During our one day in Chattanooga, we decided that the brunt of our time would be spent learning about the Civil War battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. The Battle at Chickamauga was an unexpected battle that took place in September of 1863, just a few miles away from Chattanooga in peaceful Northwest Georgia. The Chickamauga Battlefield is a must-visit for those studying U.S. History or travelers eager to learn more.
What happened at Chickamauga
During the summer of 1863, the Confederates had a firm hold on Chattanooga, Union General Rosecrans skillfully outmaneuvered the Confederates and the Confederate Army retreated towards Chickamauga. General Bragg had positioned the Confederate Army in this area in the hopes of cutting off Lafayette Road, the Union’s main route into Chattanooga. On September 18, 1863, fighting began in the 3-day battle for this area. The Confederate Army won the Battle of Chickamauga because of a fatal mistake by Union General Rosecrans, who moved his army out of line and created an open hole for the Confederates to breech.
The Battle continued in November at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga. The Union Army defeated the Confederacy at Chattanooga in what many call the “Death Knell of the Confederacy.” In 1890, Congress authorized Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. The Park was dedicated in 1895 and has served as a model for most military and historical sites in the US. There are two visitors centers- one at Point Park on Lookout Mountain and one in Chickamauga.
Things you must do while visiting Chickamauga
Visit the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center
Discover the events of September 1863 by watching the film about the battle and exploring the exhibits. However, those visiting with young children may want to skip the video or be ready to shield their eyes from the more graphic scenes. I may have traumatized a couple of my kids!
Inside the Visitor Center is a large map explaining the layout of the battlefield and information on each of the commanding officers.
The Fuller Gun Collection is also part of the Visitor Center. Claude Fuller’s collection of rare guns is on display for free. Mr. Fuller, now deceased, had a passionate hobby for firearms and in 1949, he and his wife decided to donate some of the display to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefied, with the understanding that it must stay on display for the visiting public.
Take the self-guided driving tour of Chickamauga Battlefield
There are 8 stops along the driving tour which feature monuments and memorials honoring those who died or were wounded at Chickamauga.
We enjoyed seeing the many monuments with the symbol of the acorn. The acorns are a nod to George Henry Thomas’s 14th Army Corps that “stood like an oak tree” on Snodgress Hill at the conclusion of the battle.
Another point of interest was the Wilder Brigade Monument, which is a tower that visitors can climb! The Monument is 85 feet tall and was completed in 1899. Take note – this is not the place for those that are afraid of heights – nor is it probably up to code for the height of the walls at the top. This mama was a bit stressed.
An audio tour is available on your cell phone by dialing 585-672-2619 or going to the website chch.toursphere.com
Our family spent approximately 2 hours between the Visitor Center and the driving tour. We did not do the Junior Ranger program, so if you plan to do that, allow more time.
Chickamauga Battlefield and the Visitor Center are free. The cost of visiting Point Park in Chattanooga is $10 for anyone over age 16. Don’t forget your National Park Pass (like I did – oye)!
Have you visited any Civil War battlefields? I actually did my college thesis on The Lives of Confederate Women during the Civil War, so Chickamauga is a destination I’d fully recommend for Civil War buffs like myself!
PINNING IS CARING: