"In The Midst Of Battles"
Men such as Stephen Green Dorsey represented the peak of the planter class as it existed in this locality. His father moved into what became Clayton County and built a two story log cabin shortly after the Treaty of Indian Springs in 1821 opened the area for settlement. Born in Jones County just prior to the family's move to what was then Henry County. Stephen was the seventh of nine children. In 1841, he married Lucinda McConnell and set about the business of raising substantial family and acquiring a considerable estate.
Sometime in the 1850s, Dorsey extended his holdings by acquiring the William Crawford home site from Crawford's widow. It was located about a mile north of Lovejoy's Station, a water and wood stop on the Macon & Western Railroad. Local tradition has it that the Crawford House was a stop on the stage line that operated between McDonough, the county seat of Henry, and Fayetteville, the county seat of Fayette. In 1858, Dorsey added to the original structure attaching to it a neighboring house that had been rolled on logs to the site. The result was an unusual example of upcountry, plantation plain-style construction.
In late July 1864, the War Between the States had brought action literally to his doorstep. On the morning of July 29, 1864, McCook's U.S. raiders in an attempt to break up the Macon & Western railroad moved on Lovejoy's Station. During the raid, Union soldiers paid their first visit to the Dorsey plantation, where Colonel James R. Brownlow, established his headquarters.
The Dorsey family had little time to recover from the Stoneman-McCook cavalry raid when on August 20, 1864 another U.S. cavalry raid led by U.S. General Judson Kilpatrick reached their plantation. His sole purpose was to destroy the Macon & Western railroad, but clashed with Confederate cavalry. Kilpatrick's men had stopped by the Dorsey home that morning and did a thorough job of requisitioning supplies from their home and property. They pillaged and completely ransacked the property, taking livestock, shelled corn, bacon, tobacco, clothing, bedding, crockery, and other personal items. The Confederate cavalry soon caught up with Kilpatrick's troopers and a battle ensued along the McDonough road, sending shot and shell throughout their property. An artillery shell even crashed through the rafters of their house. Mrs. Dorsey stayed in the house protecting her two young children, who had the measles, during the battle.
Thirteen days later the Dorsey family home was in the midst of combat again. Union and Confederate fortifications were constructed on their property. Rachel Abercrombie, a witness to the battle that ensued after the battle of Jonesborough which lasted for several days said, "The whole plantation was covered with tents, wagon, and men." An eyewitness claimed that hundreds of cavalry horses were grazing in Dorsey's corn and pea fields. A neighbor who visited the day after Union forces departed the scene stated, "I saw the place all torn up, the crops entirely gone, and it appeared like a desert." Left behind were the graves of a large number of Union soldiers. Mrs. Abercrombie testified that "we took the partitions out of the Dorsey house to make coffins."
In a five-week span, Dorsey's plantation was devastated.
The Atlanta Historical Journal, 1985-Vol. XXIX, Number 2
Stephen Dorsey and his daughter
The Crawford-Dorsey House
General Judson Kilpatrick