You can almost see them. Even now,
nearly one hundred and fifty years later, when you look across the
rolling green fields at Nash Farm, you can almost see three compact
columns of blue-coated cavalrymen cresting that far ridge, their
swallow-tailed guidons fluttering in the breeze. The landscape still
looks pretty much the same as it did then, on August 20, 1864, and
if you know the story of what happened that day, when bugles blared
and cannon roared, it's easy to conjure up those bold troopers in
your mind's eye, charging across a gullied cornfield, boot to boot
and stirrup to stirrup, their drawn sabers gleaming in the hot
summer sun. You can almost feel the earth tremble under the pounding
of nearly twenty thousand hooves, and hear the ragged volley that
erupted from an opposing line of dismounted Confederate cavalrymen
who were quickly cut down, swallowed up, and swept away.
It was the most desperate, most dramatic cavalry charge of America's Civil War, but more than that, the stirring events that culminated on this hotly contested field helped shape the course of history. The fight at Nash Farm convinced Union General William T. Sherman his cavalry "could not or would not work hard enough to disable a railroad properly." Reluctantly, he set his entire army in motion in a last-ditch effort to cut the two railroads that fed and supplied the Confederate army defending Atlanta. Sherman's shift in strategy, and a two day battle at Jonesboro, ultimately forced the city to surrender.
News of Sherman's success reenergized a war-weary nation, and helped reelect President Abraham Lincoln. It is no exaggeration to say the fight at Nash Farm changed the way the Atlanta Campaign was fought, and that pivotal struggle helped decide the outcome of a war that redefined America's destiny. Hurrah for Henry County for preserving this historic and hallowed piece of ground!
Dr. David Evans,
author, Sherman's Horsemen