The magnificent battle of Picket’s Mill, or New Hope Church, Ga., was fought on May 27, 1864. The brunt of the battle, which saw two divisions respectively from the 4th and 14th Corps, plus a brigade from the 20th, (almost 14,000 men ), attacked Granbury’s Texas Infantry Brigade, which had just moved to the battlefield but a scant few moments before the Federals themselves arrived; the Texans having no time to even throw up temporary field-works. The Yankees were heard to scream: “By damn you, we have caught you without your logs now,” and seven lines came on, arranged in battalion front. Undeterred, the Texans, as Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne recalled, responded with “blue pills”, literally blasting each successive line back down into the ravines from whence they came.
The following came from a letter penned by Lt. Thomas Stokes of the 10th Texas, and is excerpted herein as sent to his sister, Missouri Stokes:
Maj. John Kennard of the 10th Texas Infantry, “was as usual, encouraging the men by his battle cry of ‘put your trust in God, men for he is with us’; but concluded to talk to the Yankees awhile, sang out to them, ‘Come on, we are demoralized,’ when the major was pretty severely wounded in the head, though not seriously, when raising himself up, he said: ‘Boys, I told them a lie, and I believe that is the reason I got shot!'”
The fighting was very close and desperate and lasted until after dark. About 11 o’clock that night, three regiments of our brigade charged the enemy, our regiment among them. We went over ravines, rocks, and almost precipices, running the enemy entirely off the field. We captured many prisoners, and all of their dead and many of their wounded fell into our hands. This charge was a desperate and reckless thing, and if the enemy had made any resistance they could have cut us all to pieces.[ Mary A. H. Gay. Life in Dixie During the War, pp. 77-8.]
I’m working assiduously on the next volume of A Force to Be Reckoned With and hope to have it completed later this year. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the first half, you can get your copy HERE.