Brown's Mill Battlefield
The Battle of Brown's Mill killed or wounded about 100 of McCook's men. Wheeler's casualties probably numbered fewer than 50. "The dead lay around us on every side, singly and in groups and pile men and horses, -in some cases, apparently inextricably mingled," wrote Fannie Beers, a nurse who reached the battlefield shortly after the fighting ended. A veteran Confederate cavalryman called it "the greatest slaughter I ever saw in front of a cavalry line."
In Newnan, Confederate hospitals treated the wounded on both sides, and buried those who died in the cemetery just north of town. Three years later, the United States Army removed the remains of approximately 34 Union soldiers from Newnan and the Brown's Mill battlefield and reburied them in the National Cemetery at Marietta, Georgia, where they still rest today. Most of these graves bear the same haunting epitaph: "Unknown."
During the days following the battle, Wheeler's cavalrymen herded nearly 1,300 captured Yankees into Newnan and confined them in a two-story cotton warehouse on Perry Street, midway between the courthouse and the railroad depot. As soon as section gangs repaired the damage done to the railroad at Palmetto and Lovejoy's Station, trains carried the captives to prisoner of war camps at Macon and Andersonville, where many subsequently died from the effects of malnutrition, disease, and exposure.
Against all odds, Wheeler's outnumbered troopers had out-marched, outmaneuvered, and out-fought the best of Sherman's cavalry. Their stunning victory at Brown's Mill on July 30, coupled with Stoneman's crushing defeat at the Battle of Sunshine Church on July 31, not only foiled what Wheeler called "the most stupendous cavalry operation of the war," but also changed the way the Atlanta campaign was fought.
The loss of so many men and horses compelled Sherman to change his tactics. With his cavalry crippled and his infantry stopped short of East Point at the Battle of Ezra Church on July 28, he reluctantly resorted to a siege. Day after day, shells rained down upon Atlanta. When this around-the-clock bombardment failed to dislodge the defenders, Sherman gathered up what was left of his cavalry and sent Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick riding south on August 18 with orders to succeed where McCook and Stoneman had failed.
Kilpatrick tore up 1 miles of track at Jonesboro but within three days Rebel supply trains were rolling into Atlanta again. Convinced "that cavalry could not or would not work hard enough to disable a railroad properly," Sherman lifted his siege on the night of August 25 and marched his entire army around the west side of Atlanta, determined to destroy the city's railroads once and for all. Two days of bloody fighting at Jonesboro forced the Confederates to abandon Atlanta on the night of September 1. The next morning, the city surrendered. News of Sherman's victory helped assure President Lincoln's reelection at a crucial moment in America's history. That victory would have come sooner if Joe Wheeler had not won the Battle of Brown's Mill.
In 1863, Confederates wounded in the battles to defend Atlanta were sent to Newnan, where they were cared for in hospitals established in warehouses, churches, the courthouse, and in tents on the courthouse square. Four hospitals were located in Newnan from late 1863 until late summer of 1864: Bragg, Foard, Buckner, and Gamble Hospitals. The Surgeon-in-charge at the Newnan hospitals was I. B. Gamble.