Brown's Mill Battlefield
Anxious to avoid a fight, McCook left the 8th Indiana to contend with the
Confederates at the depot while the rest of his command detoured south on the East Newnan Road. Upon reaching Land Lot 38, near Turkey Creek, the column veered to the right on a country lane that emptied into the Griffin Road (now Ga. Highway 16) and then turned south on the Greenville Road (US Highway 27). After cutting the telegraph wire and tearing up a short section of the Atlanta & West Point Railroad at Wright's Crossing, 4 miles below Newnan, the raiders headed west on what is now Emmett Young Road.
Late that morning Joe Wheeler galloped into Newnan. In 24 hours he had ridden 55 miles. Already outnumbered 3 to 1, he quickly divided his small force, sending Colonel Henry M. Ashby and 200 Tennesseans spurring down the LaGrange Road Corinth Road) to intercept the head of the Yankee column. He was preparing to lead the rest of his men against the raiders' flank when one of his officers suggested waiting for reinforcements. "But we haven't a moment to lose," Wheeler snapped. "Form your men."
By this time McCook's column was south of Newnan, fording Sandy Creek at Brown's Mill. As Lieutenant Colonel William H. Torrey's advance guard approached the LaGrange Road, a keening Rebel yell shrilled from the surrounding thickets. Ashby's Tennesseans opened fire, sending panic-stricken Yankee troopers bolting to the rear. While trying to rally them Torrey fell mortally wounded and most of his brigade soon fled from the field.
Hearing gunfire at the head of the column, McCook halted 2 brigades commanded by Colonels John Croxton and Tom Harrison and ordered them to cover a road on their right flank. Dismounting, these troopers faced north and advanced just in time to meet Joe Wheeler and 500 of his men coming through the tangled woods on foot.
After a short skirmish the Rebels retreated, enabling McCook to recall Croxton with orders to send a regiment to reopen communication with Torrey's men. Mounting their horses, the 8th Iowa Cavalry formed in column of fours. Wheeler, however, quickly rallied his troops. "Follow me!" he yelled as he led a fierce counterattack that drove Tom Harrison's brigade out of the woods and south of what is now the Millard Farmer Road. As Wheeler halted to realign his ranks, he heard heavy firing to his right and rear, where Brigadier General "Sult' Ross's Texas brigade had dismounted just as the 8th Iowa came dashing down the road with sabers drawn and bugles blaring "Charge!"
Blue-coated troopers captured Ross and most of his lead horses. The 3rd Texas Cavalry immediately about-faced and charged on foot. After a wild melee, they rescued Ross and reclaimed their horses. The rest of Wheeler's men also hurried toward the sound of the guns. Three times they surrounded the Iowa troopers. Three times the Iowans fought their way out. It was, said one Rebel cavalryman a Kilkenny cat fight for nearly an hour."