Battle of Chickamauga
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (Chickamauga Unit)
Visitor center west of Lafayette Road and Alexander Bridge Road, Fort Oglethorpe GA 30742
Following more than six months of maneuvering across central Tennessee, the two great armies in the West finally clashed head-on here along the banks of Chickamauga Creek Sept. 19-20, 1863. The prize was Chattanooga, a critical rail junction city less than 20 miles north. The dramatic, bloody battle began early Sept. 19 with cavalry action along the creek. By the end of the day, the Confederates, led by Gen. Braxton Bragg, gained some ground in tough fighting but failed to break Gen. William Rosecran’s somewhat shaky line.
Bragg’s army, reinforced to about 66,000 men by this time (including Gen. James Longstreet fresh from Virginia), exploited a gap in the Union line the next day and appeared to have routed the 60,000-man Union army. Only a last stand by Union Gen. George Thomas on Snodgrass Hill saved the day for the Federals and allowed Rosecran’s army to retreat into Chattanooga. Bragg soon followed and occupied strong positions around the city.
The visitor center is open 8:30 am-5 pm daily. Free. Note: The park also administers the Lookout Mountain site just south of Chattanooga.
The Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail
This 37-stop tour covering four Northwest Georgia counties follows the marching, maneuvering and sparring leading up to the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. The tour with interpretive signage at the stops, describes the chess game played by Union commander Gen. William Rosecrans and Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg as their two armies contended for North Georgia and the critical railroad junction at Chattanooga, Tenn.
Stops on the tour include the gaps and landmarks south of Lookout Mountain including the Battle at Davis’ Crossroads (Sept. 10–11), where Confederates confronted one of the three separated Union columns moving south of Bragg’s army.
Other places located on the tour include campsites, homes, mills and creek crossings. The tour leads directly to the Chickamauga battlefield and describes the skirmishes leading up to the big fight and events following the battle. Chickamauga-area landmarks on the tour include Lee and Gordon’s Mills and headquarters sites for the commanders of both armies.
Find a downloadable map of the tour and complete descriptions of each stop on the excellent www.chickamaugacampaign.org. Or request a copy by calling 800-487-4728.
Links to the Georgia Civil War websites: Georgia Links