Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chickamauga & Chattanooga: My First Impressions

June 16, 2015

Now that I am living in Maryville, TN it is only a two hour trip to get down the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. Even though most of my Civil War studies have concentrated on the eastern theater I have for years wanted to see this particular battlefield. On Tuesday June 16th I was able to get away for a short trip down to Lookout Mountain and scouted out Point Park, with a hike out to Sunset Rock.

Moccasin Point at Point Park, Lookout Mountain
The only two Civil War Battlefields I have visited to this point have been Gettysburg (on several occasions) and Perryville (once). While there were many different aspects, or specific engagements, within the battle I would still classify them as a single battle. What I am learning about the Chickamauga & Chattanooga is that it was actually several different battles in a campaign that took place around the same area. A couple of other things that stood out to me in this area was the amount of private land and the trail system. Besides Point Park it almost felt more like a hike in the Smoky Mountains than a Civil War battlefield.

Cannons at the Cravens House on Lookout Mountain.
Point Park and Sunset Rock offer a really fantastic view of Chattanooga and surrounding areas. One can get truly amazing vistas from Lookout Mountain with the many different overhangs. Most of the places I have hiked so far in the Smoky Mountain area have too much vegetation to get a clear shot of the land, not so here. The trail system I was on is fairly rugged and not well marked, however they do have parking areas with short walks at the areas I visited if you don’t want to go hiking through the trails.

Checking out the view from Sunset Rock
Lookout Mountain
I have just finished reading Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns (Great Campaigns of the Civil War) by Steven E. Woodworth, who does a really good job of describing the campaign. Though I do have some qualms with his book, which I will save for later, it does give you an overall understanding of the battles. I would really like to take the camper and spend about three days in the area to really get a feel for the park as I did not even scratch the surface of the history it has to offer. There are still places I want to see on Lookout Mountain, then there is Missionary Ridge and of course Chickamauga among other places. So I guess it is a good thing that I now live closer to this park.

UPDATED: September 5, 2015

Liam and I at Point Park,
Lookout Mountain
Well if it keeps taking me this long to finish a blog entry the stories will be outdated. Thanks to Liam’s social studies teacher he had to write a report on the Civil War, so he chose to wright about a battle. Needless to say this lead to a field trip. Dad super excited, Liam and Mary Ellen not so much.

Went back to Point Park, but this time was able to get to Cravens House. I still need to hit up the rifle pits, but I have again saved that for another time. This portion of Lookout Mountain does look more like a typical Civil War battlefield I am use to. Wanted to get to Missionary Ridge but the GPS took us off course and we ended up driving through a portion of Chickamauga. I have to say I am looking forward to spending some time there soon.

Below I have the link to my Chattanooga & Chickamauga photo album in Flickr along with some other links to the NPS page and the Civil War Trust.

Flickr Pictures:

Chickamauga & Chattanooga Military Park:

Civil War Trust:

Abrams Falls & Rabbit Creek Loop

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