Friday, August 19, 2011

Memorial service this weekend for Battle of Lovejoy's Station casualties

The Friends of Nash Farm Battlefield are hosting a 10 a.m. memorial service on Saturday (August 20) to honor those who fought and died during the Battle of Lovejoy's Station in August 1864 near Hampton, Ga.

The keynote address will be given by David Evans, author of "Sherman's Horsemen."

More than 400 names of Federals and Confederates who were killed, wounded or missing in the battle will be read.

"Additionally, 500 US and CS flags are placed in the field to represent the known casualties of the battle. Their waving in the breeze is a magnificent site to see," the group says.

The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. at the Nash Farm Battlefield, 100 Babbs Mill Road, Hampton, Ga. 30228. The museum will be open and show new acquisitions since its opening in February.

National Park Service summary of the battle: Maj. Gen. William Sherman sent Judson Kilpatrick (photo) and his cavalry to raid Rebel supply lines. Leaving on August 18, Kilpatrick hit the Atlanta & West Point Railroad, tearing up a small area of tracks. Next, Kilpatrick headed for Lovejoy’s Station on the Macon & Western Railroad. In transit, on the 19th, Kilpatrick’s men hit the Jonesborough supply depot on the Macon & Western Railroad, burning great amounts of supplies. On the 20th, they reached Lovejoy’s Station. Rebel infantry (Cleburne’s Division) appeared and the raiders were forced to fight into the night, finally fleeing to prevent encirclement. Although Kilpatrick had destroyed supplies and track at Lovejoy’s Station, the railroad line was back in operation in two days.

"If Kilpatrick had succeeded in crippling Atlanta's last remaining supply line, as Sherman hoped, the Confederates would have had to abandon the city, retreating southward or risking everything on the outcome of a pitched battle," according to Evans. In order to cut the single remaining railroad that was Atlanta's sole source of supply, Sherman now turned to his infantry.

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