Heading south from Chattanooga, Union Commander William Tecumseh Sherman left his all weather lifeline, the Western and Atlantic Railway, in Kingston, Georgia and worked his way through the hilly terrain south of that city towards Dallas, Georgia, in Paulding County. Unaware that Joseph E. Johnston and the Army of Tennessee was a few miles ahead of him, Sherman fought a savage battle at New Hope Church, then attempted to flank the Confederate line at Pickett's Settlement.
In the 1970's Cobb resident Dr. Phillip Secrist began to acquire land in the area, intending to preserve the battlefield. He eventually sold the land to the state, who built the visitor's center and parking lots and improved the trails. The park opened in May, 1990, in time for the 125th anniversary of the battle.
Visitors Center at Picketts Mill State Park
Today the park features a Visitors Center with an excellent video presentation on the battle itself and an extensive interactive museum on the battle in particular and the Atlanta Campaign in general. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and always willing to engage in conversation about the battle and the surrounding area.
Viewing the battlefields is done via three trails that cover the general areas of major engagements. The park is apparently trying to restore the land to the "look and feel" of the original battlefield by creating fields where appropriate. For example, the cornfield through which Col. Scribner made his errant attack is still a field (albeit without the corn).
Appropriately named the red, white and blue trails, each highlights different areas of the battle although the trails at times share the same footpaths. Our favorite is the blue (1.5 miles) which is an easy trail with some easy-to-moderate sections.
This path follows an old roadbed down to the mill built by Benjamin Pickett. The keen eye can note some of the original improvements to the land and even untrained observers should be able to pick out the entrenchments along this path. This path runs through the areas of heaviest fighting, passing north of Hiram Granbury's line and south of the point where William Hazen's men were pinned down.
After a stop at what is now called Pickett's Mill Creek (originally Little Pumpkinvine Creek), the path turns and follows the creek. Shortly the field where Colonel Scribner make his attack is on the left and is marked, although not detailed. From here the path winds up and away from the creek and returns to the visitor's center on the same footpath as the white trail.
Maps to all the trails are available at the office at no charge.