We both have a love for history that goes way back to childhood (farther away than we care to admit). We were the kind of kids that begged our parents to stop at every historic site and marker on route to a vacation destination.
We love the fact that the county we live in has such a rich history beginning with the Muscogee. The feeling of walking in the footsteps of great historical events inspires us. We were particularly excited to visit Brown’s Mill Battlefield for the first time.
At a history lecture we attended at the Carnegie Library, the speaker gave a vivid and lifelike account of the Brown’s Mill Battle that filled our imagination with scenes of determined cavalrymen in hot pursuit of outmatched forces.
The entrance to Brown’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site is framed by a rustic split rail fence and a beautiful wooden plank sign featuring the park's name and a cavalryman seated on a fiercely charging horse crafted in metal.
Entrance to the site is free, and they are open seven days a week except during severe weather. A large covered pavilion is easily accessible from the parking lot and would make a great place for a picnic. Be sure to bring a blanket because the pavilion has no tables. There is no welcome center available, but a detailed map in the parking lot outlines the direction and difficulty of the trails.
At this time, there are two main trails available. If you do both of them, the hike is about a mile. The crushed slate covered trails are wide and easy, winding through a forest of trees and shrubs. There are plans to add to the existing trails at some point in the future.
The majority of the trails are easy to walk, though at some points they slope up into steeply graded hills. Portions of the trail are made wider and flat for handicap accessibility. Several beautifully carved benches line the trails inviting guests to take a moment of rest and reflection. The benches and several birdhouses were a kind donation from the Eagle Scouts.
The Battle of Brown’s Mill took place exactly 150 years ago from this month. On July 30, 1864 two cavalry divisions met on the land of Robert Brown, one of Coweta County’s wealthiest farmers.
As we hiked around in the June heat with plenty of cold water and summer clothes, we couldn’t help but imagine how hot the men must have been in their homespun uniforms as they fought a grisly battle among the vines and trees in the middle of a Georgia July.
The five-hour battle ended with 150 men dead and wounded. Over 1,000 more were captured and imprisoned in the brutally overcrowded Andersonville prison. Numerous interpretive signs along the trail go into deep detail about the events that led up to the battle and the results and consequences of July 30, 1864.
As we walked around the trails, the pleasant aroma of pines and wildflowers and the chirping birds gave a peaceful air that seemed disproportionate with the horrors of war.
The outcome of the battle essentially changed the course of the American Civil War, forcing Sherman to change his war strategy.
At the very end of the Wheeler Trail we suddenly came upon an old monument enclosed in iron railings. The worn surface simply states the leaders of the battle and the outcome.
We really enjoyed stepping into this little piece of Newnan’s history. We recommend going on a cooler day and bringing bug spray, sunscreen and water. If you don’t want to do a self-guided tour, the site has many events including guided tours and reenactments to bring the history to life.