Battle of Brown's Mill


The Brown's Mill Battlefield Historic Civil War Site in Newnan, Ga., opens to the public in July 2013, nearly 149 years after the day of the significant battle. The 104-acre site is dedicated to the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died there on July 30, 1864, and to the Confederate and Union medical staffs who tended to the wounded after the battle. As a result of the battle, Major General William T. Sherman was forced to adopt new tactics for the Atlanta Campaign.

The action began on July 27, 1864, when Federal Brigadier General Edward M. McCook departed his lines to carry out a raid in tandem with Major General George Stoneman. Their mission was to wreck the remaining Confederate railroads supplying Atlanta while keeping the enemy off balance and creating havoc behind Confederate lines. If the raid was successful, Stoneman then planned to continue on to Andersonville to liberate the 30,000 Union prisoners held there.

McCook and his 2,400 troops crossed the Chattahoochee River at Smith's Ferry and cut the Atlanta and West Point Railroad at Palmetto, capturing and burning 1,000 wagons from a Confederate supply train at Fayetteville. They next traveled to the preset rendezvous point at Lovejoy on July 29, but Stoneman failed to appear, forcing McCook to retrace his steps toward the Chattahoochee River. By that time, McCook had Confederate cavalry pursuing him. Again at Lovejoy, McCook fought a sharp skirmish with the mounted forces of brigadier generals W.H. Jackson and Lawrence Ross that forced a retreat westward with Major General Joseph Wheeler and several hundred cavalry on his heels.

With the Confederates sniping at his rear guard, McCook's advance guard approached Newnan from the east, on what is now Broad Street, early on July 30, 1864, with his troops and horses in a state of exhaustion. They encountered a trainload of Confederate soldiers blocking the road on the outskirts of town. The troops, elements of Brigadier General P.D. Roddey's dismounted Alabama cavalry who had been traveling by train, were forced to stop in Newnan because the tracks were damaged to the north in Palmetto. The Alabamians were as surprised to see the Federal cavalry as the Federals were to see them. Fighting soon erupted, causing McCook to begin a desperate search for a way out of the situation in a route that would bypass Newnan to the south and avoid the clash.

While that was occurring, Wheeler's force rode into Newnan and swiftly divided with the intention of striking the Federal marauders simultaneously in their front and rear. Wheeler’s men came into contact with McCook’s about three miles southwest of Newnan at the intersection of today’s Millard Farmer and Corinth roads. The Federal cavalry was driven off the roadbed and into the woods south of Millard Farmer Road. As the fighting seesawed through the heavy woods thick with underbrush, McCook’s men were forced to dismount and fight on foot. McCook, believing they were surrounded, proclaimed, "Every man for himself." As the Federals suffered heavy casualties, the Confederates received approximately 1,400 reinforcements who repeatedly charged McCook's line, driving it back. By late afternoon, after having lost two of its brigade commanders, McCook's force split up and cut their way out, only to be captured piecemeal over the next few days while attempting to reach safety behind Union lines.

The Battle of Brown's Mill was a major blow to Sherman's plans to use cavalry as a means of gaining major objectives in the Atlanta Campaign. McCook lost about 100 killed and wounded and another 1,300 captured and sent to Confederate prisons, while the supplies continued to reach the Confederates in Atlanta by train. Wheeler suffered about half the casualties of McCook.


Edward Moody McCook

Edward Moody McCook (1833-1909). Edward was born in Steubenville, Ohio on June 15, 1833. Edward Went to Colorado at the age of 16 and he was one of the earliest settlers of Pike's Peak. Edward later became a Kansas Territory Legislator and a very successful lawyer.  At the outbreak of the Civil War he gave up his law practice and traveled to Washington where he was appointed a lieutenant in the regular army cavalry.In September of 1861 he was commissioned a major of the 2nd Indiana Cavalry. At Shiloh, Tennessee, on April 7, 1862, as a lieutenant colonel he commanded his regiment although they were not engaged in battle. By the end of the month he was a full colonel. In the Kentucky Campaign, McCook commanded a brigade and at Chickamauga, Georgia, he was a division commander of cavalry. During the Atlanta campaign he and his division were a part of the Stoneman-McCook Raid (Great Cavalry Raid). Although successful in cutting the Confederate supply lines, resulted in the capture of his 950 men. He was with General George Thomas as the Union troops pursued the Confederates into Tennessee and he was with General James Wilson during the Selma (Alabama) Raid in April 1865. Edward McCook received five brevets for gallant and meritorious service in the Civil War and achieved the rank of brigadier general in the volunteer army. He was mustered out in 1866 and served as minister to Hawaii until 1869 at which time be became the territorial governor of Colorado. In 1875 he made a series of investments which resulted in his emergence as the largest taxpayer in Colorado. He died September 9, 1909, in Chicago and was buried in Union Cemetery at Steubenville, Ohio.

Joseph Wheeler

Joseph Wheeler (1836-1906).Joseph Wheeler was born in Augusta, Georgia, on September 10, 1836, the youngest of four children. On July 1, 1854 at age 17, he was admitted to West Point, subsequently graduating in 1859.At age 26, he became one of the youngest Confederate Generals, and rapidly rose from Brigadier to Major General during 1863. In February of 1865 Wheeler was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General of The Army of Tennessee.He participated in more than 500 skirmishes and commanded in 127 battles. As sobering proof of his personal exposure to danger during this period, records show that 36 staff officers were wounded at his side, and 16 horses were shot from under him.He was characterized by General Robert E. Lee as one of the two outstanding cavalrymen in the War Between the States (General J.E.B. Stuart was the other).In the 1870's, Wheeler studied law, and after passing the Alabama Bar Exam, became an attorney for the Tuscumbia, Courtland, and Decatur Railroad (later Southern Railway). He was first elected to Congress in 1880. Following his initial two-year service, he was defeated. Running again at the next opportunity two years later, he would serve continuously until taking leave from Congress in 1898, at the beginning of the Spanish-American War. Wheeler was commissioned by President McKinley to serve as Major General of Volunteers in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. General Joseph Wheeler died in 1906 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Battle Plans/Maps:

Here are some of the battle plans I found. I wish i could have found more but I couldn't.Battle Plan:


How people felt about it:

Ladies were somewhat sad their husbands could have died and some actually died in the battle. Men were afraid because the had to go to battle. Wouldn't you be if you had to leave you family and start fighting? Children were sad because you lost your dad or uncle or another father-like hero. Now people we mostly sad and scared because of this battle. The civil war started from this battle (at least partial credit.)

Men died that day.

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