For the first time in more than 20 years, I visited Chickamauga National Battlefield in northern Georgia. The battle was nearly a Federal fiasco. Only the steadying hand of Major General George Thomas saved the Union army from a total collapse. Thomas’s stand on Snodgrass Hill would forever earn him the well-deserved sobriquet as “The Rock of Chickamauga.”
Here are a few photos from the field.
The Visitors Center has a very nice little museum, with a fantastic collection of vintage firearms, particularly rifles and smoothbore weapons. There is no charge to tour the battlefield or enter the museum.
Chickamauga has an impressive collection of monuments commemorating the valor and sacrifice of so many boys and men in both blue and gray who fell here back in the autumn of 1863. The 79th Pennsylvania Infantry lost 130 men during the fighting, almost a third of its strength.
According to the National Park Service, “in 1863, Union and Confederate forces fought for control of Chattanooga, known as the ‘Gateway to the Deep South.’ The Confederates were victorious at nearby Chickamauga in September. However, renewed fighting in Chattanooga that November provided Union troops victory and control of the city. After the fighting, a Confederate soldier ominously wrote, ‘This…is the death-knell of the Confederacy.'”
According to the National Park Service, “Construction began on the tower to honor General John T. Wilder’s Brigade in 1892. Originally, planned to be 105 feet tall, the tower was reduced to 85 feet and completed in 1899.”
2nd Minnesota Infantry monument on Snodgrass Hill. They were among the regiments which stood fast as Pap Thomas’s line held together to buy time for the rest of the army to withdraw safely to Chattanooga.
To learn more about this fascinating park, visit its website.