Scholar says Brown's Mill's importance not recognized
by W. Winston Skinner
Dr. David Evans, a scholar with Coweta roots, says the Battle of Brown’s Mill has not yet received its due.
Speaking at the opening of a park on 105 acres of the battlefield site Saturday, Evans related that Congress authorized the Civil War Sites Advisory Committee in 1991. That body was charged with identifying “the most important Civil War battlefields in America,” Evans said.
He noted their list includes a battle site in Idaho, several in North Dakota and two in Oklahoma so obscure “historians can’t even pinpoint their location.” He added, “Brown’s Mill is not on that list.”
He also noted there are 25 Coweta sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Brown’s Mill is not. “The Moreland Knitting Mill is,” Evans said.
He said what happened at Brown’s Mill changed Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy for the Atlanta campaign — and changed history. “The loss of so many men and so much human capital” at Brown’s Mill pushed Sherman toward the strategy that led to the burning of Atlanta and its surrender in September 1864, Evans said.
“The capture of Atlanta helped convince war-weary northern voters to re-elect Abraham Lincoln that November,” Evans said.
County Commissioner Tim Lassetter noted Brown’s Mill and the Nash Farm site in Henry County are “the only cavalry campaign sites not lost to development” in metro Atlanta. He expressed appreciation that Brown’s Mill “has not not changed much since July of 1864” and some amazement that Nash Farm and Brown’s Mill are “the only two sites that haven’t been lost” considering the warfare that took place around Atlanta.
Dr. David Crass of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources spoke on the National Register of Historic Places process. He said Brown’s Mill meets three of the four criteria for listing on the National Register. Only one criteria is required.
The battlefield’s status is “a good indicator of just how important and how rare this piece of property is,” Crass said.