The Confederate 4th Bridge of the Georgia Militia under the command of Brigadier General H K McKay began setting up a defense of the Savannah and Gulf Railroad Bridge at the Altamaha River in early December 1864. On the south side of the river at Doctortown they mounted two 32 pounder guns, set to sweep the bridge.
Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s march to the sea was delayed just outside of Savannah, Georgia. He sent troops to tear up the railroad along the Ogeechee River to the Altamaha Bridge. On December 19th 1864 Union cavalry under command of Colonel Smith D Atkins attacked the bridge, doing some damage to the trestlework, but they were unable to capture the bridge or the Confederate’s 32 pounders.
The Union troops withdrew to the Ogeechee River. This withdrawal left open the Confederate supply line into Savannah.