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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

November 22, 1864

Battle of Griswoldville

Ten miles northeast of Macon, the Battle of Griswoldville - the first and only major battle during the March to the Sea - was fought. After burning much of Griswoldville the previous day, Union forces fortified themselves nearby on a farm and waited for an expected Confederate attack. As it turned out, a division of the Georgia Militia (a force of about 3,000 irregulars - mainly young boys and old men) had been ordered to Augusta, which Confederates believed was Sherman’s real target. Apparently by accident, this Georgia Militia encountered the waiting Union. Though instructed to avoid a direct battle, the militia leader decided otherwise. Though the Union force was outnumbered, the battle was no even match. They were veterans, entrenched, and had repeating rifles. Through three infantry advances, the inexperienced Confederate militia wilted in the face of heavy Union fire. Finally, what was left of the militia retreated back to Macon. Afterwards, a Union officer present described the scene:

“Old, gray-haired men and weakly looking men and little boys not over 15 years old lay dead or writhing in pain. I did pity those boys.”

Image of Battle of Griswoldville Battle of Griswoldville Historical Marker
Steve Longcrier
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