May 20, 2013

5/9/13 - Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP (Chickamauga Battlefield)

The first (and largest) military park authorized by Congress was Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.  It’s also the largest NMP in the country, and the model for most of the rest.  Only about 15 miles apart, Chickamauga Battlefield is in Georgia and Lookout Mountain is in Tennessee.  We stayed in Chattanooga and bounced back and forth across state lines and time zones. 

At Chickamauga Battlefield near Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, we stopped at the Visitors Center, watched the video (of course), bought a HUGE Civil War history book for George, and stood in on part of a ranger presentation to a college tour group. 
Chattanooga was important because of the railroads and the river (Tennessee).  The way the ranger explained it was to think of the interstate system near Chattanooga:  I-75 north, I-24 east & west, I-59 south.  The railways were the same kind of hub 150 years ago.  Both sides wanted Chattanooga to control railroad supply lines.
There are eight stops on the battlefield tour, which is also a cell phone tour (call a number for audio info).  Most of the fighting on 3 days in September, 1863, was fought in woods and across fields, totally different than Vicksburg.  The Park Service has done a good job in keeping the terrain much like it was then.  Trees are where trees were, fields are where trees weren't. 

There are 1,400 monuments in the park, planned and placed by veterans of the battle. 
More pictures if you click here.

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