Battle of Brown's Mill

by: Abdulrahman Tabbaa

On May of 1864, three Union armies with a total amount of 4,000 men were commanded by General Sherman to destroy the cities around Atlanta. However, the Army of Georgia, lead by Hood, was receiving food and armaments by three railroads. As a result, Sherman's cavalry destroyed two railroads between July 17 and July 24. The last railroad was located 30 miles south of Atlanta. Therefore, Sherman commanded McCook to travel west around Atlanta to reach the railroad while Stoneman was to go east.     

On July 27, 1864 Stoneman's army joined with Garrad's troops at Decatur before continuing the journey on Covington Road. To the west, McCook and his troops crossed the Chattahoochee River, and they crossed the Campbellton River one day later. After crossing both rivers, the army burned a depot, tore the railroad, and captured 1,100 Confederate supply wagons. Unfortunately, Stoneman's troops were not at the railroad when McCook arrived. Furthermore, McCook's scouts reported that a Confederate cavalry, lead by Joe Wheeler, was heading towards them. To avoid Wheeler's cavalry, McCook decided to head back to Newnan on the Panhandle Road which curved around Fayetteville and Palmetto,the cities McCook damaged. However on July 29, Confederate General Jackson reached the intersection between McDonough and Panhandle Road just as McCook's last cavalry arrived. After seeing the Rebels, a Confederate cavalry charged McCook's last cavalry. Through three long hours of raging war, the Confederates came on top. With this victory, Jackson continued the pursue on McCook and eventually met up with Wheeler. Upon reaching Fayetteville, Jackson continued straight so that he and his men could reach the Chattahoochee River. On the other hand, Wheeler turned southwest. His army was able to catch up to McCook's last cavalry at Whitewater Bridge on July 30, 3:00 a.m. Wheeler continuously savaged the rear guards until they arrived at Shake Rag an hour and a half later. At Shake Rag, the guards died. Therefore, Wheeler and his troops could continue hunting down McCook. After McCook reached Newnan, Wheeler arrived four hours later.

After arriving to Newnan, Wheeler commanded Colonel Ashby to divide up 200 Tennesseans and intercept the head of the Yankee column at LaGrange Road. South of Newnan, McCook's column was fording Sandy Creek. As the advance guard ventured onto LaGrange Road, Ashby and his troops opened fire from the surrounding thickets. When the Yankees bolted to retreat, Joe Wheeler and his army charged through on foot. After retreating from the short clash, Wheeler and his troops immediately regathered to attack a second time. However, the Yankees had received reinforcements. Luckily, the Confederates were able to surround the reinforcements. Unfortunately, the reinforcements found their way out. As the fighting continued, McCook suffered from injuries, and most of his troops rallied south of the present-day Millard Farmer Road. On the contrast, Wheeler and his 400 troop reinforcements surrounded the Rebels from three sides. When the Rebels were able to narrowly escape from the remaining side, their rearmost regiment was ordered to halt and cover the retreat. The regiment was then captured by Wheeler. The next day between 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m., Wheeler's 5th Tennessee, 3rd Arkansas Cavalry, and 5th Georgia Cavalry captured most of McCook's  remaining fleeing army. The survivors were led by McCook through eastern Alabama and western Georgia to Marietta on August 3.

With Wheeler's troops suffering less casualties and preventing McCook to fulfill the plan, Wheeler and his column ultimately won the war. However, Sherman came back later and forced the city to surrender on September 2.


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