On the night of Nov. 19, 1864, Kilpatrick's cavalry division [US], which was covering the advance of the Right Wing (15th and 17th Corps) of General Sherman's army on its destructive March to the Sea, camped at Clinton. At noon on the 20th, the infantry having begun to arrive, Kilpatrick moved toward Macon, drove elements of Wheeler's cavalry [CS] across Walnut Creek (8 miles SW), and attacked the defenses of East Macon. Although the infantry had marched from Atlanta almost unopposed, Kilpatrick had skirmished steadily with Wheeler, who now contested his advance on Macon. Repulsed at East Macon by Wheeler, and by units of Georgia Militia which garrisoned its works, Kilpatrick fell back toward Clinton and camped south and west of the main body. That night, Hq. Right Wing and Hq. 15th Corps were established here in Clinton, Hq. 7th Corps near Blountsville (10 miles NE).
On the 21st, Woods' and Hazen's divisions, 15th Corps, moved south on the old Irwinton road; Smith's moved southeast toward Gordon. Since parties of Wheeler's command, avoiding Kilpatrick, were harassing the Union right, inflicting casualties and taking prisoners, Jones' brigade of Hazen's division remained here to protect this flank until relieved by Corse's division which, heavily encumbered with wagon trains, a cattle herd and pontoons, did not reach Clinton until late the next day.