Archive for June, 2012

Go East, Young Man!

June 17, 2012

I just returned from a week in Virginia, touring Civil War Sites with my Dad. We saw Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spottsylvania; and then, after a diversion to Yorktown, the Maritime Museum in Newport News to see the Monitor, and Jamestown, we picked up again with Petersburg and Lee’s retreat. We finished that leg at Appomattox, and ended the whole trip at Gettysburg.

I had a fine time, bought plenty of books, and covered a lot of ground. I have also decided I need to go back for a more intensive study of the Overland campaign, but that is a story for another day and/or forum

What struck me about this trip was how much of Chickamauga I saw. Of course, references to Phil Sheridan are everywhere, and I expected to see a lot of him, but plenty of other Chickamauga Alumni were there to be tracked down as well.

Antietam fetched up George Crook, as well as the 11th and 36th Ohio – units who fought with Turchin in September 1863, and helped George Thomas rescue much of his corps on the afternoon of the 20th.

But there were far more connections than that. I ran across Bushrod Johnson and old friends in the 17th Tennessee. At Petersburg I noted “Gracie’s Salient.” At Pamplin Park my soldier comrade was none other than LT Marcus Woodcock of the 9th Kentucky (Union) infantry, who described his role at Chickamauga in extensive detail in his memoir. I saw battleflags not just to the 3rd Arkansas, (not unexpected,) but also for the 13th Louisiana, of Adams’s Brigade.

At the Museum of the Confederacy’s new facility outside Appomattox, I saw Uniform coats for Joe Wheeler and Pat Cleburne. Cleburne’s coat was very unexpected. It was in bad shape, not preserved well, but the MOC finally decided to display it flat (to better conserve it) than not display it at all. I also saw Archer Anderson’s Coat – Anderson was on D.H. Hill’s staff and had a hand in the miscues between Hill and Polk on the night of the 19th/20th.

In short, in addition to all the expected sights and experiences of a trip to the eastern theater, I found plenty of fascinating Chickamauga links as well.

Oh, and the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center was selling “Maps of Chickamauga.” Huzzah!