August has been a busy month for me personally, on the Chickamauga front.
I was asked recently to lead a staff ride for an active duty army unit at the end of September. This is going to be a four-day affair, which is unusual for a military staff ride, but I am thrilled to have the time to cover Chickamauga in detail. A day of classroom, two days on the field, and a wash-up on the ride home.
Military staff rides are quite different than tours for Round Tables or other historical groups. The unit will be less knowlegable or interested in the who-shot-who aspect of things, and more interested in questions of changing doctrine, combat decisions, leadership issues and the like. Since those questions interest me as well, I feel like I am a good fit for this kind of study. And Chickamauga has some very interesting things to say in these areas, especially concerning tactical innovation and evolving doctrine.
Plus it’s a government subcontracting gig, so it pays far more than what I would charge a round table.:) Gotta get more of these government jobs.
Immediately after that, the next weekend I get to lead an “unseen Chickamauga” Tour for Dave Woodbury’s new venture:
That’s a one-day trip, with limited seating. We’ll spend most of our time off the actual battlefield, chasing more remote historical sites in north Georgia. Small groups are often the most fun, because we can fit more in, and everyone gets a chance to voice opinions or ask questions. We’ll chase some cavalry fights, hunt up a few lost markers, and visit some units that rarely get noticed in standard tours.
In between the army tour and Dave’s stuff, I will spend a day or so at the park, scoping out tours for next March’s battle walks. (March 12-13, 2010.) Every spring I set up a series of terrain walks that examine different aspects of the battle. They’ve been well received so far, and I get to drag Jim Ogden out on the field with me, so they are usually a highlight of my ‘campaign season.’ We have some topics in mind, but nothing is firmed up yet, so I don’t want to announce the details of next year’s walks. That will come in October.
From October 23 to 25, I plan on attending the West Coast Civil War Round Table Conference on (wait for it) The Campaign for Chattanooga. The lineup of speakers is a who’s who of Chickamauga knowledge.
Short of getting all these guys out on the battlefield at once to hash out stuff, this is the next best thing, and I look forward to hearing all of these folks present their ideas. Several are also friends, and I look forward to seeing them after hours.
The book might well be out by then, as well, so I expect to mix in a little business, but most of this trip will be pure relaxation.