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Battle of Brown's Mill

Battle of Brown's Mill
Part of the American Civil War
Date July 30, 1864 (1864-07-30)
Location Coweta County, Georgia
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
United States (Union) CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Edward M. McCook Joseph Wheeler
Units involved
First Cavalry Division
Army of the Cumberland
Cavalry Corps
Army of Tennessee
Casualties and losses
100 50

The Battle of Brown's Mill was fought July 30, 1864, in Georgia, was

Background

During the Atlanta Campaign, Gen. William T. Sherman, wanting to avoid the necessity of laying siege to the city, ordered two columns of Federal cavalry on a series of raids south of Atlanta in an attempt to cut off supply and communication lines. Army of the Ohio to the southeast, while Brig. Gen. Edward M. McCook’s First Division of the cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland was to sever railroads southwest of the city. He was to link with Stoneman and then seize the Andersonville prison camp and free the 32,000 prisoners held there.

Crossing the Lovejoy’s Station, twenty-three miles south of Atlanta, and began wrecking the Macon & Western Railroad. However, McCook called off the raid and turned back across the river when Stoneman failed to appear as planned.

The Battle

Nevertheless, as they tried to return to the main army, McCook’s division was attacked near Brown's Mill, three miles south of Newnan, by Confederate cavalry under Joseph Wheeler. McCook wanted to surrender, but instead let his officers lead their battalions out separately. McCook, thoroughly defeated, lost 1,285 men, 1,200 horses, several ambulances, and two pieces of spiked artillery, as well as 100 killed and wounded. Wheeler also freed some 300 Confederate prisoners that McCook had previously captured. Wheeler’s losses were 50 men.

Stoneman’s forces also met with disaster. General Stoneman was captured, becoming the highest ranking Union officer to be a prisoner of war during the Civil War. Many of his and McCook’s enlisted men ironically wound up in Andersonville, the target of their raid. Brown's Mill changed the course of the Atlanta Campaign, forcing Sherman to abandon his efforts to use cavalry to cut Atlanta's railroads and compelling him to begin a lengthy siege against his wishes.

McCook later took his remaining men northward into Tennessee when Sherman sent the Army of the Cumberland to chase John Bell Hood. McCook fought with distinction during the rest of the war, with his stunning defeat to a lesser force at Brown’s Mill the major blemish on his service record.

References

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