Flat Rock Skirmishing
The Flat Rock area of Old Henry County in the northeast corner was a settelment
on the southside of the South River between the river and Panola Mountain. General
Kenner Garrard of the Union Army was dispatched by General William T. Sherman
USA on the 27th of July 1864 to Flat Rock some 15 miles to the southeast of Decatur
to cover the flank of General Stoneman USA. His mission was to raid McDonough while General
McCook attacked Lovejoy Station from the west. This would be known
as the McCook-Stoneman Raid.
General Joseph Wheeler CSA got word of the raid and talked with General John
B. Hood CSA whom had placed Wheeler and his men in the trenches east of the city
of Atlanta. Hood told Wheeler to send some of his men out of the trenches to intercept the Union
raiders and go himself if he felt the need. He found the need.
Brig. General William Wirt Allen's brigade was dispatched and was placed in the lead.
Wheeler pulled out at 9:00 PM and by riding hard he overtook General Allen. Skirmishing had
already begun along the South River at the Flat Shoals in the vicinity
of Flat Rock with the advanced elements of General Garrard's division. When the next
brigade arrived, General Wheeler sent it around to the north to get in the rear of the enemy. Then as
other units reported he lined them up for an attack on the head of the
Union column. He advanced in the misty dawn, driving the Federal outposts to where the supports
were erecting barricades along the bank of the river.
On the morning of July 28, 1864, General Garrard USA was skirmishing with
General Wheeler CSA thinking General Stoneman USA was coming but he did not
know Stoneman had swung out to Covington in route to Macon on his own accord.
His plan was to release the Union prisoners of war at Andersonville. General Garrard carefully on the
evening of the 28th retired slowly to Latimer's skirmishing along the way. He remained here until July
29, 1864 skirmishing with Wheeler who was just trying to hold him in place.
General Wheeler CSA learned that General Stoneman was moving to Macon so he pulled out and
left Dribell's brigade to hold Garrard and he was going to re-enforce General W.H. Jackson's
calvary division and sent Iverson after General Stoneman. Wheeler and Jackson were in pursuit of
General McCook USA as he
left the Lovejoy Station area. McCook had been in and around the Stephen G.
By daylight of July 30, 1864 General Wheeler routed General McCook's division
at Newnan. McCook and several of his regiments broke out and made it to safety.
General Iverson CSA on July 31st captured General Stoneman USA and 500 of his
men at Clinton, GA.
Garrard's division marched to Lithonia and around Stone Mountain to Buckhead
approximately six miles from downtown Atlanta. He went into camp there and accomplished nothing.
This was a victory for General Wheeler CSA and his men by disrupting the
McCook-Stoneman Raid inwhich Flat Rock in extreme NE Henry County of the
time played a key role.
(A) The late Col. Wilbur S. Nye, historian and writer.
(B) The Official Records of the Rebellion, Washington DC.
(C) William T. Sherman, from the book "The March to the Sea."
(D) The Georgia Historical Society, Savanah , GA.
Directions to the site: follow Hwy 155 north. Go past the entrance to Panola Mtn
State Park and turn right into Little Mtn Golf Course area. Travel north on Old
McDonough Rd and move into todays Dekalb County and the site will be on the left
and right. You will find an area of Flat Rock. The Flat Shoals or Panola Shoals is
the area at the Bridge on Hwy 155 that crosses the South River. The Union forces
were on the north side of the river with some elements on the southside of the river.
Forces At Flat Rock, Georgia
July 28-29, 1864
Federal Forces Confederate Forces
Gen. Kenner Garrard, commander Gen. Joseph Wheeler, comm.
Col. Robert Minty Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson
Col. Eli Long Brig. Gen. John H. Kelly
Col. Abe Miller Gen. Samuel Wragg
2nd Ohio Regt. Maj. Gen. William Martin
3rd Brig. 3 Batt. Col. Alfred Russell
Chicago Board of Trade Batt. Col. Robert Anderson
4th Michigan Regulars Col. George G. Dibrell
72nd Indiana Ala., GA, Ky., Brig.
123rd Illinois 3rd & 4th Ala. Cav.
"The Engagement "
Col. Eli Long USA with 2 Regt. of Ohio Cav. took controll of the Flat Shoals Bridge at the South River
on the early morning of July 28, 1864 after moving from Decatur on July 27 with Gen. Kenner
Garrard's force during the Gen. George Stoneman Raid to protect his right. Col. Robert Minty set up
the Chicago Board of Trade Battery on the high knoll above the river just north of Long's men. Col.
with the 3rd Brigade set up along the Snapfinger Creek to block the Confederate movement from the
NW. General Joseph Wheeler sent the CS forces under Gen. Humes on ahead to meet this force at the
Snapfinger Creek. Gen. Alfred Iverson CS
converged on the scene from the SW from Tucker's Cabin. General Wheeler arrived and set up
command on the high ridge above Flat Rock. Generals Kelly, Martin, and Wragg would skirmish along
the banks of the South River to keep the Federal Force from moving on further south. Gen. Garrard,
USA set up his command along the road just north and east of the bridge along the ridge line. This road
led to Latimer's.
At one point during the skirmishing a soldier was sent to Garrard's headquarter's to ask for his surrender
because Gen. Wheeler saw no need to slaughter the vastly out numbered Federal Force. Gen. Garrard
positioned his men to move back to Latimer's
on the night of July 29th. There was heavy skirmishing all the way to Latimer's where Garrard halted.
Gen. Wheeler CSA pulled Gen. Iverson's men and sent them south through McDonough to intercept
Gen. Stoneman U.S. Gen Wheeler moved his force to Lovejoy Station thinking this was the target of
this raid because Gen. McCook USA was there attacking the Macon Railroad and waiting for word
Stoneman. No word came. There was several casualties during this heavy skirmishing and artillery fire
that lasted over two days in the Flat Rock area. Col. Russell's cavalry of the 4th Alabama was given
the chore to keep Garrard at Latimer's. Gen. Stoneman USA was captured at Griswoldville near
Clinton by Gen. Alfred Iverson CSA who was raised in the area and had the advantage over
Stoneman. Gen. McCook USA was using the Dorsey Plantation at Lovejoy while in the area. He
learned of Gen. Wheeler's advance on his position so he pulled out of Lovejoy Station and moved west.
He was routed by Gen. Wheeler's forces after a the chase to Newnan, Georgia. This ended the
McCook-Stoneman Raid that involved heavy action at Flat Rock, Georgia along the South River.
1. The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Washington, DC.
2. The Atlanta Historical Society
3. The DeKalb County Historical Society.
4. The University of Georgia Archives.
5. The Archives of the State of Georgia.
6. The Diaries of the Ohio Regiment.