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The Battle of Pickett's Mills

May 27, 1864 in Paulding County, Georgia
Atlanta Campaign

Union Forces Commanded by:
Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard
Forces Killed Wounded Captured
- 1,600 k&w - -

Confederate Forces Commanded by:
Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne
Forces Killed Wounded Captured
- 500 k&w - -

**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Confederate Victory


The story of the Battle of Pickett's Mill begins ten days earlier, as Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman occupies Kingston, Georgia. In 2 weeks the red-haired commander from Ohio marches half the distance between Chattanooga and Atlanta avoiding Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's entrenched positions by outflanking him at Dalton and Resaca. The speed at which he is moving has alarmed most Georgians and the entire Confederacy. Johnston lay waiting in Allatoona Pass, 8 miles due east of Kingston and along Sherman's all weather lifeline, the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Sherman chooses to venture south into the hills of Paulding County. The move presents major logistical problems, trying to feed 100,000 soldiers deep in enemy territory. Additionally, as his path grows longer the lines of wagon trains must be guarded.
Brig. Gen. Joseph Hooker runs into resistance near a Methodist church. Confused by inaccurate maps and hindered by poor communication, Hooker waits for additional men. Sherman orders an attack, trying to outflank the Confederates before they have time to fortify the position. The engagement at New Hope Church stuns the General, simply because he is not expecting strong Confederate resistance.
Caught off-guard, with his men beginning to suffer from a lack of rations, Sherman orders Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard to attack the left flank of the Confederate Army. Gen. George Thomas, Commander, Army of the Cumberland, and Howard scout the area and decide to attack what appears to be the end of the Confederate line at Pickett's Mill.
With Little Pumpkinvine Creek to the east men under the command of Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen advance on the fortified Confederate line. Hazen knows the attack is a serious mistake, but he follows the orders. Comprised mostly of men from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, Hazen comes up against the best commander in the Western Theater and possibly the entire Civil War, Patrick Cleburne.
At 4:30 P.M. on that Friday in the Spring of 1864, the Civil War comes to Benjamin and Malachi Pickett's farm. It is not a pleasant day.
Hazen begins to move toward the Rebel line. During the initial advance some of his men become confused and end up east of the intended objective. Additionally, Hazen's support on the right flank was distracted by dismounted Confederate cavalry firing from the other side of Little Pumpkinvine Creek. Stranded on the middle of one of the few open areas in the field of battle, Hazen's men come under incredible fire. Additional support moving from the Union line is delayed by the thick underbrush. When Hazen realizes the lack of support he has no choice. The order is given to retreat. At 6:00 pm General Thomas J. Woods orders a second attack. This time the men have a shorter distance to go because of the advance made by Hazen. The brigade, under the command of Col. William H. Gibson, is routed by Cleburne's men.
Brig. Gen. Hiram Granbury has successfully repulsed attacks by the Federals. He asks and receives permission to advance to sweep the area in front of him for Union soldiers. At 10:00 P.M., Granbury's Texans begin their advance. The Federals meet the advancing line with a single volley, then withdraw. With this brief blast the battle is over. Based on the number of dead at the battlefield, Pat Cleburne estimates the Union losses at 3,000.
The battle of Pickett's Mill is a decisive victory for the Confederates. Sherman, for the first time during the Atlanta Campaign is now faced with the possibility of retreat. He must return to the railroad to supply his army. He begins movement along the Dallas Line to the north and east on May 29. On June 1, he is relieved to find that Gen. George Stoneman's cavalry has taken Allatoona Pass with little resistance.
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