Closing in on Atlanta in July, 1864, Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman found it "too strong to assault and too extensive to invest". To force its evacuation, he sent Maj. Gen. Geo. Stoneman's cavalry [US] to cut the Macon railway by which Atlanta's defenders were supplied. At the Battle of Sunshine Church (19 miles NE of Macon), Stoneman surrendered with 600 men to Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson, Jr., [CS], after covering the escape of Adams' and Capron's brigades. Both retreated via Athens, intending to resupply their commands here and to "destroy the armory and other government works".
At the bridge over Middle Oconee River (4 miles SW), they were stopped by Home Guard units with artillery. Unable to cross, they turned west: Capron on the Hog Mountain Road through Jug Tavern (Winder), and Adams on roads farther north by which he reached the Union lines near Marietta without further loss.
While resting his exhausted command briefly at King's Tanyard (NW of Winder), Capron was surprised before dawn on the 3rd by William's Kentucky brigade [CS]. About 430 men were captured, Capron himself and a few others escaping through the woods. The prisoners were brought to Athens by Col. W.C.P. Breckinridge, 9th Kentucky Cavalry, and held under guard on the college campus until they could be sent to the prison at Andersonville.