Civil War Drawings Collection. This view was taken during the northern segment of Sherman's Campaign in Georgia. The Battle of Pickett's Mill was fought on May 27, 1864, in Paulding County, Georgia during the American Civil War between Union and Confederate forces. Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman attempted an attack on the right flank of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.
After the Union defeat at New Hope Church, Sherman ordered Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard to attack Johnston's seemingly exposed right flank. The Confederates were ready for the attack, which did not unfold as planned because supporting troops never appeared. The Confederates repulsed the attack causing high casualties.
On 1 June, two of Sherman's mounted divisions, one under Brigadier General Garrard, the other under Major General George Stoneman, now out West and part of Schofield's army, seized Allatoona Pass from the small Confederate force that Joe Johnston had left there. This meant that Federal locomotives would now be able to steam south to provide Sherman's grand army with bullets, powder, and fresh food.
Getting the troops on the move again proved difficult, since on 1 June it also began to rain. The rains kept up for over two weeks, turning the landscape into a red clay quagmire, infested with mosquitoes and chiggers. The fact that the Federals weren't moving very fast under such conditions didn't make Joe Johnston complacent, however: realizing that the fall of Allatoona Pass had rendered his current position impractical, on 4 June he pulled off another clean retreat.
Sherman was not happy at this turn of events. Johnston's instincts for the defense were excellent, and his new position was as or more formidable as any he had occupied during the campaign. The line was anchored in the northeast, beyond the Western & Atlantic, on Brush Mountain, where Hood had set up his corps. The center was sited at Pine Mountain, on the near side of the railroad, which was occupied by Polk's corps. The southwest end of the line was anchored by Lost Mountain, held down by Hardee's corps. Johnston had a backup position available at Kennesaw Mountain, shielding Johnson's supply base at Marietta and about two miles (3.2 kilometers) southeast of Pine Mountain.
By 6 June, the Federals had advanced up to the Confederate line, with McPherson facing Hood, Thomas facing Polk, and Schofield facing Hardee. There was no real action for the moment, the Federals spending their time refitting for further action. On 9 June, Major General Francis P. Blair JR, having completed his temporary stint in Congress, returned to McPherson's command, bringing along 10,000 men who had been on reenlistment furloughs. These reinforcements made good Sherman's losses in the campaign. On 11 June, repair crews finally managed to get the Western & Atlantic working all the way down to Big Shanty, where McPherson's army was situated. The trains could now bring in fresh provisions, which were welcomed by the troops who had been subsisting on bacon, hardtack, and coffee during their side trip through the Georgia wilderness.
The troops might have been happy; Sherman was not. Although Hood was sniping at Johnston's timidity to Richmond, Sherman found Johnston very skilled at slowing Sherman down and making him pay in blood. Sherman was particularly unhappy to find that after the vicious fighting around Dallas his soldiers had become timid, advancing slowly and digging in at the first sign of enemy resistance. Dancing around with Joe Johnston didn't seem to be getting Sherman anywhere, but simply driving headlong into rebel defenses didn't seem to be much of a plan either. The Federals kept up the pressure, and in response Johnston contracted his defenses into the center, making them just that much harder to crack.