During early and mid-May 1864, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman successfully outmaneuvered the army of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in multiple battles in northwest Georgia. Each time, Johnston fell back to a new defensive position closer to the strategic Confederate city of Atlanta. Stopped in his tracks at New Hope Church on May 26th, Sherman determined to circumvent Johnston's army once again by sending Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard's Fourth Corps on a flanking mission around the Confederate right. After a five hour march through rugged terrain, Howard's men found the Rebels entrenched near Pickett's Mill west of Marietta. On the afternoon of May 27th, Howard ordered an assault against the Confederate works. Waiting were 10,000 Confederate troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne. The Federal assault began at 5:00 p.m. and continued into the night. Heavy fighting swirled around Benjamin and Malachi Pickett family farm and grist mill on Little Pumpkinvine Creek. Dismounted Confederate cavalry harassed the left flanks of the six attacking Federal brigades. Daybreak found the Confederates still in possession of the field. Arguably the worst Union defeat of the Atlanta Campaign, the Confederate victory resulted in a one-week delay of the Federal advance on Atlanta.