Survey in Clayton and Fayette counties sheds light on Civil War battlefield

Submitted by Richard Moss

In 2012, Edwards-Pitman Environmental conducted a Phase I survey of McDonough Road in Fayette and Clayton counties for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) under contract with American Engineers, Inc. The work included systematic shovel testing and metal detection along the nine kilometer project corridor from SR 54 in the west to Tara Boulevard near Lovejoy in the east. Dan Elliott of the LAMAR Institute helped with the metal detector survey.

Survey findings included documenting archaeological remnants of the western extent of the Battles of Lovejoy Station Battlefield, site number 9HY595/9CN195. Extensive prior investigations of this Civil War battlefield were conducted by Southeastern Archaeological Services during Phase I and Phase II investigations of Jonesboro Road, and the battle field was the subject of a paper given at the 2011 Spring Meeting of the SGA by Tom Gresham, Heather Mustonen, Dan Elliott, and Mark Pollard.

The portion of the battlefield within the McDonough Road project area has been highly disturbed by modern development. However, metal detector survey still resulted in the recovery of numerous military items. Artifacts found include an artillery shell fragment, an expended Spencer shell casing, and many fired Miniéballs. These are likely related to the infantry battle occurring at Lovejoy immediately following the battle of Jonesboro, September 2-6, 1864.

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Nash Farm, a portion of the battlefield east of the project area, has been preserved by Henry County. Click here to view the Nash Farm website and learn more about the four military engagements that occurred in the Lovejoy area in 1864.

Survey along McDonough Road also resulted in the discovery of numerous previously unrecorded nineteenth and twentieth century historic farmsteads or house sites, as well as one prehistoric site of unknown period. A report for Phase I investigations of McDonough Road is currently in progress. When finished, we will have a much more complete understanding of the Battle of Lovejoy Station and of the archaeological remains associated with this Civil War battlefield.