This past weekend (June 3-5) I was privileged to participate in activities connected with the 152nd Anniversary of the battle of Pickett’s Mill. I cover the engagement in our new volume in the Emerging Civil War Series, A Long and Bloody Task: The Atlanta Campaign from Dalton through Kennesaw Mountain to the Chattahoochee River, May 5-July 18, 1864. In our book, Stephen Briggs, Interim Director at Pickett’s Mill, has written a fine appendix explaining the fight.
The battle was fought on May 27, 1864.
Sherman had marched his forces away from the Western & Atlantic Railroad, his supply line, in order to draw Joe Johnston and his army from their strong defensive position at Allatoona Mountain.
As Sherman sidled west, so did the Confederates. Deducing that Sherman was heading toward a key crossroads junction around Dallas (about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta), Johnston drew up a line running eastward from Dallas through New Hope Church. After Hooker’s troops suffered a nasty repulse on the 25th at New Hope in the center of the Rebel line, Sherman ordered his left to probe around the Rebel flank and launch a reconnaissance-in-force. The Union assault of several brigades on the afternoon of the 27th was decisively repulsed by Pat Cleburne’s division. Later, Lt. Ambrose Bierce termed the whole episode, “The Crime at Pickett’s Mill.”
Pickett’s Mill is a Georgia State Historic Site, billed as “one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields in the nation.” And it surely is. The park features 765 acres of walking trails through woods across the battlefield, featuring pristine earthworks constructed by Federal and Confederate troops.
Y’all come on down. The park is open on Fridays and Saturdays (drat that lack of State funding!).