What's The Rising Smoke at Pickett's Mill Battlefield? No, It's Not a Ghost Battle or Reenactment


If you see smoke rising from the Pickett's Mill Battlefield, this week, it's not from a re-enactment or a ghost battle at the reportedly-haunted site. Instead, it's from a prescribed burn intended to improve the natural habitat.

A prescribed burn is scheduled at Pickett's Mill Battlefield State Historical Site on April 21.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

The Dallas, GA, park's website warns of a prescribed burn scheduled for Thursday, April 21.

Prescribed burns on public lands are coordinated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resource Wildlife Resource Division, along with The Nature Conservancy and the Georgia Forestry Commission. Georgia State Parks, other public lands and private landowners all participate in prescribed burns.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, such prescribed burns "restore biodiversity and improve habitat for a number of species."

"We burn to reduce fuel loads and keep the forest healthy. Burning promotes a variety of native plants and animals, cycles nutrients back into the soil, helps eradicate some exotic species, and improves the aesthetics of a forest," a Georgia Department of Natural Resources document explains.

Hiking trails meander through Pickett's Mill, including across the battlefield and streamside at the original mill site.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

Pickett's Mill Battlefield State Historical area is comprised of forests, fields and well preserved earthworks that once witnessed fierce combat between the Union forces of General William T. Sherman and Confederates led by General Joe Johnston. The battle is considered by historians as a Confederate victory, the last major battle won as Sherman's forces continued their quest for Atlanta and the eventual "March to the Sea."

Opened in 1992, Pickett's Mill is one of Georgia's newer state parks and historical sites. It houses a small museum, which is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Trails through the battleground site are open daily. The park and battlefield includes several miles of protected remnants of extensive earthwork defenses used in the battle.

More About Pickett's Mill

Pickett’s Mill often is referred to as the forgotten battle as Sherman didn’t include any account of the loss in his official reports to Washington, nor did he include any mention of it in his published memoirs. No significant news of the battle was included in Northern newspapers, which tended to cover the largest battles, battles for large cities, or — by this point in the war — glorious Union victories. Word of the Confederate victory was but a whisper in the South, lost among the mounting defeats, declining morale and near panic of Atlanta’s impending doom.

The park now is mostly wooded in secondary forest, with just under four miles of hiking trails that generally follow Civil War-era roads and the major battle lines. The well-marked Red, White and Blue trails each trace a significant part of the battle, and join together where the main fight occurred.

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I'm a trained journalist, global traveler and retired business executive who worked for more than 20 years with some of the world's best and largest restaurant enterprises. I left the business world behind, living in Northwest Georgia and writing about avocations including outdoor excursions, family-friendly travel, road trips, exploration ideas for active seniors and some of my community passions. I've traveled to 47 states and nearly as many countries, and I'm still counting up. I'm a traveler, hiker, cyclist, blogger, marketing consultant, community volunteer and local high school band nerd who previously has lived in Florida, Ohio, Indiana and Mississippi. I'm a South Louisiana-born French Cajun whose great-grandparents were sugar farmers, bar owners and reputed bootleggers. My upbringing in food-rich Louisiana and my restaurant industry career affirmed my status as an over-qualified eater. That also inspired the name of my blog, OurTravelCafe.com. There, I offer up a complete menu of our my own experiences, explorations and adventures, organized by geography and always sprinkled with some spicy, tasty tidbits and food notes.

Acworth, GA

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