The Battle of Brown’s Mill

July 30th, 1864:  The Battle of Brown’s Mill

On the 29th, McCook’s Cavalry made it to Love Joy’s Station where they were supposed to meet General Stoneman and destroy as much of the railroad as possible.  When McCook arrived, Stoneman was not there, so McCook began to destroy the tracks.  Stoneman had been given permission by Sherman to head south towards Macon and Andersonville after destroying the tracks, in an effort to free the Union Prisoners.  Stoneman, who was looking to pull off some heroic venture to improve his reputation, decided that McCook could handle the detail at Love Joy’s Station and went straight for Macon.

McCook ended up fighting a fairly heated skirmish at Love Joy’s Station and the began to retreat back towards the west in an attempt to cross the Chattahoochee and return to the safety of the Federal lines.  General Wheeler and his Confederate Cavalry were hot on his trail and were engaged in a running skirmish with McCook’s rear guard.

On the morning of the 30th, the front of McCook’s column came into Newnan along what is now E. Broad St. near the train depot.  Their path was blocked by a train load of Confederate soldiers that were waiting for the tracks in Palmetto to be repaired.  The same tracks that McCook had destroyed a couple of days before.  Both sides were surprised by the appearance of the other and a small firefight ensued.  Being blocked in the front by the train and having Wheeler coming up on his rear, McCook began moving south of town looking for a clear path to the river where he could avoid a fight.  Wheeler’s forces entered town and split up in an effort to hit McCook from the front and rear.

The two forces finally met about three miles south of Newnan near Brown’s Mill along the Millard Farm Road and what is now Old Corinth Road.  McCook’s troopers were driven from the road and into the woods where they dismounted and fought on foot.  There was a fair amount of back and forth with Wheeler’s troopers pushing the Federal back and then McCook’s troopers counter attacking and pushing the Confederates back.  At one point the 8th Iowa even captured the lead elements of Ross’s Texans(CS) as they had just dismounted to assault the Federal line.  The 3rd Texas was able to cut their way through the 8th Iowa and rescue General Ross and the others that had been captured.  The fighting was intense and Wheeler soon received about 1400 reinforcements that had marched out of Newnan.  McCook, thinking he was surrounded, shouted “Every man for himself!”  McCook suffered heavy casualties and lost several officers and Brigade Commanders.  He decided to split his forces and they cut their way out of Wheelers trap and made off for the river in different directions.  A large number of his troopers were captured over the next few days as the Confederate Cavalry continued their pursuit.  McCook, lost about 100 troopers to the fight and another 1300 were captured and sent to prison camps.  Wheeler lost about 50 troopers.

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The Newnan Depot was built in 1850 and was recently renovated into a special events facility after spend many years as an abandoned decaying structure.  Confederate soldiers bound for Atlanta as replacements, were stranded here in Newnan while waiting for the railroad tracks in Palmetto to be repaired.  When McCook’s troopers rode into town they rode straight into these stranded soldiers and small firefight ensued.
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General McCook(US) skirted his column of cavalry around to the south of Newnan in an attempt to make a crossing at the Chattahoochee River, but General Wheeler(CS) was closing in quickly.  Here, at Brown’s Mill Battle Field Historic Site, a park with historical markers and walking path has been created to preserve the remains of the battlefield.  In this image the Confederates under Wheeler’s command would have attacked from the north (right of frame) toward the south (left of frame).  The Federal line was along the right side of the image just out of frame.  When Wheeler attacked they pushed the Federals back to the left of the image.
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Looking east across a portion of the battlefield.  The Confederates pushed McCook back from the through this area.  This area is preserved as part of the park.  After Wheeler received reinforcements of Infantry from the stranded soldiers at the train depot, he was able to surround McCook on three sides.
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A small branch of Sandy Creek winds through the battlefield.  Brown’s Mill was located on a larger portion of the creek south of this point.  For the most part the terrain was mixed with open areas and heavily wooded areas.  The 4th Indiana was positioned here moving up to the right towards Millard Farm Road to hold the Federal Left Flank.
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Buena Vista, Newnan Ga.  After the Battle of Brown’s Mill, General Wheeler retired to this home for the evening and established his Headquarters here while he directed the continued pursuit of the fleeing Federals.
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75 College St. Know as College Temple, was originally part of school that was started in 1853.  The school was comprised of seven buildings and as the raged on, it was pressed into service as a hospital for thousand of soldiers both Union and Confederate, that found their way to Newnan.

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73 College St. Know as College Temple, was originally part of school that was started in 1853.  The school was comprised of seven buildings and as the raged on, it was pressed into service as a hospital for thousand of soldiers both Union and Confederate, that found their way to Newnan.

 

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Author: Clint Brownlee

My name is Clint Brownlee and I am a Photographer in Woodstock, Georgia with over 20 years of photographic experience in many different aspects of photography. I have photographed everything from weddings, special events and portraits to published materials, but my passion has always been Fine Art and Nature Photography. I have had a several shows at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia and The Roswell Visual Arts Center in Roswell, Georgia. I now sell through my website: www.clintbrownleephotography.com

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