Pickett's Mill Endangered
Most Endangered Battlefields 2010
Pickett's Mill, GA - May 27, 1864
IN LATE MAY 1864, the Atlanta Campaign raged, with Union troops probing for Confederate weaknesses in an effort to capture the great southern rail hub. Fighting that occurred in the area west of Kennesaw Mountain – at three separate locations over the course of four days – was so intense that Northern troops referred to the whole region as the “Hell Hole.” One of the distinct engagements of this period, the Battle of Pickett’s Mill, was perhaps the most stinging Union defeat of the Atlanta Campaign and the first serious check on Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s momentum.
Following his defeat at New Hope Church, Sherman ordered an attack against the Confederate right flank in the vicinity of the grist mill along Little Pumpkinvine Creek. Although their position seemed exposed and vulnerable, the Southerners were ready for the attack and repulsed two Union assaults before launching a counteroffensive that swept the federals from the field with high casualties.
Covering 765 acres retaining a remarkable degree of their war-time appearance, Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site is widely regarded as one of the most thoroughly preserved and interpreted battlefields of the Atlanta Campaign. Still, recent economic difficulties have not spared it from the fiscal challenges plaguing state parks across the country. Following the most recent round of budget cuts last July, the park was forced to reduce its hours significantly, and is now only open three days a week. Of its original staff of five, only one full-time employee remains.
Adding to the site’s woes, last autumn it was inundated by flood waters that stood up to 15-feet deep in some areas. Portions of several walking trails, including three footbridges, were destroyed and a portion of the foundation of the mill that gave the battle its name was swept away.
CWSAC has classified Pickett’s Mill as a Priority III, Class C battlefield.