"The March to the Sea makes a stop at McDonough, GA."
The Right Wing of Sherman's army reached McDonough on the evening of November 16, 1864.
They camped just north of town on Walnut Creek and just SW of town was Gen. Kilpatricks men
again. After they rested for several hours they converged on the town of McDonough. They kept
to a letter from Dr. Tye not to burn the town. But they did do massive damage by looting the town.
They tore up the insides of churches and the school houses and used them for slaughter pens for
meat. The beautiful Baptist Church was just a few years old and they carved up animals in the pulpit
leaving blood and the waste in the building. They even went into the cemetery and destroyed the
grave markers. The soldiers according to witnesses seemed to be filled with a hate and rage. There
was no excuse for this behavior.
As they moved out of the town proper, Gen. Osterhaus' 15th Corps and Gen. Kilpatricks Cavalry
took the Macon Road going directly south. One eyewitness said that this army was a mass of
mongrels sprinkled with Yankees.
The 17th Corps under Gen. Blair went east with the main body on the Keys Ferry Rd.
One large body of this Corps went down the Butler's Bridge and Peachstone Shoals Rd
while covering a wide distance on either side of the road. It has always been a mystery why these
men took this route. This body of soldiers destroyed Old Timberridge Church. They also
destroyed the Little Sharon Church. These churches were dismantled for firewood because it was
raining and turned cold as they camped at these sites. They also burned Hendrix's Mill and all the
corn and grist mills on their line of march. These men rejoined the main body of Blair's Corps near
where Sharon Church is in Ola today. This ended the major engagements in Henry County but the
ugliness of Reconstruction was to come.
As the war drew to an end, Union soldiers on horseback returned to Henry County in 1865 in
pursuit of Jefferson Davis whom had fled Richmond, Va. They stopped at several homes in the area
in search of the Confederate President. McDonough and it's environs had once again had to face
the wrath of the menace from the north.
1. O.R., Washington DC.
2. Archives, Morrow, GA.
3. Mother of Counties , 1971, Mrs. Rainer.
4. March to the Sea, WT Sherman.