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Duluth Massage


Picketts Mill
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 3.2 miles Type of trail: Loop
County: Paulding County, GA Our rating: Moderate
Features: visitors center, stream, historic, bathrooms, 60hikes Your rating:
Usage: Medium Added on: November 17, 2004
Last hiked: August 22, 2004 Updated on: May 11, 2011
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Directions
Directions to Picketts Mill

Pickett's Mill Visitor's Center
Entrance to visitor's center at Pickett's Mill State Park
Pickett's Mill State Park has three different trails, the Red, White, and Blue. Each explores various aspects of the Civil War battle that began late in the afternoon on May 27, 1864. The trails combine gravel and historic roads with hiking trails through a second growth predominantly pine forest that covers rolling hills south of Kingston, Georgia. This narrative is told combining the three trails into one to increase the length.

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman came up with a plan to defeat his old friend, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston west of Atlanta. When he ran into Rebels, Sherman spread out along the Confederate line, searching for its end. By outflanking his opponent, the red-haired Ohioan hoped to force a retreat, or possibly a devastating engagement where the smaller Army of Tennessee was decimated.

The Battle of Pickett's Mill was not supposed to happen. At noon, Union Generals George Henry Thomas and O. O. (Oliver Otis) Howard scouted the Rebel line to a salient, which they misread as the end of the Confederate entrenchments. Howard selected William B. Hazen to lead an attack, with Colonel Benjamin Franklin Scribner in support. Opposite them was the best tactical commander in the Western Theater, General Patrick Cleburne.

The initial attack, down a valley, stalled under the heavy fire of Confederate troops along the ridge. Two secondary attacks, one by Hazen's men and the other by Scribner's men, were launched to the Union left in support of the troops pinned down in the valley. Hazen's men did pierce a quickly established Rebel defensive position only to be halted about 100 feet later. Scribner's men became confused and ended up well to the left of the main force.

The Pickett's Mill trails retrace the events of the battle, combining for an exciting conclusion following the footsteps of Hazen's main body of troops down the valley west of Pickett's Mill Creek. From the wooden overlook follow the combined Red and Blue Trail to the right down a gravel road. At .1 mile the Red Trail turns right and the Blue Trail continues straight ahead. To your left at this intersection is the site of heavy fighting. The men trapped in the valley launched three attacks against this position. Confederates held the line in spite of not having time to entrench.

Turn right on the Red Trail and follow the gravel road as it curves around to the left, reaching a cornfield on the left at .3 miles where the trail reenters the woods. On the north end of this cornfield, the Rebels established the line that halted Hazen's secondary attack. Entering a mostly shortleaf pine forest the trail winds back to the Blue Trail where it turns right. Turn left on the Blue Trail. It was here that Hazen's secondary attack encountered a hastily constructed Confederate line, designed to delay the advancing bluecoats while a second line could be constructed behind the first. The delay worked as these men were stopped by a secondary Rebel line at the north end of the cornfield on the Red Trail. Continue an extended climb up the hill towards the visitors center.

Pickett's Mill Trailhead
Pickett's Mill Overlook
As you pass by the overlook and visitors center to your left, the Blue Trail becomes the White Trail and makes an easy turn to the right, along the western edge of the battlefield. Note the entrenchments on the left side of the road. The White Trail comes to a "Y" at 2.0 miles. Take the left path which quickly comes to an "area closed" sign. Just before the sign the trail turns right and falls to a numbered marker that indicates the position of the Union Troops after the battle. Turn around and follow the blazes to a three-way intersection with the Red and Blue Trails. Continue straight to a gravel road that comes off to the left.

As the trail steeply descends the hill, hikers enter the area where Union troops formed during the afternoon of May 27, 1864. Continue on to Pickett's Mill Creek. Originally known as Little Pumpkinvine Creek, the Georgia legislature officially renamed the creek in the 1990's. There are a number of excellent creekside views in this area. Return up the hill along the combined Red and Blue Trails, to the intersection with the White Trail. Turn left.

As you follow the combined trails back to the overlook, the sides of the valley steepen and it is easy to see how a smaller number of Rebel soldiers could halt the advance of the Union troops. A numbered marker indicates the line of furthest Union advance. From this point, continue along the combined trails to the visitors center.

Additional information:
Picketts Mill State Historic Site
Battle of Pickett's Mill

Map

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Georgia Hikes
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Article Links
Army of Tennessee
George Henry Thomas
Joseph E. Johnston
Patrick Cleburne
Picketts Mill State Historic Site
William Tecumseh Sherman

Georgia Trails
Georgia Trails Index
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