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This Day in Georgia History

November 23, 1864

Sherman Entered Milledgeville

Sherman and the 14th Corps rode into Milledgeville. There, they joined the 20th Corps uniting the eastern wing. He learned that 12 miles to the south, the western wing had arrived at Gordon. In his memoirs, Sherman later wrote, “The first stage of the journey was, therefore, complete, and absolutely successful.” Sherman used the Governor’s Mansion as his quarters, while over in the state capitol, a number of Union officers held a mock convention in which Georgia’s ordinance of secession was repealed. The railroad depot and several factories and warehouses were burned, though the state capitol was spared. In Milledgeville, Sherman also issued orders for the next leg of the March to the Sea: the right wing (15th and 17th Corps) would follow by roads the path of the Savannah Railroad, while the left wing (14th and 20th Corps) would march to Sandersville, with the cavalry to proceed to the Confederate prison known as Camp Lawton just north of Millen to release Union prisoners confined there. Sherman didn’t know that Confederate authorities were anticipating this action and had abandoned Camp Lawton on November 17, moving Union prisoners to other locations.