Historic Markers Across Georgia

The Defense of the Oconee Bridge

Marker ID: GHM 150-18
Location: Ga 272 in Oconee
County: Washington
Coordinates: N 32° 51.352    W 082° 57.068
  32.85586    -82.95114
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM6EVH
The Defense of the Oconee Bridge Marker
Photo by Ken Moser


On Nov. 19, 1854, Maj. A. L. Hartridge, CSA. arrived from Savannah with 186 men and 2 guns [CSA] to defend the railroad bridge against raiding parties from Gen. Sherman´s army [USA], then on its destructive March to the Sea. Next day, he was joined by Maj. Gen. H. C. Wayne. Adj. Gen. of Georgia, with the Corps of Cadets, G M. I., a detachment of Factory Penitentiary Guards (paroled convicts) and three small military units (infantry, cavalry and artillery) all under Maj. F. W. Capers, Supt., Georgia Military Institute Total 450 men and 4 guns. Increments from Wheeler´s cavalry increased Wayne´s force to about 1200 men and 6 guns.

On the 23rd, Wayne learned that Union cavalry had reached Ball´s Ferry (8 miles S) and that Gen. Sherman had occupied Milledgeville. To protect his flanks, he burned the bridges over Buffalo Creek, above Oconee, and sent Hartridge with 2 companies of cavalry, 80 infantry and 2 guns to Ball´s Ferry.

On the 25th, Sherman´s Left Wing had crossed the Oconee at Milledgeville and his right was forcing a passage at Ball´s Ferry. Although he had held the bridge for three days against frontal assault, Wayne´s flanks were now threatened: so he recalled the force at Ball´s ferry and, cavalry on the 26th, evacuated Oconee (No. 14, CRR) and withdraw to Tennille ( No. 13, CRR).

GHM 150-18 Georgia Historical Commission 1958