Brown's Mill Battlefield fired up for grand opening

The shots fired by Confederate troops were only a part of the activities at the July 27 grand opening of the Brown’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site on Millard Farmer Road south of Newnan. Union and Confederate reenactors provided a realistic component to the day’s events that had been years in the making. Photo/Ben Nelms.

History came alive July 27 and more than 350 people came to take in the sights at the grand opening of the Brown’s Mill Battlefield Civil War Historic Site located south of Newnan at 155 Millard Farmer Road.

Among the large number of people present for the dedication and grand opening were Coweta County Commissioner Tim Lassetter who presided at the event, Brown’s Mill Battlefield Association representative Carolyn Turner, state archeologist David Crass and historian David Evans. Crass and Evans provided a wealth of information on the historic site and the battle.

The grand opening also included a large number of re-enactors assuming the role of Union and Confederate cavalry. Many of those attending the event got a close-up look at the calvary, their mounts and weapons after the dedication ceremony had concluded.

It was on July 30, 1864 that the Battle of Brown’s Mill was fought. According to the Brown’s Mill Battlefield Association, the Civil War battle occurred during the Atlanta Campaign. Gen. Edward McCook’s Union cavalry, on a daring raid to sever communications and supply lines in south central Georgia, was defeated at the battlefield site by Confederate forces under the command of Gen. Joseph “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler.

After a successful raid in Fayetteville, McCook was trying to return to the main army in Atlanta but was attacked by Wheeler’s cavalry four miles south of Newnan at Brown’s Mill. McCook wanted to surrender but instead let his officers lead their battalions out separately.

Though Wheeler lost 50 men in the ensuing battle, McCook’s forces were routed. McCook had 1,285 men captured, 100 killed or wounded and lost 1,200 horses, several ambulances and two pieces of artillery. With the victory, Wheeler freed approximately 300 Confederate prisoners.

The ramifications of the battle extended far beyond the rolling hills of the battlefield.

The defeat of Union forces in Coweta County forced Gen. William T. Sherman to abandon his efforts to use cavalry to cut Atlanta’s railroads and compelled him to begin the lengthy siege of Atlanta, according to the association.

The battlefield site is dedicated to the Confederate and Union cavalrymen who fought and died on July 30, 1864, and to the Confederate and Union medical staff who tended the wounded after the Battle of Brown’s Mill, according to the Brown’s Mill Battlefield Association.

A July 9 proclamation by the Coweta County Commission denoting July as Coweta County History Month stated that the Battle of Brown’s Mill was significant in the history of the Civil War because it changed the way Gen. William T. Sherman fought the Atlanta Campaign.

For more information on this historic site visit www.battleofbrownsmill.org

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