Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Battle For Chickamauga

We visited the Chickamauga Battlefield on September 20th of 2003, which was the 140th year anniversary of the final day of the battle.  Re-enactments had been taking place at several locations around the battlefield, however, we arrived later in the afternoon with the activities pretty much winding down.

Our arrival on that significant date was purely by accident and not by design.  We were actually visiting the Georgia Winery and it was along our way there that we saw the signage for the battlefield.  So after a little wine tasting, and the discovery of one of our favorite wineries, we made our way on over to the battlefield for a “look see”.  

Chickamauga National Military Park, the nation’s first, was created in 1890 to “preserve and commemorate” the battlefield.  The Military Park is managed by the National Park Service with a visitor center and a movie presenting the history of the campaign.  The grounds remain pretty much the same today as they were in 1863, with the exception of paved roads and even thicker forest.  It is well worth a visit should you find yourself in the Chattanooga area.  The following is a quick overview of the battle.

The battle at Chickamauga was the last major battlefield victory for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  On September 18, 1863, as fate would have it, Generals Bragg (Confederate) and Rosencrans (Union) met head to head at West Chickamauga Creek – the battle would be waged over the next two days. 

It was a battle that neither general wanted to fight on that particular turf due to the extremely dense forest.  Visibility was limited to about a 150 feet (yes, that’s feet, not yards) which was less than rifle range and relegated cannon fire useless (except in a few open fields) leaving most of the battle to be fought in hand to hand combat.

General Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, having been defeated at Stones River in Murfreesboro and again at the battle in Tullahoma, had been forced into Chattanooga and then driven further south into northwestern Georgia. 

Chattanooga, being surrounded by several mountain ranges and located on the Tennessee River, was a key railroad hub and manufacturing city that was vital in supplying the Confederate Army’s war effort.  Therefore, President Lincoln had ordered Rosencrans to occupy Chattanooga which he had successfully done by late August.

However, General Bragg’s troops had been been augmented while in Georgia and he had developed plans to reoccupy Chattanooga.  The battlefield at Chickamauga is where the two generals collided as General Bragg was returning north toward Chattanooga and General Rosencrans was continuing to push toward the south.  The battle ended with General Rosencrans withdrawing his troops back to Chattanooga.

Even though the Confederate Army “won the battle” they still “lost the war”, so to speak, in that they were unable to retake Chattanooga in the coming weeks thereby making the victory at Chickamauga pretty much a moot point.  The Chickamauga Campaign has been noted as the battle with the second highest number of casualties during the Civil War, following the battle at Gettysburg.  For more complete details of the Battle for Chickamauga click here.

Monuments Along the BattlelinesUnion Army's Final Holdout A Re-enactment - Readying for Battle

Hope you are enjoying these journey’s back in time while we are treading water here in Tennessee.  The truck is in the garage and will, hopefully, be finished later today.  We still plan to do some exploring of the Cumberland Plateau; seeking out some more mountains and waterfalls as well as historic sites around this area (just as soon as we get our wheels back).

The bad news is that we are going to have to part with another thousand dollars but, the good news is that Matthew’s mechanic has gone over the entire truck.  The coolant problem was a leaking hose that should have been replaced when “they” replaced the water pump in February; the parts are cheap but labor is intensive to gain access to the hose.  On top of that, both the front and the rear differential seals were leaking so they needed to be replaced and while we were at it, it was time to change the oil.  Can you say Cha-ching!!!  At least the truck isn’t “nickel and diming” us to death – it’s just “thousand dollaring” us to death.

Anyway, we’ll be up and running shortly and ready to roll.  See ya later!!

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