Walk the grounds where War Between the States greats like generals Bragg, Rosecrans, Longstreet and Forrest once fought it out and the fate of Chattanooga and for that matter, the heart of the south was sealed.
If you are planning a trip to picturesque Chattanooga, Tennessee valley area or even into the beautiful north Georgia mountains around Dalton. Then a must-see place for military buffs is the Chickamauga Battlefield. The Battle of Chickamauga is known as one of the bloodiest battles in the Western Theater of the War Between the States. The Chickamauga Battlefield was among the very first National Military Parks in the United States, being dedicated on the 32nd anniversary of the battle in 1895.
The battle was fought between the Army of the Cumberland under Yankee Maj. Gen. Rosecrans and the Southern Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg. The battle took its name from the Chickamauga Creek, or River of Death as from the Cherokee meaning near the battle scene. Gen Rosecrans made a great blunder at Chickamauga and stumbled his forces right into a battle with hungry southerners that in the end saw him running from the field of battle along with his command staff right behind him headlong back to Chattanooga without his army.
From the time you enter the park and until the very moment you leave, you can just fell the history of this park. The park looks like it could be a part of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World” with its low rolling grass fields, war time buildings, cannons, stone markers and monuments across the park. The park offers great views of the battlefield itself and the park museum is a must visit with its historic displays of weapons, maps, artifacts and rows of cannons. The park staff are friendly and are more than happy to explain the battle in depth to you. There are walking and cycling paths for your pleasure and if that’s not your thing, then pack a lunch and have a picnic under the shade of the beautiful park trees or maybe even under the barrel of a M1857 12-Pounder "Napoleon” cannon. The park is a great to let the kids run free and enjoy the scenic views and fields.
You can walk the ground that thousands fought and died over. You close your eyes and vision the smoke from musket and rifle fire and see men lined up facing death in the face from a hail of bullets. You can hear battle and the screams of the dying and the report of shot and shell. You can stand where Generals Bragg, Longstreet Rosecrans and Forrest gave their command orders, orders that sent men to their deaths or to their glory.
Visit the scene where Nathan Bedford Forrest dismounted his cavalry and was among the first to give the Yankees on the field that day a taste of southern bullets and cold hard steel until they ran from the field of battle. He then mounted his horse and rode the emery down capturing hundreds of fleeing Yankee soldiers. Gen. Forrest was one of the most feared commanding officers during the War Between the States. Yankee Major General William T. Sherman once said, “that devil Forrest must be hunted down and killed if it costs ten thousand lives and bankrupts the federal treasury.” Most of his success on the battlefield come from his fearless approach to war, his will to win and never surrender attitude.
So, if you are in the north Georgia Chattanooga area, a day trip to the Chickamauga Battlefield would be a great way to spend a day with the family or just by yourself, while getting a firsthand taste of the scenic beauty of northern Georgia and a glimpse of a bygone battle in a bygone era.
It is a five-star visit and as always -
"Happy trails my friends."
Chickamauga Battlefield Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
Visitor Center Physical Address: 3370 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742
From Interstate 75: At Exit 350 take Battlefield Parkway (Georgia 2) west to Fort Oglethorpe. Turn left at the intersection of Battlefield Parkway and Lafayette Road. Go one mile on Lafayette Road to the park entrance and visitor center.
From Interstate 24: At Exit 180 take U.S. Highway 27 south (Rossville Boulevard) to Fort Oglethorpe. At the intersection of Battlefield Parkway, continue straight through the intersection onto Lafayette Road to the park entrance one mile ahead.
Parking: There is a parking lot located at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center. There are several spots for RVs and busses. Recreational visitors, such as hikers, joggers, and bikers, are encouraged to utilize the recreation field parking lot located on the southern end of the battlefield.