Battle of Buck Head Creek and Big Buckhead Baptist Church
The Battle of Buck Head Creek took place on November 28, 1864 and saw Union forces under the command of Brigadier-General Judson Kilpatrick clash with Confederate forces under the command of Major-General Joseph Wheeler. The main conflict was rearguard action by one of Kilpatrick regiments supported by artillery fire. While Confederate casualties were low, this was an important part of the larger campaign that saw Sherman's army march through Georgia. Confederate casualties were later exaggerated although the research of John Rigdon identified only one Confederate soldier was killed in the skirmish, William Martin of Avery's 4th Georgia Cavalry.
Backstory and Context
On November 28, 1864,
the Battle of Buckhead Creek took place as a part of Sherman's
March to the Sea. Fighting occurred next to Big Buckhead Church which still stands today. In an attempt to free a multitude of Union prisoners reported to be at Camp Lawton in Millen, Georgia, Sherman dispatch a large cavalry force under the command of Union Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick to the area. The soldiers burned a Confederate railroad bridge at Briar Creek on their way to Camp Lawton. On November 24, 1864, Kilpatrick drove toward his objective while also attempting to trick Confederate forces into believe that Sherman was marching on Augusta to lower Confederacy opposition as Sherman marched in a different direction.
At first, Kilpatrick’s move successfully diverted Confederate forces to defend Augusta, but Confederate Major-General Joseph Wheeler quickly realized that the Union move was a trick and managed to reach Briar Creek just in time to prevent Kilpatrick from destroying the bridge. During this time, Kilpatrick also found that the prisoners of war at Camp Lawton had been transferred to other undisclosed locations, so he decided to withdraw his troops back to Sherman’s main forces.Then, Union forces camped by Buckhead Creek on November 27, 1864. The next day Wheeler’s forces arrived and fighting broke out. Even though Wheeler almost captured Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick and his forces manage to cross the creek as one of his regiments, with the support of artillery, managed to severely hurt the Confederates before burning the bridge. While Wheeler was able to catch back up to Kilpatrick, a Union Brigade behind barricades was able to stop Wheeler’s advance at Reynolds’s Plantation and drive him back resulting in a Union victory.