The second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
***I promise I will get to Gettysburg. It is a huge park and it will take a while to put together the post.
We went to Chickamauga on our last day. If you’re not familiar with the Battle of Chickamauga you’re not the only one. I only heard of Chattanooga, which is connected to this battle.
The battle happened on September 18-20, 1863. It is the second-bloodiest battle in the Civil War.
Union General William Rosecrans wanted to push out Major General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga, known as the “Gateway to the Deep South.”
Rosecrans managed to push Bragg and his forces from Tennessee to Georgia. But Bragg got help from Virginia and Mississippi as a way to outnumber the Union forces. The Confederacy wanted Chattanooga since it had a major crossroads for the railway. Massive transportation hub! The Union wanted to cut off the Confederacy.
Bragg wanted Chattanooga! They needed Chattanooga. The Confederacy held Chickamauga, but that is all.
The first stop is called Breckinridge’s Assault. It’s where former u.S. Vice President John Breckinridge attacked the Union line before going back south.
I loved Chickamauga park! It has a setup similar to Shiloh. Pristine, easy-to-read signs, and markings all over the place to commemorate where troops stood even for a little bit.
The first picture is of the Confederate line. The second picture is the Union line. Literally right across from each other.
Second stop: The Battle Line marks the entire line of the Union soldiers on the second day. It’s the one spot during the battle the Union soldiers stalled the Confederacy.
Lincoln’s brother-in-law Confederate General Benjamin Helm died at this spot. Helm married Emilie Todd, Mary Todd Lincoln’s half-sister. Helm left Breckinridge to get to the Union along this line. A shooter in the 15th Kentucky Union Infantry shot Helm in the chest.
Helm stayed in his saddle as he bled. But then he fell to the ground. The surgeons knew the shot was fatal and he died the next day.
The Lincolns mourned in private. They couldn’t be seen mourning an enemy. They allowed Emilie to come to the White House in December 1863.
Stop Three: Brotherton Cabin where it fell apart for the Union soldiers. Rosecrans accidentally left a gap in the area when he wanted to fix another gap that didn’t exist. The Confederates took advantage of it.
A replica of George and Mary Brotherton’s cabin is sitting on the spot. They survived with their children when they escaped to a nearby ravine. Four cows also survived.
Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet knew about the area because Tom Brotherton, their son, once lived at the cabin.
Adaline Brotherton returned to the house. She found the cows and wounded soldiers on both sides.
Adaline didn’t take sides. Instead, she helped all the wounded soldiers she could by giving them milk.
Stop Four: The Confederate breakthrough was in an area I couldn’t get to but it’s across from the road of stop five, which is…
Viniard Farm. Thousands and thousands died on this field. Supposedly you could not walk on the ground after this fight because dead bodies littered the field.
It ended in a stalemate, too. No one managed to capture the road we drive on through this portion of the park.
It’s also where General Hans Heg died. A memorial marks the exact spot where the Norwegian American fell. He led the Scandanavian 15th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment in the Union. A lot of them were from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.
Heg was born in Norway but his family settled in Wisconsin in 1840. He became a passionate abolitionist and happily joined the army to defend his adopted home.
A Confederate shooter hit Heg in the abdomen with his rifle during the fight on September 19. He died the next day.
The field belonged to Tabler Viniard. He enlisted in the 1st Georgia Infantry. He died in 1864 when he was in Northern Alabama.
Stop Six: Wilder Brigade Monument, which was known as the Lightning brigade. Union Colonel John Wilder’s brigade had the most wanted weapon in the Civil War: 7-shot Spencer repeating rifle. You could shoot 14 shots a minute!
Wilder is the only Union guy who had any success against the Confederates on the southern end of the battlefield.
You can climb up this huge monument. I did not.
Stop Seven: This spot was blocked off because of construction. It is where the Confederates decimated the Union and forced Rosecrans to flee.
Stop Eight: Horseshoe Ridge and Snodgrass Hill. You can learn about the Snodgrass family here. The fighting displaced them.
The Union soldiers held Horshoe Ridge but the Confederates did not stop pushing back. The big hill did not help the Union either.
The Union soldiers retreated in the night giving the Confederates a victory. But they lost a lot more people than the Union.
Confederates ended up losing Chattanooga. One soldier wrote that The Battle of Chattanooga was “the death-knell of the Confederacy.”DONATE
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