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Georgia Natural Wonder #235 - Battle of Brown's Mill - Coweta County. (Part 2)
Georgia Natural Wonder #235 - Battle of Brown's Mill - Coweta County (Part 2) Historical Markers and Monuments Coweta County

We covered the Chattahoochee Bend State Park with our last post to bring us to Coweta County. We covered the National Registrar of Historic Places. Searching for another natural Wonder in Coweta County has proven difficult, but I remember a post I made on Civil War Georgia about a Calvary Battle near Newnan.

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A Battle where general Joseph Wheeler whipped them, captured 2000 Yankees, and freed 500 Confederate prisoners as per the Historical marker below. So blending History with Nature, today's post will be all about the Battle of Brown's Mill and then, the Historical Markers and Monuments Coweta County

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Battle of Brown's Mill Marker is on Greenville Street (U.S. 29) near Broad Street. At the original Coweta County Courthouse. The Coweta County Courthouse is in the background. The Battle of Brown's Mill Marker is the second marker from the left.

The Battle of Brown's Mill was fought July 30, 1864, in Coweta County, Georgia, during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. 

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Edward M. McCook's Union cavalry, on a daring raid to sever communications and supply lines in south-central Georgia, was defeated near Newnan, Georgia, by Confederate forces under Joseph Wheeler. Wheeler High School in Cobb County is named after him, I did not know that.

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McCook and Wheeler.

The failure of McCook's column and a concurrent ill-fated raid by George Stoneman forced to lay siege to the city of Atlanta. 

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McCook and his 2,400 troops crossed the Chattahoochee River on a pontoon bridge erected at Smith's Ferry. McCook's cavalrymen reached Palmetto, where they cut the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. They captured and burned over 1,000 Confederate supply wagons at Fayetteville on July 28. 

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General McCook also gained a reputation for condoning and encouraging the destruction of civilian property. Early the next morning, his raiders reached Lovejoy's Station, twenty-three miles south of Atlanta, and began wrecking the Macon & Western Railroad. 

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The Bullard Henley House, located west of the Chattahoochee River on Hwy. 92 near Hwy 166, was built in the late 1830’s.  As McCook moved his column south toward Campbelton, he engaged in a short firefight on the Bullard Plantation.  One of the Federal soldiers died and is buried behind the house. General McCook established his headquarters here for the night.  

McCook, along with his officers, enjoyed a meal prepared by Mrs. Bullard.  In the evening, the daughter of Mrs. Bullard, played the family piano to entertain the officers.  The officers made multiple request for Yankee Doodle, but she refused to play it and would play Dixie instead.  After several rounds of this, the General made a deal that he would sing Dixie while she played as long as she would play Yankee Doodle after.


General Hood's report………..

ATLANTA, GA., July 30, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War, Richmond:

As soon as I can get the dismounted cavalry General Bragg is to send and the militia here I hope to strike the enemy with my main force. The recent raids have caused delay in receiving the re-enforcements referred to. I hope in a few days to send Wheeler, with his cavalry, to break Sherman's communications. The two recent engagements have checked his extension on both flanks.

J. B. HOOD, General.


Other Confederate reports………….

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION, Three miles and a half from Fayetteville, July 30, 1864-3 a. m.
Major-General WHEELER, Commanding Cavalry:

GENERAL: Since arrival of your courier, I received notice from Colonel Harrison that he is opposite the enemy at Shakerag, three miles from here. The enemy has gone into camp there. I move on at once with Ross's brigade.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, W. H. JACKSON, Brigadier-General.

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Skirmish at Shakerag Marker is on Ebenezer Road 0.1 miles north of Davis Road, on the right when traveling south. Looking north on Ebenezer Road toward Fayetteville.

McCook's men next traveled to the preset rendezvous point at Lovejoy on July 29, but Stoneman failed to appear as planned, forcing McCook to retrace his steps toward the Chattahoochee River. By that time, McCook had Confederate cavalry pursuing him. Again at Lovejoy, McCook fought a sharp skirmish with the mounted forces of brigadier generals William Hicks Jackson and Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross (The Father of Texas A&M University) that forced a retreat westward with Major General Joseph Wheeler and several hundred cavalry on his heels.

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With the Confederates sniping at his rear guard, McCook's advance guard approached Newnan from the east, on what is now Broad Street, early on July 30, 1864, with his troops and horses in a state of exhaustion. 

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McCook's troops passing Brown's Mill.

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They encountered a trainload of Confederate soldiers blocking the road on the outskirts of town. The troops, elements of Brigadier General Philip Dale 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 Alabamians were as surprised to see the Federal cavalry as the Federals were to see them. 

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The depot today where the Alabama troops were waiting on train.

Fighting soon erupted, causing McCook to begin a desperate search for a way out of the situation in a route that would bypass Newnan to the south and avoid the clash.

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Thomas E. Redwine shows movement of Union troops into Newnan.

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Campaign map at Newnan depot.

While that was occurring, Wheeler's force rode into Newnan and swiftly divided with the intention of striking the Federal marauders simultaneously in their front and rear. Wheeler's men came into contact with McCook's about three miles southwest of Newnan at the intersection of today's Millard Farmer and Corinth roads. 

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Gen. Jos. Wheeler, C.S.A. Marker is at the intersection of Millard Farmer Road and Old Corinth Road, on the left when traveling west on Millard Farmer Road. Millard Farmer Road is in the background. The mill stood slightly south of the marker's location.

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As they tried to return to the main army, McCook's division was attacked near Brown's Mill, three miles south of Newnan. The Federal cavalry was driven off the roadbed and into the woods south of Millard Farmer Road. Wheeler used his men very strategically in a huge horseshoe and moved in on them. 

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Looking east across a portion of the battlefield.  The Confederates pushed McCook back from the through this area.  This area is preserved as part of the park.  After Wheeler received reinforcements of Infantry from the stranded soldiers at the train depot, he was able to surround McCook on three sides.

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A small branch of Sandy Creek winds through the battlefield.  Brown’s Mill was located on a larger portion of the creek south of this point.  For the most part the terrain was mixed with open areas and heavily wooded areas.  The 4th Indiana was positioned here moving up to the right towards Millard Farm Road to hold the Federal Left Flank.

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As the fighting seesawed through the heavy woods thick with underbrush, McCook's men were forced to dismount and fight on foot. McCook held a brief council of war, suggesting the force surrender. Other officers decided to fight and McCook basically gave up command. McCook, believing they were surrounded, proclaimed, "Every man for himself." He let his officers lead their battalions out separately. As the Federals suffered heavy casualties, the Confederates received approximately 1,400 reinforcements who repeatedly charged McCook's line, driving it back. 

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By late afternoon, after having lost two of its brigade commanders, McCook's force split up and cut their way out, only to be captured piecemeal over the next few days while attempting to reach safety behind Union lines. They were outgeneraled and fled south.

[Image: NpNK48G.jpeg] Route of the Union retreat at Brown's Mill.

"Gentlemen, you can all surrender and be damned. I am going out with my regiment. I would about as soon be killed in the attempt, as to be captured and sent to Andersonville or Libby." 

Colonel James Patton Brownlow, 1st Tennessee Cavalry, US

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McCook himself escaped capture and took his remaining men northward into Tennessee when Sherman sent the Army of the Cumberland to chase General John Bell Hood. McCook fought with distinction during the rest of the war, with this stunning defeat to a lesser force at Brown's Mill the major blemish on his service record.

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McCook, thoroughly defeated, lost 1,285 men, 1,200 horses, several ambulances, and two pieces of spiked artillery, as well as 100 killed and wounded. Wheeler also freed some 300 Confederate prisoners that McCook had previously captured. Wheeler's losses were 50 men. Stoneman's forces also met with disaster. General Stoneman was captured, becoming the highest ranking Union officer to be a prisoner of war during the Civil War. Many of his and McCook's enlisted men ironically wound up in Andersonville, the target of their raid. The supplies continued to reach the Confederates in Atlanta by train through Newnan. Brown's Mill changed the course of the Atlanta Campaign, forcing Sherman to abandon his efforts to use cavalry to cut Atlanta's railroads and compelling him to begin a lengthy siege against his wishes.

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There were moments of heroism among the jolted Union troopers. Cpl. George W. Healy (Healy) of Company E, 5th Iowa Cavalry is to win a Medal of Honor for his actions at Brown's Mill.
   [Image: hJzZ2TX.jpeg] George Healey

Medal of Honor Citation

"When nearly surrounded by the enemy, (he) captured a Confederate soldier, and with the aid of a comrade who joined him later, captured four other Confederate soldiers, disarmed the five prisoners and brought them all into the Union lines." Larry Conzett of Nashville says his great-great-uncle, David, also of the 5th Iowa, rode with Healey. David Conzett died shortly before Healey took the prisoners. "This family folklore was George fought back with David's empty pistol, capturing Confederates, feigning the gun was full," says Conzett. David Conzett fell near a tree within 75 yards of the home of George W. Cook. 

The Cook home was on high ground where McCook placed artillery and the council of war during a "last stand." One of three nieces staying at Cook's home was killed during the fighting. Later, Cook wrote a letter demanding the return of horses taken by Union troopers during the battle. David Conzett and two comrades were buried at the Cook property before being moved to a national cemetery in Marietta, north of Atlanta. The 5th Iowa was among the 500 troopers that were captured on the battlefield while trying to cover the Union retreat.

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Civil War nurse, Fannie Beers, at Brown's Mill battlefield the afternoon of the battle. The scene is described in her journal, "Memories".

"The dead lay around us on every side, singly and in groups and piles; men and horses, in some cases, apparently inextricably mingled. Some lay as if peacefully sleeping; others, with open eyes, seemed to glare at any who bent above them. Two men lay as they had died, the 'Blue' and the 'Grey,' clasped in fierce shot in the head, the throat of the other was partly torn away."


The historic battle site, featuring walking trails and interpretive signs, is the only Civil War Park south of Atlanta and one of only two Civil War parks in the nation featuring a cavalry battle. It is located a few miles southwest of downtown Newnan on Millard Farmer Road near Old Corinth Road. 

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Nearby attractions include the Atlanta and West Point Depot, where fighting broke out between the Alabama and Federal cavalries; Oak Hill Cemetery in downtown Newnan, where nearly 270 Confederate soldiers are buried; and Male Academy Museum, which has an authentic Confederate battle flag on display along with a large collection of weapons and other artifacts.

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Male Academy then and now.

Although the county had some war activity (the Battle of Brown’s Mill was fought outside Newnan in 1864), Newnan became known as “the hospital city of the Confederacy.” Because of its location on the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, and its distance from the heaviest battles, the largest town in Coweta was selected to host a hospital for treating the wounded. Eventually Newnan would have seven hospitals and treat more than 10,000 soldiers from both sides.

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Confederate Hospitals Marker is on Greenville Street (U.S. 29) near Broad Street, on the left when traveling north. Located at the original Coweta County Courthouse. The Coweta County Courthouse is in the background. The Confederate Hospitals Marker is to the far right.

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Image inside a Union Civil War hospital shed (Note US flag) and a painting that shows the Newnan GA Court House, along with several of the "Hospital sheds" which were built in Newnan.

The beautiful antebellum homes found throughout Coweta County are said to have survived because of superb craftsmanship, tireless restoration efforts and the strategies of Confederate General Joe Wheeler who routed brigades of Union troops in the July 1864 Battle of Brown's Mill, just southwest of Newnan. Local churches, private homes, College Temple and the courthouse were turned into makeshift hospitals with wounded from both armies being treated. Many soldiers, including 269 Confederates who died in the town’s hospitals, were buried in nearby Oak Hill Cemetery.

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Confederate Dead Marker is on Herring Street 0.1 miles north of Jefferson Street (Georgia Route 34), on the left when traveling north. Herring Street is a road in the eastern section of Oak Hill Cemetery.

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Unknown Union Soldier buried at Adamson Cemetery in Glenn, Heard Co., Georgia on the Escape Route From The Battle Of Brown's Mill. This soldier actually died at a farmer's well, about a half mile across the Alabama line. The farmer, who owned the property where the soldier died, built a casket from wood off his barn and buried him in the local cemetery at Glenn. You will notice that the grave has 2 slabs over it, as the poem below required that much space.

This dying man his friends had fled left to his foes not a word he said 

His lips were closed his body frail his dying groans and face was pale

The clothes he wore blue uniform his body showed not a mark of harm

His death occurred from unknown cause had a deathly stroke and fell from a horse

His coffin rough and loosely laid of scraps of plank and they had no nails

The plank was off a nearby barn where federals robbed of its wheat and corn

Away from home away from friends and all that heart holds dear a federal soldier buried here no earthly friends was near

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July 31st 1864

General Sherman's report tomorrow on the defeat of General McCook yesterday……

NEAR ATLANTA, GA., August 1, 1864-8 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:

Colonel Brownlow reports from Marietta that he has just reached there, having escaped from a disaster that overtook General McCook's cavalry expedition at Newman. He reports the expedition reached the railroad and destroyed more road than the rebels can repair in fifteen days, and burned 500 bagged wagons, including the headquarters train of the rebel army, but was overtaken at Newman by rebel cavalry and infantry, and after a hard fight had to surrender. Colonel Harrison was killed.* I can hardly believe it, as we had 3,000 hand picked cavalry. Colonel Brownlow commanded one of the regiments, and brought in with him but few men. I have sent for him from Marietta, to inquire more closely into the matter. I have reported General Garrard's safe return. General Stoneman used him as a cover to get a good start, so that he will probably reach Macon, and it may even be Andersonville, but he will have to run the gauntlet to get back safe. The loss of this cavalry is a serious one to me, but we are pushing the enemy close. Considerable re-enforcements of militia and dismounted cavalry have reached Atlanta, under Stephen D. Lee.

W. T. SHERMAN,Major-General.


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Buena Vista, Newnan Ga.  After the Battle of Brown’s Mill, General Wheeler retired to this home for the evening and established his Headquarters here while he directed the continued pursuit of the fleeing Federals.

General Wheeler's report………..

JULY 31, 1864-4.15 p. m.
Lieutenant-General HARDEE, Commanding Corps:
The following dispatch just received from General Wheeler:

We fought the enemy from last night until to-night, killing and capturing many. We have thus far succeeded in keeping between them and the river, and they are showing evident signs of demoralization, having abandoned all their artillery, ambulance train, a large number of horses and mules, strewing the road with their arms and accounterments, and releasing some 300 of our people, whom they captured with the wagon trains at Fayetteville.

[F. A. SHOUP, Chief of Staff.]


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[Image: 2BxfOqL.jpg] The Fallen on both sides.

In an interesting tangent after the war in 1898, Wheeler, now aged 61, volunteered for the Spanish–American War, receiving an appointment to major general of volunteers from President William McKinley. He assumed command of the cavalry division, which included Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, and was nominally second-in-command of the Fifth Army Corps. During the excitement of the battle, Wheeler is said to have called out, "Let's go, boys! We've got the damn Yankees on the run again!"

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Staff of the 1st US Volunteer Regiment, the "Rough Riders" in Tampa – Lt. Col. Roosevelt is on the right, and bearded former Civil War Confederate general Joseph Wheeler is standing in front.

Historical Markers and War Memorials in Coweta County, Georgia

Having covered the Civil War battle, we devote the rest of this post to the Historical Markers and War Memorials in Coweta County.

There are a series of Historical markers along the path at Brown's Mill Battlefield, all have been shown above.

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"The Big Raid" - Brown's Mill Battlefield

McCook's Raid - Brown's Mill Battlefield

Wheeler's Pursuit - Brown's Mill Battlefield

The Battle of Brown's Mill: Detour to Battle - Brown's Mill Battlefield

The Battle of Brown's Mill: Ride for the River - Brown's Mill Battlefield

The Battle of Brown's Mill: Aftermath - Brown's Mill Battlefield

In Memoriam - Brown's Mill Battlefield

These are all the Civil War Historical Markers that we did feature above already.

Battle of Brown's Mill

Shown above by Courthouse.

Gen. Jos. Wheeler, C.S.A.

Shown above at Brown's Mill Battlefield.

Confederate Dead

Shown above at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Confederate Hospitals 

Shown above by Courthouse.

These are a couple more markers related to Civil War history of Coweta County.

Birthplace of a Confederate Hero

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Marker is at the intersection of Col. Joe M. Jackson Medal of Honor Highway (Georgia Route 34) and Thomas Overby Drive.

On September 23, 1864, seven of Colonel John Mosby’s Rangers were captured after a failed raid on a Union wagon train in Front Royal, Virginia. Overby was one of the Mosby's Men executed at Front Royal by orders of General George Custer. William Thomas Overby was one of the Rangers that was offered his life in exchange for the location of Mosby’s headquarters. He refused and was hanged. His last words were, “Mosby will hang ten of you for every one of us!” Members of the 2nd U.S. cavalry hung a sign on Overby’s body that read, “This will be the fate of Mosby and all his men.” He was later posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor.

Confederate Medal of Honor Citation

"Captured with five others in a skirmish outside Front Royal, Pvt. Overby & his compatriots, instead of receiving humane treatment accorded prisoners of war, were ordered to be executed. Reviled and beaten by his captors, Pvt. Overby could only watch as three of his fellow prisoners were wrenched away, dragged through the streets , and summarily shot. Knowing he had no change against such a mob, Pvt. Overby nevertheless remained arect and defiant. Despite a noose around his neck, he refused to give his executioners vital information that could compromise his battalion - even in exchange for his life - and instead, with his last words, issued a dark prophecy of revenge."

His body had lain the past 132 years in a rural Virginia Cemetery near where he was hanged. 

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The remains of the Mosby's Ranger often called the "Nathan Hale of the Confederacy" lie once again in the soil of his native Georgia. William Thomas Overby was given a hero's reburial January 5, 1997, in Oakhill Cemetery in Newnan.

William Thomas Overby

[Image: v4i0QPu.jpg] Monument on grounds of Coweta County Courthouse.

On November 6th, 1864, the Mosby's Rangers hung a group of 7 Union prisoners believed to be part of Custer’s command. The unlucky seven were chosen from a group of 26 prisoners by drawing slips of paper from a hat. A young drummer boy was one of those who chose a marked slip. But when Mosby was informed, he spared the drummer boy. 

[Image: K9AiBN8.jpg] Moseby's Lottery.

After the incident, Mosby wrote a letter to Philip Sheridan saying that he wanted to end the executions of prisoners. They did end.

Coweta County Confederate Monument

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(Front of base)

Our Confederate dead,
whom power could not corrupt,
whom death could not terrify,
whom defeat could not dishonor.

(Back of base)

It is not in mortals
to command success.
But they did more,
deserved it.

Then we move to all the other Historical Markers and War Memorials in Coweta County.

Coweta County

[Image: v0YcJXf.jpg] On grounds of Courthouse.

Coweta County VFW Memorial

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On grounds of Courthouse.

Coweta County World War I Memorial

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On wall of Courthouse.

Gravesite of Lt. (jg) Thomas E. Zellars- Namesake of USS Zellars DD 777

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A plague to his memory was created by his classmates in Dahlgren Hall, Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, with the following inscription:

"His hand was found grasping the flood valve which extinguished a burning powder train and saved his ship. Flaming death was not as swift as his sense of duty and his will to save his comrades at any cost to himself. His was the spirit that makes the service live."

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Marker and gravesite are located at the Grantville City Cemetery.

Col. Joe M. Jackson

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Marker on grounds of Courthouse.

Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Lt. Col. Jackson distinguished himself as pilot of a C-123 aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson volunteered to attempt the rescue of a 3-man USAF Combat Control Team from the Special Forces camp at Kham Duc. Hostile forces had overrun the forward outpost and established gun positions on the airstrip. They were raking the camp with small arms, mortars, light and heavy automatic weapons, and recoilless rifle fire. The camp was engulfed in flames and ammunition dumps were continuously exploding and littering the runway with debris. In addition, eight aircraft had been destroyed by the intense enemy fire and one aircraft remained on the runway reducing its usable length to only 2,200 feet. To further complicate the landing, the weather was deteriorating rapidly, thereby permitting only one air strike prior to his landing. Although fully aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt. Lt. Col. Jackson elected to land his aircraft and attempt to rescue. Displaying superb airmanship and extraordinary heroism, he landed his aircraft near the point where the combat control team was reported to be hiding. While on the ground, his aircraft was the target of intense hostile fire. A rocket landed in front of the nose of the aircraft but failed to explode. Once the combat control team was aboard, Lt. Col. Jackson succeeded in getting airborne despite the hostile fire directed across the runway in front of his aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson's profound concern for his fellow men, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself, and the Armed Forces of his country.

Maj. Stephen W. Pless

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Marker on grounds of Courthouse.

Medal of Honor Citation

On 2 June, Captain Pless launched as Section Leader of two UH-1E armed helicopters escorting five Marine CH-56 aircraft and nine Army of the Republic of Vietnam UH-34 transport helicopters assigned the mission of inserting a two platoon size force deep within enemy controlled territory south of Khe Sanh. The operation, in support of the U.S. Army Special Forces, Special Operations Group, was conducted to assess the damage of a large scale bombing attack. Throughout the three-day operation, Captain Pless and his crew repeatedly came under heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire as they determinedly provided supporting fire for the besieged ground troops which had been surrounded by a numerically superior enemy force. Returning to the insertion site on eight separate occasions and even though his aircraft received severe damage from enemy ground fire on three different passes over the hostile positions, he steadfastly continued to provide outstanding support. While making a low altitude ordnance run over the Viet Cong positions, an enemy round struck the aircraft's starboard rocket pod, causing the pod to burst into flames. In an attempt to jettison the pod, Captain Pless activated the electrical and manual release systems, however the pod failed to jettison. Displaying calm presence of mind, he maneuvered his aircraft in preparation for another attack heading and subsequently commenced his firing runs when the crew safely released the burning rockets from the helicopter. Despite severe thunderstorms over the target area and although several aircraft were downed by enemy fire, Captain Pless resolutely ignored the hazardous conditions to deliver effective suppressive fire on the Viet Cong emplacements. In addition, he assisted the Tactical Air Controller (Airborne) and thoroughly briefed other helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft pilots on the disposition of enemy and friendly units as they arrived on station. In large measure due to his analysis and comprehensive knowledge of the tactical situation, he was instrumental in planning the extraction of the friendly forces from the embattles area. During the retraction operation, Captain Pless led a five aircraft division of UH-1E helicopters into the fire-swept zone, utilizing the fire power of his aerial gunner after he had expended all his ordnance on the enemy positions. By his determined fighting spirit, exceptional aeronautical ability and courageous actions despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Captain Pless contributed significantly to the successful accomplishment of the mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

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President Johnson congratulates Medal of Honor recipients at the White House on January 16, 1969. Lt. Col. Joe M. Jackson (on Johnson's left) and Major Stephen W. Pless (on Johnson's right) were both natives of the same small town of Newnan, GA and were both being honored for air rescues in Vietnam. Legend states that, upon realizing that both Pless and Jackson were from the same small Georgia town, President Johnson quipped "there must be something in the water down in Newnan."

Governor Ellis Gibbs Arnall (1907-1992)

[Image: 6tCwoqh.jpg] Marker on grounds of Courthouse.

[Image: x0iDFYs.jpg] [Image: uTeMmkM.jpg] Arnell has Statue on grounds of State Capital.

Governor William Yates Atkinson (1854-1899)

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Marker on grounds of Courthouse.

In Memory of General Daniel Newnan 1780-1851

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Marker on wall of Courthouse.

William McIntosh the Creek Indian Chief

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Marker on grounds of Courthouse.

James B. "Jimmy" Hutchinson, Jr. - Beloved Lifelong Resident and Community Leader

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Marker is in Senoia, Georgia, in Coweta County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Seavy Street, on the right when traveling north on Main Street.

Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church Est. 1840

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OK, that is enough for this post. We reprise our theme for today's GNW Gals for Coweta County. 3 more Cow Eaters.

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At least it's not Chicks A Peeing.
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