Jeannette Holland Austin Profile
A Search for the Confederate Supply Train in Fayetteville
On July 27, 1864 General Edward M. McCook of the Union army left his lines to carry out a raid in conjunction with Major General George Stoneman. Their mission was to wreck the remaining Confederate railroads supplying Atlanta and creating havoc behind Confederate lines. McCook and his troops crossed the Chattahoochee River with about 3500 troops at Smiths Ferry and cut the Atlanta and West Point Railroad at Palmetto (Coweta County). The idea was that should the raid be successful, Stoneman would continue on to Andersonville to liberate the 30,000 Union prisoners. Many people believe that the Confederate supply train also carried the missing Confederate gold. On July 29, 1864 McCook caught up with the supply wagons near Fayetteville and captured 400 Confederate soldiers who were guarding the supplies, burned the wagons and slaughtered 800 mules. The local history is that the Confederates hid the gold while General Sherman was approaching Atlanta, and thus the conclusion that it may be hidden somewhere in Fayette County. Later that same day, the yankees met at a rendezvois point in Lovejoy, but Stoneman failed to appear McCook was forced to retrace his steps towards the Chattahoochee River. By that time, however, the Confederates were chasing McCook around Lovejoy and he was forced to retreat. Two days after the slaughter of the mules, Confederate General Joseph Wheeler led his cavalry into battle at a place called Browns Hill near Newnan for the purpose of freeing the prisoners. With the confederates hot on the trail of his rear guard McCook used his advance guard to approach Newnan from the east (Broad Street), and were exhausted when they faced a trainload of Confederate soldiers blocking the road on the outskirts of town. Some of General General P.D. Roddey's dismounted Alabama cavalry who had been traveling by train were forced to stop in Newnan because the tracks were damaged to the north in Palmetto. The surprised Alabama troops and Federal Cavalry attacked one another. When this occurred General McCook searched desperately for a means of treat. Meanwhile, the army of General Wheeler force rode into Newnan and intercepted the army of McCook about three miles southwest of Newnan (intersection of Millard Farmer and Corinth Roads). As a result, the Federals were driven off the road into the woods south of Millard Farmer Road. But the fighting continued in the thick of woods forcing the army of McCook to dismount and fight on foot. McCook believe that his army was surrounded, and said: " Every man for himself." Worse, the Confederates received reinforcements who repeatedly charged the line. McCook split his forces while retreating and members of his straggling army were taken prisoners over the next several days. lines. Hence, it was this battle which forced General William T. Sherman to regroup his tactics for his Atlanta campaign.
James Alexander Reid, Brave Irishman of Kenmore
"With the passing of Mr. J. A. Reid of Kenwood on February 15, 1937, we, the members of the Fayette County United Daughters of the Confederacy, were deeply saddened because he was the last veteran of the county who had fought in the War Between the States. Last year, Mr. Reid gave the following memoir of his war experience to be kept in the files of the chapter: I entered the war six months before I was sixteen, in response to a call made for volunteers between the ages of 16 to 45. I volunteered to go, was accepted and went first to Lovejoy, then to Savannah, where I joined the Siege Artillery. Our company made up at Thundebolt, and we left for Dalton, Georgia. From Dalton we marched to Franklin, Tennessee where we had a skirmish and won. From Franklin we went on to Nashville. I was in two battles. The Battles of Cheatham's Hill and the Battle of Kennesaw. During the Battle of Kennesaw there was a fellow named Tom Cook who was killed right beside me. I was not in the Battle of Atlanta.
Fayette County was created as a result of the Land Lottery Draw of 1821 and is an original county. The land itself was ceded from the Creek Indian Nation. Since, the following counties have been taken from parts of Fayette, viz: Campbell (now Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Spalding. It was named for Revolutionary War hero, Marquis de LaFayette, who fought with General George Washington. Fayetteville was named as the county seat in 1823 and the present-day courthouse in the town square was built in 1825. It remains the oldest surviving courthouse in Georgia. During The War Between The States, while the cavalry paroled the county, a Confederate wagon supply train was burned just two miles west of Fayetteville. It was on this elusive site that one of the last cavalry skirmishes occurred and during that battle the Confederate gold disappeared. Rumors include the gold being buried nearby, the train being driven to Nashville. While Underground Atlanta was being constructed, a supply of gold was found buried inside brick buildings. This may have been the gold! In the 1930's, the Author of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell spent time in Fayette County in the home of her great Grandfather, Phillip Fitzgerald who came to Fayette County in the 1830's and established his plantation of several thousand acres on Tara Road near Jonesboro. The family is buried in the Fayetteville City Cemetery. When researching Fayette Counties, one should also research Clayton and Spalding Counties as many families are entwined.
Probate Records available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Fayette County Wills 1828-1897 (abstracts)
Fayette Bonds 1830-1850 (abstracts)
Fayette Mixed Records 1837-1845 (abstracts)
Fayette Mixed Records 1851-1856 (abstracts)
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