Diary of Orrin Brown, East of Milledgeville, Georgia
We find a heavy frost this morning but the sky is clear. We left camp at 10 AM and marched through the city in good order, went into camp 5 or 6 miles East of Millageville, there was one man died out of our Company today. The weather is getting warmer again.
A toll bridge spanned the Oconee River, about 350 yards wide, at Milledgeville. After the last Union forces crossed the bridge, it was put to the torch. James Bonner wrote in The Journal of Southern History (“Sherman at Milledgeville in 1864, 22:3 1956):
It is difficult to justify the destruction of the bridge in view of Sherman’s leniency toward other Milledgeville property, for there was no effective force of Confederates not he west side of the river which might make use of the bridge to pursue the Federal army. Yet, when the last of the invading units had crossed the bridge, on November 25, the structure was promptly destroyed. In an effort to save the bridge, its operator, James Simpson, tried to assure the division inspector of the Fourteenth Corps [Maj. James A. Connolly] that he had “allers bin for the Union” and still was, and that he was also a Mason. Apparently, however, the made a serious error of judgment when he told the officer that he was born in Milledgeville and had never lived more than five miles from the bridge in all the forty years of his life.