On Dec. 1, 1864, the Georgia Militia Fourth Brigade under Brig. Gen. H.K. McKay arrived in Wayne County to prepare a defense of the Savannah and Gulf Railroad bridge over the Altamaha River. The Rebels built earthworks on the north bank of Morgan's Lake, which is bisected by the railroad and located just north of the river. On the southern side of the river, two 32-pounder rifled guns were mounted at Doctortown (also spelled Doctor Town), to sweep the bridge if attacked. A light gun mounted on an engine supported two companies of Confederates at Morgan's Lake.
On Dec. 16, General William T. Sherman, stalled outside Savannah, sent Union troops to destroy the railroad from the Ogeechee River all the way to the bridge. A brigade of Gen. Judson Kilpatrick's cavalry under Col. Smith Atkins attacked the bridge and destroyed trestlework past Morgan's Lake, but was unable to capture the bridge or seize the Confederate battery at Doctortown on Dec. 19.
A historical marker (U.S. 301 on the north side of the river) stands near the location of the Confederate victory. Today, Doctortown is adjacent to the site of the world's largest pulp mill plant, owned by the Rayonier Company. Rayonier controls access to the Doctortown Park battle site west of the railroad trestle, and permission is required to visit the site.
Civil War Site