THE STONEMAN RAID
Closing in on Atlanta in July, 1864, Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman found it Òtoo strong to assault and too extensive to invest.Ó To force its evacuation, he sent Maj. Gen. Geo. Stoneman's cavalry [US] to cut the railway to Macon by which its defenders [CS] were supplied. Repulsed at Macon, Stoneman's retreat was stopped at Sunshine Church (19 miles NE of Macon) on the 31st by Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson, Jr., with a smaller force [CS]. Deluded as to Iverson's actual strength, Stoneman covered the escape of Adams' and Capron's brigades, then surrendered the rest of his command.
Both brigades marched toward Eatonton (42 miles S). Separating, they rejoined next day north of Madison (20 miles S). Adams having marched via Eatonton and Madison (where he destroyed valuable property and supplies) and Capron via Rutledge (9 miles W of Madison). Late on August 1st, they camped Òtwelve miles from the bridge crossing the Oconee river, near Athens.Ó
Next morning they entered Watkinsville. Hoping to resupply his command at Athens, and to Òdestroy the armory and other government worksÓ there, Adams advanced to the river bridge (4 miles N). Unable to cross in the face of artillery fire, he turned up the west bank toward Jefferson (26 miles NW). Capron, who had waited near Watkinsville, attempted to follow but took the road to Jug Tavern (Winder) instead. Adams reached the Union lines with few losses; but Capron, resting for two hours NW of Winder, was surprised before dawn on August 3rd and lost his entire command.
Georgia Historical Commission, 1967