Battle of Brown's Mill
July 30, 1864
Before the Battle
During the Atlanta Campaign, General William T. Sherman ordered a federal cavalry raid south of Atlanta to try and cut off supply and communication lines. Major General George Stoneman led his cavalry to the southeast, while General Edward M. McCook's First Division of the cavalry was sent to cut off railroad lines southwest of the city. He was to then meet with Stoneman and then capture the Andersonville prison camp and free the 32,000 prisoners.
After crossing the Chattahoochee River, McCook’s cavalry reached Palmetto, where they cut the railroad line. They burned over 1,000 Confederate supply wagons at Fayetteville on July 28, 1864. General McCook encouraged his troops to destroy as much civilian property as possible. Early the next morning, his army reached Lovejoy's Station and began to cut another railroad line. McCook called off the raid and turned back across the river when Stoneman failed to appear as planned.
As they tried to return to the main army, McCook was attacked near Brown's Mill by Confederate cavalry under Joseph Wheeler. McCook wanted to surrender, but instead let his officers lead their battalions out separately. McCook lost 1,285 men, 1,200 horses, several ambulances, and two pieces of artillery. Wheeler also freed some Confederate prisoners that McCook had captured. Wheeler lost only 50 men during the battle.
Stoneman’s forces also met with disaster. General Stoneman was captured, becoming the highest ranking Union officer to be a prisoner of war during the Civil War. Many of his enlisted men were already wounded from their previous raids and were unable to offer much resistance to Stoneman's forces. Brown's Mill battle changed the course of the Atlanta Campaign. This battle forced Sherman to abandon his efforts and to begin the long seize of Atlanta.
Significance of the Battle
This battle led to the capture of the city of Atlanta. It was a huge win for the Confederate army and weakened General Stoneman and McCook's cavalries.
Lanham, Edward. "Battle of Brown's Mill." The Story. Not Available, 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2014. <http://www.battleofbrownsmill.org/>.