Pickett's Mill May 27, 1864 Estimated casualties: 2,100 (Union: 1,600, Confederate: 500)
Pickett's Mill remains a "misunderstood" encounter. Referred to in general terms like "The Dallas Line" or "Hell Hole" by Union soldiers, three separate battles south of Kingston are frequently confused and often combined. Today most historians view the battles as three distinct encounters:
Benjamin and Malachi Pickett move to the rugged, densely forested hills west of Atlanta to build a business and their families. William Tecumseh Sherman moves there to avoid a battle. Late on a Friday in the Spring of 1864, 14,000 men from Oliver O. Howard's 4th Army Corps move towards the Pickett's farm and grist mill on Little Pumpkinvine Creek and arguably the worst Union defeat during the Atlanta Campaign.
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.
Caught off-guard, with his men beginning to suffer from a lack of rations, Sherman orders Major General Oliver O. Howard to attack the left flank of the Confederate Army. General George Thomas, Commander, Army of the Cumberland, and Howard scout the area and decide to attack what appears to be the end of the Rebel line at Pickett's Mill.
With Little Pumpkinvine Creek to the east men under the command of 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 pm 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 Colonel William H. Gibson, is routed by Cleburne's men.
Confederate 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 pm 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 29th. On June 1, 1864, he is relieved to find that General George Stoneman's cavalry has taken Allatoona Pass with little resistance.
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