December 4, 1864: “Battle” of Waynesboro

Battle of Waynesboro



There was very little fighting on Sherman’s March to the Sea, other than low level skirmishing.  Even the battles fought would tend to be considered a skirmish at most if they had occurred in the Virginia theatre of operations.  So it was with the “battle” of Waynesboro, a fight that occurred on December 4, 1864.  Ninety-nine miles from Sherman’s goal of the port of Savannah, the skirmishes around Waynesboro between Sherman’s cavalry commanded by General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, appropriately nicknamed Killcavalry, and Confederate cavalry under General Joe Wheeler, typified the ability of the Confederates to annoy, but not really to impede, the Union march.  Sherman in his memoirs gives us the details:



From this point Blair’s corps, the Seventeenth, took up the work of destroying the railroad, the Fifteenth Corps following another road leading eastward, farther to the south of the railroad. While the left wing was marching toward Louisville, north of the railroad, General Kilpatrick had, with his cavalry division, moved rapidly toward Waynesboro’, on the branch railroad leading from Millen to Augusta. He found Wheeler’s division of rebel cavalry there, and had considerable skirmishing with it; but, learning that our prisoners had been removed two days before from Millen, he returned to Louisville on the 29th, where he found the left wing. Here he remained a couple of days to rest his horses, and, receiving orders from me to engage Wheeler and give him all the fighting he wanted, he procured from General Slocum the assistance of the infantry division of General Baird, and moved back for Waynesboro’ on the 2d of December, the remainder of the left wing continuing its march on toward Millers. Near Waynesboro’ Wheeler was again encountered, and driven through the town and beyond Brier Creek, toward Augusta, thus keeping up the delusion that the main army was moving toward Augusta. General Kilpatrick’s fighting and movements about Waynesboro’ and Brier Creek were spirited, and produced a good effect by relieving the infantry column and the wagon-trains of all molestation during their march on Millen. Having thus covered that flank, he turned south and followed the movement of the Fourteenth Corps to Buckhead Church, north of Millen and near it.

Published in: on December 4, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on December 4, 1864: “Battle” of Waynesboro  
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