CCNMP Study Group 2011 tours
I have finalized the itinerary for Next March’s Study group. Here are the details of the walks. I will publish all the details (How to sign up, cost, etc) by the end of the week.
Friday: All Day, on bus
By Bus, we will explore the near-battle of McLemore’s Cove, or Davis’ Crossroads. We will trace both Union and Confederate actions between September 9th and 11th that led to two Union divisions being exposed to disaster in McLemore’s Cove, and how they escaped. We will explore the Confederate decisions of the time, and the strained command relationships that let this opportunity slip through Bragg’s fingers. We will also explore how a significant defeat in McLemore’s Cove might have effected subsequent Union movements, and whether or not the battle of Chickamauga would have been fought at all.
Saturday Morning: Viniard Field, on foot.
Between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on September 19th, 1863, a desperate struggle surged back and forth in and around the Viniard Farmstead. Elements of seven Union and five Confederate brigades struggled for control of the woods and fields in this sector, producing some of the most confused and bloodiest fighting of the entire Battle of Chickamauga. Tracking this swirling action can be extremely difficult, and interpretations vary on the exact sequence of events.
We intend to take the group through the action step-by-step, explaining why the fighting unfolded as it did, in an attempt to see the fight through the eyes of the various commanders attempting to manage it.
Saturday Afternoon: Mendenhall forms a line, on foot.
In the late morning of September 20th, just before disaster struck the Union lines at the Brotherton Farmstead, Major John Mendenhall assembled a line of Union cannon atop a ridge overlooking Dyer Field. Mendenhall was the Union XXI Corps chief of artillery, and had already won notable fame for his used of massed guns at Stones River. There his cannon effectively shattered a Confederate attack on January 2nd, 1863, winning him a reputation as a heroic, even visionary gunner.
On September 20th, Mendenhall’s guns would not fare as well. Lacking infantry support and forced into a last-ditch effort to stop the Confederate breakthrough, many of Mendenhall’s guns would fall into Confederate hands that day. Several of the batteries involved were the same ones whose tales we told of their fight in Viniard Field in our morning walk.
We will discuss not only the formation of this line and the tactical outcome, but spend some time exploring the larger implications it raises in trying to determine William Starke Rosecrans’ intentions for his army’s constantly shifting right flank.