Chickamauga and Chattanooga: Critical Campaigns for the West – A Field & Walking Tour

On July 26, 2018 - 08:15 - July 28, 2018 - 17:00

Sprawling across parts of three states, the Chickamauga Campaign of August-September, 1863 culminated in the largest battle of the American Civil War’s Western Theater.  Fresh from its almost bloodless triumph in the Tullahoma Campaign, Major General William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland in late August crossed the Tennessee River and plunged into a wide-front advance that would ultimately force General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga. But Bragg was not beaten and gathered his now-reinforced army around Lafayette, Georgia for a series of counterstrokes. Failures by Bragg’s subordinates caused his plans to go astray and alerted Rosecrans to concentrate his scattered units. As the Federal concentration neared completion, Bragg struck again and precipitated the titanic Battle of Chickamauga on the evening of 18 September. After a two-day struggle, which cost a combined total of over 34,000 casualties, Rosecrans withdrew into Chattanooga. Bragg followed and the Siege of Chattanooga began.

On Thursday morning of our tour, we’ll depart from our hotel in Fort Oglethorpe and begin to follow the two armies from the Tennessee River to the edge of what would become the Chickamauga battlefield. We will assess in detail both Rosecrans’s plan and Bragg’s efforts to defeat the Federals. We’ll visit Shell Mound and Battle Creek, Tennessee, Bridgeport, Stevenson and Valley Head, Alabama and Alpine, McLemore’s Cove, Lafayette, Crawfish Springs, Lee & Gordon’s Mills and Reed’s Bridge, Georgia.

On Friday, at Chickamauga National Military Park, we will begin our in-depth study of the battle and walk the action following the Confederate breakthrough of September 20, 1863 to its culmination on Snodgrass Hill.

Following its defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, the Union Army of the Cumberland retreated to its base at Chattanooga. Reaching the safety of the town, they quickly erected defenses before Bragg's pursuing Army of Tennessee arrived. Moving his men onto Missionary Ridge to the east and Lookout Mountain to the south, Bragg soon commanded the approaches to the city and placed the Union troops under siege.

With the situation deteriorating, President Abraham Lincoln created the Military Division of the Mississippi and placed Major General Ulysses S. Grant in command of all Union armies in the West. Grant moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Major General George H. Thomas, and dispatched engineer Major General William F. "Baldy" Smith to open a supply line to Chattanooga. After launching a successful amphibious landing at Brown's Ferry, west of the city, Smith was able link up with Thomas and open a supply route known as the "Cracker Line." On the night of October 28, Bragg ordered Lieutenant General James Longstreet to sever the "Cracker Line." Attacking at Wauhatchie, the Confederate general was repulsed. With a way into Chattanooga open, Grant began reinforcing the Union position by sending Major General Joseph Hooker with the XI and XII Corps and then an additional four divisions under Major General William T. Sherman. While Union forces were growing, Bragg reduced his army by sending Longstreet's corps to Knoxville to attack a Union force under Major General Ambrose Burnside.

Sherman arrived with his four divisions in mid-November and began offensive operations.

November 23, Grant ordered Thomas to advance from the city and take a string of hills near the foot of Missionary Ridge. Hooker was ordered to take Lookout Mountain. Crossing the Tennessee River, his men found that the Confederates had failed to defend a defile between the river and mountain. Attacking through this opening, Hooker's men succeeded in pushing the Confederates off the mountain. As the fighting ended around 3:00 PM, a fog descended on the mountain, earning the battle the name "The Battle Above the Clouds."

On November 25, Union soldiers assaulted and secured the seemingly impregnable Confederate position on Missionary Ridge. One of the Confederacy’s two major armies was routed. The Federals held Chattanooga, the “Gateway to the Lower South,” which became the logistics base for Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta Campaign.

The disastrous rout of the Confederates at Missionary Ridge dealt a staggering blow to the Army of Tennessee in terms of manpower and morale and forced it to retreat into northwest Georgia. At a mountain pass known as the Ringgold Gap, to give time for his artillery and wagon trains to get through, Bragg ordered Major General Patrick Cleburne to defend the pass "at all hazards." In a spirited five-hour stand, Cleburne repulsed a much larger Federal force and the Confederates continued on to fight another day.

On our Saturday tour, we will visit all the key sites associated with this fascinating campaign to hold the key city of Chattanooga.

The walking involved during the tour will not be strenuous – the pace will be sensible and sane. And we will have a support vehicle nearby the group in case you want to sit out a stretch or hitch a ride ahead.

We hope you’ll join us for this comprehensive strategic and tactical study & tour of the epic battle of Chickamauga and the struggle for Chattanooga. Not only will we visit the well-know places in the campaign, but plenty of others that are off the beaten path. We’ll eat well too!

Norman Dasinger, Jr.

Norman Dasinger, Jr., based in Gadsden, Alabama, is one of the leading experts on Civil War battles and campaigns in Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, with special emphasis on the lesser-known actions. He has developed and leads tours of the Atlanta Campaign, N. B. Forrest versus Abel Streight in Alabama, Chattanooga including Andrews’ Raiders and the Great Locomotive Chase, and Selma and Montgomery, Alabama Civil War and Civil Rights history.

Registration Fee (Lodging Not Included) - $395

If You Must Cancel we will refund 100% of your fees paid or transfer them to another program, as you wish.

What is included in your registration:

·      The services of an expert historian chosen for his knowledge and experience

·      Transportation to all sites as described

·      3 lunches 

·      Refreshments and snacks during the tour

Friday evening Hospitality Suite

·      Map package and handouts

WE'RE SWITCHING CREDIT CARD SOFTWARE so online registration is currently unavailable

FOR NOW, CALL 800-298-1861 to complete your credit card registration; or SEND CHECK to:

CWEA
Box 78,
Winchester, VA 22604

Our program will be based at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites Chickamauga Battlefield, 2120 Lafayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742 where we have arranged a block of sleeping rooms at the special nightly rate of $80 + tax. After May 3, 2018, Call 706-866-0222 and identify yourself as a registrant for the CWEA tour.  Please make your room reservations as soon as possible. A complimentary continental breakfast is available for all hotel guests. Restaurants offering a wide range of dinner options are located nearby.

Thursday, July 26

8:15 AM           Depart on Tour of Chickamauga Campaign – from Econo Lodge, Fort Oglethorpe, GA

5:00 PM            Arrive Back at Econo Lodge

Friday, July 27

8:15 AM           Depart on Tour of Chickamauga Battlefield

5:00 PM            Arrive Back at Econo Lodge  

7:00PM             Hospitality Suite Open              

Saturday, July 28

8:15 AM            Depart on Tour of Chattanooga

5:00 PM            Arrive Back at Econo Lodge 

 

 

Chickamauga 2018

Our program will be based at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites Chickamauga Battlefield, 2120 Lafayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742 where we have arranged a block of sleeping rooms at the special nightly rate of $80 + tax. After May 3, 2018, Call 706-866-0222 and identify yourself as a registrant for the CWEA tour.  Please make your room reservations as soon as possible. A complimentary continental breakfast is available for all hotel guests. Restaurants offering a wide range of dinner options are located nearby.

Location

Econolodge Inn & Suites Chickamauga Battlefield
2120 Lafayette Road
Ft. Oglethorpe, GA
United States
706-866-0222