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In Their Own Words

August 05, 1864

Diary Entry on Some of Stoneman Raiders Returning

William King of Cobb County recorded in his diary his meetings with some of the soldiers returning from the Stoneman Raid.

Long trains of Wagons passing today and as usual well guarded with Cavalry, during the morning a portion of the Kentucky Reg’t of Cav’y with large strings of pack mules encamped on the premises, they informed me that they were on the Raid by Gen’l Stoneman, and had just returned, that they had reached within a few miles of Macon, and after much skirmishing, had a severe engagement with Wheeler’s Cavalry, near Clinton about 12 miles from Macon, that they were defeated and scattered, with a heavy loss in killed, wounded, prisoners. Among the prisoners lost was Gen. Stoneman himself, their loss not yet ascertained as their men are coming in all the while. About noon a large body of Cavalry, mostly dismounted men, came to encamp on the premises, they are of the 6th. Reg’t Ind’a Cavalry, and had been with Gen’l Stoneman on his Raid, and one of the escaped who are coming in the Col. & Lt. Col. (Butler & Biddle) were taken prisoners, & the command now under Maj’r Carter. Having so many soldiers encamped about me, it is quite a relief to know that we have nothing out of doors to lose, Hogs, poultry & gardens all gone– nothing to lose but 1 old Sow, 1 Hen with 6 chickens, & about 20 Pigeons, so far they have managed well to take care of themselves by taking to the Woods, whenever large Bodies of soldiers encamp here [torn] so soon as the encampments leave. This afternoon a Lut. who had been on Stoneman Raid & had just come in, informed me of their adventures & route, they went by the way of Covington & M to Macon, with about 2500 Cavalry, at Macon about 3 miles east of it, they were met by the militia & there had a hard fight & were repulsed; and hearing that Wheeler was nearby in pursuit of them, they retreated towards Clinton, a few miles beyond it they were overtaken by Wheeler’s forces, & had a hard fight & were defeated, Gen’l Stoneman surrendered with the larger portion of his force, a large body however made their escape & retreated by the way of Eatonton, Madison, Watkinsville within 4 miles of Athens & Hog Mountain, & passed the Chattahoochee about 2 miles above McAffer’s Bridge by a ford, to Roswell. A portion of Wheeler’s command in close pursuit of them all the way until they passed the Chatt’e River, now & then attacking their rear. I asked the Lut. if they did not travel faster ret’g than going, he said much, taking only 4 hours sleep out of the 24, and had no time to cook, but had to take cooked provisions wherever they could find any. All of them were much pleased with the county & people through which they passed; they found them pleasant & intelligent, and treated them with much kindness, at the same time told them that they were determined enemies.

Source: Diary of William King; Cobb County, Georgia, 1864