British sent Col. James Moore and 300 Carolina men to stop the attacks.
Major General Howell Cobb
From Statesman to Soldier
Former Congressman and founder of the Confederacy, Cobb took command of Georgia State Troops in September 1863. During the siege of Atlanta in July 1864, Cobb's troops defended Macon against the Union attack of Stoneman's Raid. They were successful, and the Confederate Army remained in control of Macon until the final days of the Confederacy.
Major General Joseph Wheeler
Winning Against Great Odds
With 2,000 troops, Wheeler was sent to Macon to defend the critical supply lines against Union attack during Sherman's March to the Sea in November 1864. Holding the high ground during the Battle of Walnut Creek, Wheeler's troops defeated 6,000 Union troops, allowing the Confederacy to control Macon until the end of the war.
Brigadier General Charles C. Walcutt
The "March to the Sea" Begins
Union General W.T. Sherman intended to bring the Confederacy to its knees with his "March to the Sea," destroying military and civilian property between Atlanta and Savannah. In its first battle, Brigadier General Charles Walcutt led the right wing of the attack toward the town of Griswoldville on November 22, 1864, forcing Confederates to retreat by nightfall
Major General George Stoneman
Reversal of Fortune
In his raid to cut off the critical Confederate supply line in central Georgia, Union Maj. Gen. George Stoneman's troops wreaked havoc, destroying everything in their path on their way to Macon. On July 30, 1864, Stoneman ordered Macon to be destroyed, but this effort was unsuccessful and he retreated, only to be captured the following day.
Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick
A Devastating Diversion
On his "March to the Sea," General W.T. Sherman was ordered to enforce devastation on anyone that resists from Atlanta to Savannah. In November 1864, Kilpatrick was sent to Macon to trick citizens into thinking Sherman was on his way there instead. Kilpatrick struck the Georgia Central Railroad, destroying critical Confederate supply lines near Macon.
Did You Know?
This railroad tunnel was built shortly after the Civil War. It has been used for more than 135 years and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park road for Ocmulgee National Monument passes under this bridge into a wetlands area below the piedmont.