Historic structures have a way of getting our attention. Even the most mundane building seems to take on extra meaning when we know the history it witnessed. And we feel loss, even pain, when such a place is destroyed.
It’s not every day that we get to rediscover such a place. Which is why I was delighted to visit Peeler’s Mill, now on a private estate in Flintstone Georgia, some 10 or 15 miles from it’s original location.
Why is Peeler’s Mill special? Because it witnessed the opening of the battle of Chickamauga on September 18, 1863. Union Cavalry under Robert H. G. Minty camped at the Mill – then located on Peavine Creek several miles west of Ringgold – before the battle, and before pulling back to Reed’s Bridge. The initial shots of the battle were fired on or near the grounds of this mill, as Minty’s cavalry skirmished with Tennessee Infantrymen from Bushrod Johnson’s Division.
The existing Mill has been refurbished, and is in fact much changed from how it appeared in 1863. For one thing, it was clad in riverstone sometime after the battle: it was a timber frame structure (and still is, on the inside) before that cladding.
It was moved in 1929, saved by the Patten Family of Chattanooga. Remarkably, it was moved in toto, with all operating parts: and could be restored to fully operational even today.
I only discovered that the mill survived last year, and have been trying to get permission to visit it since then. Theproperty owners and the estate manager have all been very gracious in allowing me access. Last Monday fellow ECW Member (and CCNMP park ranger) Lee White spent an hour or so admiring Peeler’s Mill. It was a rare treat.
Here is the interior of the Mill.