GA-091-6 The Defense of the Altamaha Bridge


On Dec 1, 1864, while General Sherman's army was on its destructive march to the Sea, the Fourth Brigade, Georgia Militia, Brig. Gen. H. K. McKay, reached Morgan's Lake (0.7 mile SE) to defend the Savannah and Gulf (ACL) RR bridge over the Altamaha River at Doctor Town (1.5 miles S). Earthworks were built on the north bank and two 32-pounder rifled guns were mounted at Doctor Town to sweep the bridge. A light gun mounted on an engine supported two companies of infantry at Morgan's Lake.

On the 16th Gen. Sherman sent Hazen's division, 13th Corps to destroy the railroad from Great Ogeechee River to McIntosh. and Mower's division, 17th Corps, to destroy it from that point to Doctor Town. By the 19th the work had been completed as far as Morgan's Lake when Mower, under previous orders, moved back to rejoin the forces closing in on Savannah, leaving the task of destroying the Altamaha bridge to Atkins' brigade of Kilpatrick's cavalry division which, with the 1st Alabama Cavalry, had been covering the infantry's working parties. Atkins succeeded in destroying the trestle work past Morgan's Lake but could neither capture the bridge nor cross the river and attack the Doctor Town battery from the rear. Unable to dislodge the Confederate defenders, Atkins finally withdrew, marched through Hinesville, and rejoined Kilpatrick at Great Ogeechee River.

Georgia Historical Commission, 1958

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