Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chickamauga: Interactive panoramas, photo journal

Located 10 miles southeast of Chattanooga, Tenn., in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.,  Chickamauga is
 one of the better preserved Civil War battlefields.
This monument marks the spot where Union Colonel Edward King was killed on Sept. 20, 1863.
The Park Service aims to restore some land on the field to its 1863 appearance.
One year after he led a division at Antietam, Confederate Gen. John B. Hood led a massive 
assault during a Rebel victory at Chickamauga.. He was wounded in the right leg, which was
 amputated. This mound of cannon balls marks Hood's headquarters at Chickamauga.
The Wilder Brigade monument is located at the top of 
a hill where Union troops armed with Spencer repeating rifles
 held off a Rebel attack.
After maneuvering through nearby urban sprawl of pawn shops, fast-food restaurants and car dealerships on Friday afternoon, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Chickamauga is one of the better preserved Civil War battlefields in the country. It's not as pristine as, say, Antietam, easily the gem of the national park system and my  favorite Civil War battlefield.

And like Gettysburg, Chickamauga suffers from monument and marker clutter (1,400 of 'em!). But the battlefield where one of the bloodiest clashes of the war took place (34,000 casualties) on Sept. 19-20, 1863, still retains much of its rural character.

Because my wife and I were pressed for time, our visit on an awfully humid afternoon only lasted a little more than an hour. We missed checking out Bloody Pond, no doubt a huge disappointment to Mrs. Banks. I easily could have spent two or three days exploring the nooks and crannies on the field where the Rebels earned a hard-fought victory and where Union General George Thomas earned the nickname "The Rock of Chickamauga." The battlefield is in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., about 10 miles southeast of Chattanooga, Tenn. Check out my interactive panoramas of five key spots on the battlefield:

                                      Click on images for full-screen interactive panorama.

BATTLE LINES: The Battle of Chickamauga was fought in largely wooded terrain, presenting a huge challenge for the generals directing their troops. The battle's final day, on Sept. 20, 1863, began near this spot. The national park, dedicated on Sept. 18-20, 1894. has 1,400 monuments and historical markers

THE ATTACK: At mid-morning on Sept. 20, 1863, a battery of Confederate artillery fired 562 rounds here to support the Rebels' assault.

WILDER'S DEFENSE: An 85-foot monument honors Colonel John Wilder and his brigade of mounted infantry, which held off a Rebel attack at this point on Sept. 20, 1863. Wilder's men were armed with seven-shot Spencer repeating rifles. The monument stands on the site of the house owned by a 23-year-old widow named Eliza Glenn. Her home was used as headquarters by Union General William Rosecrans.

UNION RIGHT ROUTED: On Sept. 20, 1863, Federal troops moving through this field were surprised by a Rebel attack under the command of General James Longstreet. The Yankees were routed here and retreated.

SNODGRASS HILL: On the afternoon of Sept. 20, 1863, Union troops retreated to this hill, where under the leadership of General George Thomas they held off repeated Rebel attacks. For his stand here, Thomas became known as the "Rock of Chickamauga." The Snodgrass cabin was used as a field hospital after the battle.

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