The Civil War in Georgia, An Illustrated Travelers Guide
This area saw a series of fights on Nov. 22-25, 1864 between the Blue and Gray over the crossing of the Oconee River, one of the natural obstacles to Sherman's "March to the Sea." C.S. Maj. Gen. Henry C. Wayne, with six guns and a mixed force of 1,200 men consisting of Georgia Military Institute cadets and paroled prison inmates, retreated from Gordon to Oconee, a railroad stop just east of the Oconee River railroad bridge, to prevent the Right Wing from crossing there. When he learned on Nov. 23 that the Right Wing was attempting to cross 10 miles south of his position at Ball's Ferry, he sent two companies to drive the Yankees back across the river. Meanwhile, the part of the Right Wing of Sherman's Army under Blair had marched down the railroad line from Gordon to Toomsboro, then marched east to the Oconee River to cross at Jackson's Ferry. There, they fought with Wayne's men at the railroad bridge and Jackson's Ferry, but decided it was impassible due to swamps, and his men moved farther south to meet the other half of the Right Wing under Osterhaus at Ball's Ferry. Here, Union troops on pontoons were decimated by Confederates on the eastern bank, slowing up the Right Wing. A series of flanking moves resulted in the withdrawal of Confederate troops eastward to Tennille.
A county park, with boat ramps and picnic tables, is found today at Ball's Ferry, located down a dirt road north of the Oconee River bridge crossing at GA 57. A stone monument to the historic ferry and battle are found by the road next to two historical markers.
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