Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site

In the spirit of finding interesting places to explore close by, my husband, Jim, and I checked our local map and realized that a very important historical Civil War Battlefield was located only 8 miles from our home, and we had never been aware of it. We always drive toward Atlanta , and this site is behind us, near a small town called New Hope, Georgia . The state of Georgia had bought the land and in 1990 opened the park in time for the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Pickett's Mill. Click on any picture if you'd like to enlarge it.

The park includes 765 acres, a visitor center with a film, a museum with artifacts and interpretive exhibits. A complete trail guide is provided with extensive notes on the major areas of engagement. This is one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields in the nation. The battle was fought from May 25 to May 28, 1864. The 9,600 Confederate troops held their line against the 14,000 Federal troops attempting to outflank them. The Federals lost about 1700 men, the Confederates about 500 men. This was a clear victory for the Confederate side, but a minor loss for the Federals in their advance toward Atlanta - it only delayed them. General William T. Sherman, in charge of the Federal side, did not even mention this defeat in his memoirs.

This postcard, taken by Steve and Daniel Yost, shows the battle reenactment which happens each year close to the battle dates, usually the 27th May.

A cabin, built in the 1850s, located a few miles away from the park has been moved to the site. Once a month, it is used for demonstrations of candle making, cooking, sewing, etc., as it would have been done by a civilian family before the war.

The land was originally occupied by the Cherokee Indians, but when gold was discovered in North Georgia, it brought many greedy settlers who pushed the state of Georgia to remove the Cherokees to lands in the west (this removal became known as The Trail of Tears). The land was subdivided into 40 to 60 acre lots and distributed to white settlers through a Lottery. The Pickett family received one of these lots of land, built a cabin on it and operated a grist mill close to the creek on that property.

The brochure with maps and information on the trails indicates that the terrain has not changed very much since 1864. One walks on roads used by both the Confederate and Federal troops, hikes up and down the same ravines where many died and can observe the earthworks built by the fighting men. Click on The Battle of Pickett's Mill here if you'd like to read more details on this battle.

We walked on the trails of the battlefield on a sunny day in mid-week. There was no one ahead or behind us and when we arrived at the corn field, site of a furious fight between the two sides, we could well imagine how bloody the battle must have been.

One would not know that such a terrible battle occurred here as it is so peaceful now.

The South is a land that has known sorrow;
it is a land that has broken the ashen crust and moistened it with its tears;
a land scarred and riven by the plowshare of war and billowed with the grave of her dead;
but a land of legend, a land of song, a land of hallowed and heroic memories.
- Edward Ward Carmack (1858-1908)


Friko said...

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Meead.I've left a comment on his blog.
These are wonderful photos; although i know nothing about this particular battle, you make it come alive.

Darlene said...

What a wonderful post. The photos are beautiful. I wonder if the pink flowers in the first pic are Azaleas.

It's amazing how nature covers over the bloodshed of a terrible battle. Your historical account is great and I really enjoyed reading it.

I had two great grandfather's in the Civil war, but they were on the side of the North.

Ratty said...

You're right, it is almost unbelievable that so many bad things happened there. The pictures look very similar to the places I go to enjoy the peace of nature. I never even considered much about the history of a place. Now I'll wonder what kind of things happened where I go.

Elaine said...

Interesting post and beautiful photos. I've visited a few Civil War sites and it is really hard to imagine the horrible bloodshed that occurred on the peaceful countryside.

Pondside said...

What an interesting post.
I had a little read of some of you other posts and will be back for more. I love the story of your mother - the photos are lovely and you are so lucky to have them.

Anonymous said...

I liked this post. Information. Accurate. Nice work.

Martha Z said...

A lovely spot, peaceful but with a sad and violent history.

Mother Goose said...

This is a great post. I've always been interested in the Civil War. What a terrible time for our country. I also wanted to respond to a comment you made to the Everyday Adventurer. You said you were posting family stories for your grandchildren. I am also writing family stories for my grandchildren. One of my sons said he misses hearing the voices of his grandparents so I am also doing voice messages for them. The Irish say that it is what you come from that makes you what you are. I believe that.

claude said...

Merci pour votre passage sur mon blog et votre commentaire.
Mon grand avec les amis bloggers qui font leur qu'en anglais est que mon anglais n'est pas assez riche pour tout comprendre, et je le regrette.
Avant je faisais mon blog en anglais et en français mais comme j'ai de plus en plus de lecteur que je veux visiter à mon tour, je n'ai plus le temps. J'ai donc mis à l'attention de Abe Lincoln le traducteur google, Il comprend même si les traductions ne sont pas au point.
Moi aussi j'aime bien tricotter et faire du crochet.
J'ai montré toutes mes réalisations ainsi que mes recettes de cuisine
Je viens au USA le 5 juin prochain à Salt Lake City chez nos amis.Une amitié, en ce qui me concerne, de 47 ans. Mon amie, Julia, était ma correspondante en 1962.
Mercie encore de votre visite.

MTB said...

Mt great great grandfather was a member of the 89th Illinois Infantry and was present at this battle...the regiment took the brunt of the casulaties during the second assault...I hope to visit the park one day...thank you for the wonderful pictures...

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